Akustikoff: performing beyond the notes


Rachel Kang

THE PERFECT DUO: Juniors Samridi Iyer and Sean Yan perform the song “Jealous” by Labrinth on stage.

Cameron Arcand and Ashley Lee

Students from IUSD performed at the 14th annual Akustikoff, a competition for acoustic musicians on Jan. 31 in the Heritage Park Community Center.

The performances and bake sale were organized by the Youth Action Team (YAT) to fundraise for the Relay For Life, a series of community events for the American Cancer Society. A group of three Northwood seniors won third place with their performances of “Beautiful People” by Ed Sheeran and “When You Look Me In The Eyes” by Jonas Brothers with Pancham Pawan on guitar and Sreekar Kasturi and Shounok Ghosh on vocals.

“Acoustic music is more genuine and down-to-earth,” Pawan said. “Music is our passion and it’s a destressor. The rush you feel especially when you’re performing with someone else and the applause is a lot of satisfaction. Akustikoff is a really fun program and I wish I would be in town to perform in it next year.”

Many performances featured themes such as heartbreak, self-love and personal struggle. From old-time classics to modern melodies, there were a variety of well-known tunes the audience could sing along to. Some performances even included songs composed or arranged by students.

Juniors Sean Yan and Samridi Iyer arranged and performed a cover of “Jealous” by Labrinth. Yan played piano as an accompaniment to Iyer’s singing, a performance that received much praise from students.

“I would say the highlight of the night was the performance by Sean and Samridi because it shined out as a more serious performance against all the others which were more casual and fun,” YAT representative sophomore Jessica Guo said. “When they were performing, you could feel the power behind it and Samridi’s voice really reached out to the audience.”

Yan described his experience in exploring a different style of music at the event.

“I’m a classical musician, so playing a pop song on a piano with a vocalist is something I don’t do, but it was a really good musical experience for me,” Yan said. “I think it’s really cool to see all these high schoolers who are just casually coming together and showcasing music because music is about the pursuit of excellence, but also expressing your feelings.”

Although some were introduced to a new genre of music through their performance, audience members and musicians alike were still able to appreciate spending a night together with friends and family in the presence of music. Since Akustikoff is an annual event, tune in next year to listen to the music of various artists and encourage performers on stage.