Second Annual Slam Jam Welcomes Student Voice

The Second Annual Slam Jam held Wednesday, April 12, showcased over 30 student acts.

Organized by Poetic Ramblings and The Devils’ Playlist, the open mic night involved the sharing of music, poetry, and stories.

Students were inspired by the the talents of their peers.

“Slam jam showed the creativity and uniqueness of BHS students,” audience member Frankie Bonanno said.

For some, it was an opportunity to recognize the power of student voice.

“The Slam Jam was an eye-opening experience and really inspired me to get involved in the poetry community,” audience member Alyssa Porter said.

Those who performed described the experience and the audience as “welcoming.”

“The group was very accepting,” said Joicee Gordillo who shared her original short story “My Blurry Life.”

The event also showcased individual poetic and musical performances by members of this year’s BHS Slam Team: Jessie Goober (poem “The Seamstress”; ukulele performance and song) Sasha Festi (song with musical accompaniment), Sidra Afzal (poem), Julianna Grossman (poem “Puzzling”), Aysha Afzal (poem “Unnecessary Background”), and Laura Frustaci (poem “The Only Way to Stay Safe”; performance of “I Found A Boy” while accompanied by Rachel Bolognese on the piano).

Sarah Newhall noted the power of Grossman’s poem, insisting, “I liked the way she compared her life…to a puzzle. Each part of the day is a just one piece of the puzzle, and sometimes it’s very hard to put together. Julianna was very powerful in her poem and her emotion was really strong. I also like the message that life is not always easy for everyone.”

Keenan Wilson was moved by the power of Sidra Afzal’s poem on being a Muslim-American woman.

“She spoke about something personal in front of a crowd which isn’t easy to do. She made great connections to present day stereotypes of Muslim women and men” and described the impact of “labels” Wilson said.

The Slam Team also performed its group piece on gun violence that is a reaction to President Obama’s response to the Charleston, South Carolina shooting: “Now is the time for mourning and for healing, but let’s be clear: at some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries….it is in our power to do something about it.” The group wrote for the piece for this year’s Louder Than a Bomb teen slam competition.

“The performance that spoke to me most was the group poem about gun violence. This poem really hit me hard because of all the examples that were given….This poem was by far my favorite, and I hope they continue to do well with it at their competitions!” Lindsay Baxter said.

Similarly, Grace Visco noted, “All of the performances were great and really fun to watch, but the one that stood out to me the most was the one about gun violence performed by the poetry team. Giving all the real world examples made it so much more personal and added a sense of realness. The way they performed it was also really cool and impactful because I have never seen a poem performed in a group. Their body language, tone, and hand motions were on point. I had chills the whole time.”

The fun, energetic, supportive atmosphere was highlighted by the whole audience dance break taken between performances.

Other powerful performances included Will Wen’s musical rendition of “If You’re Happy and You Know It” on the recorder, Christian Weiss performance “Creep,” Yaju Tuladhar’s poem “Touching,” Ama Asamoah’s original poem about her hair, Jenny L’Heureux and Julia Feist’s performance of “Benny and the Jets,” Laura Harder’s original song on the power of speaking up,

among many more impressive acts included in the images below: