MEO Music Showcase Becomes a Dance Party for Charity


Christie Dix, Staff Writer

There is plenty of musical talent at William Paterson University, and the Music and Entertainment Organization, or MEO, aimed to highlight these gifted students at their showcase on Nov. 29th. The artists brought a positive energy that had many audience members singing and dancing through the event.

The showcase focused its efforts on charity during this holiday season, asking for a can of food or a $2 donation to The Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

Unlike past years, MEO collaborated with Blue Hawk Records, which is Monmouth University’s student-run record label, to bring some of their artists to the WPU stage.

“It was long overdue to have some kind of collaboration between William Paterson and Monmouth University,” said Kelly Misenheimer, Blue Hawk Records president. “Through the years we’ve seen the music program do wonderful things at William Paterson and we’re kind of doing the same thing, so why not bring the two worlds together.”

Misenheimer worked with MEO president Gwynne Stevenson, a sophomore, to organize the event. This event was one of many that MEO has organized, as to help music students perform often and get exposure to all aspects of the music industry.

Two of the acts featured, “Switch Mob” and “Gina Royale”, were formed at William Paterson and are made up of WPU students and alumni. The bands from Blue Hawk Records included “The Carousers” and “Dan Amato and the Sentimental Gentlemen.”

The event took place in the music-themed multipurpose room of the student center, which is equipped with a stage and full speaker set-up. William Paterson’s award-winning radio station, Brave New Radio was present to simulcast the event on 88.7 FM. Upwards of 60 students, faculty and friends were in attendance and $76 was collected for the food bank, equivalent to 73 cans of vegetables according to the average price of cans in the United States. The SGA funded the event and provided pizza for the attendees. MEO’s advisor, and professor at William Paterson, David Kirk Philp hosted the event.

“There is a lot happening in music in Jersey,” Philip said. “This is a little part of it, right now, tonight, which we’re really excited about.”

The first to perform was Gina Royale, a senior at William Paterson and the treasurer of MEO, with her guitarist Emily Case, who graduated from the campus last May. Her indie-pop style focuses on love and break-ups and is driven by her powerful voice. Gina Royale has a few EPs out and is planning to release her album titled “Yellow” by the end of the year.

The next performance was Monmouth University’s “The Carousers,” who have been playing together for two years. Their punk rock style got people moving, and their song, “The Future,” had many students and faculty members out of their seats. Their band has three members, with Cassidy Crosby on bass, Andy Jackle on drums and Joey Affatato on guitar and lead vocals. “The Carousers” released their self-titled album this year.

“We’re really excited to play. This is our first time playing at William Paterson,” Affatato said.

Next, William Paterson’s own “Switch Mob” performed. The group’s keyboardist, Tima Diakite, who graduated from WPU last May, mentioned that Jazz, R&B, and Hip-Hop all influence the band’s style.

“We like to consider ourselves a melting pot,” Diakite said. “We have almost every nationality and every walk of life.”

Half of the members come from WPU’s music program and half are from the jazz program, which reflects in their funky, soulful and fun music style. Their song, “Pass the Aux,” encouraged everyone to move, and the crowd obliged. Diakite came down off the stage, rapping and dancing with the audience. “Switch Mob” created a very interactive show, which set them apart from the rest.

“Dan Amato and the Sentimental Gentlemen” continued the upbeat feeling in the room with their modern rock music which also gave a nod to an earlier generation of rock and soul. Dan Amato and Nicole Govel were on vocals, and they took turns highlighting their unique voices with their original songs. Amato encouraged students from the two schools to intermingle and dance together, which encouraged new friendships on the dance floor. The five-piece group also included a bassist, guitarist, and drummer, and they have been playing together for three years.

Some other students from William Paterson’s music program performed in the opening act, including Omarr Kaba, Chadwyck Linwood, Brendan Orfan and Graham Orbe. They set the tone with upbeat R&B originals. Students considered the event a success. 

“The show was awesome,” Woodley Duvalcin, a freshman at William Paterson said. “Everyone did a great job, there were different categories. Anyone could have fun here.”

All the artists that performed are available for music streaming on Spotify.