The Element: get it in your soul

The Element: get it in your soul

Brianna Glenn

The Element, a branch of Guilford’s Black Unifying Society, has put on their four-part Annual Talent Competition series since 2009, allowing both Guilford students and Triad locals to showcase their original music, poetry and dance.

The first event in the series, a music competition, was held last Thursday.

Though the musical genres varied, there was one constant: It was all full of soul.

The poetry competition will be held on Nov. 15, and the step-and-dance event will be held on Feb. 7.

The events culminate in the March 7 finale, when the top two finalists from each event will have the chance to compete for a $500 prize.

The Element’s event coordinator, senior Brianna Glenn, also one of the organization’s founding members, said that the organization came about not only to give talented artists the opportunity to perform and network with the community, but also to engage in event planning, promotion and public relations.

“In The Element, there’s something for everybody to do,” said Glenn. “You either have talent or you want to help find it. … We want people to shine in expressing themselves through their art, and we want to have fun.”

In order to find acts for the competition, Talent Coordinator and Guilford alumnus Tiara Arvinger gathered participants from the Guilford student body as well as the surrounding area.

“I know a lot of singers and musicians, so I sent out a mass Facebook message,” said Arvinger. “Then I posted an ad on Craigslist and relied on word-of-mouth.”

Members of The Element reviewed the submissions before picking the cream of the crop to compete.

For last week’s music competition, six performers were selected, ranging from soul singer Mischa Brown to alto saxophonist, first-year David Wheaton. All of them won the appreciation of the dozens crowded in the Community Center, but there could be only one winner.

That privilege went to Laila Nur.

“I heard about the competition at the last minute, really,” said Nur, a Greensboro guitarist/singer-songwriter. “But I sent them some music from my website, and here I am.”

Nur was a crowd favorite.

During the first intermission, Greensboro local Kyle Pagani was overheard saying, “Man, she killed it. She sounds like a mix between Jack Johnson and Adele.”

Surprisingly, Nur stated she has never had formal music training.

“I just come up with chords that sound good to me,” Nur said.

Nur was awarded a tote bag with gifts donated by Greensboro fashion boutique The Pines, the competition’s promotional sponsor.

The runner-up was local rapper Patrick Waddell.

The crowd has grown steadily since The Element commenced, and Africana Community Coordinator Jada Drew hopes this growth will continue.

“The crowd has grown with The Element,” said Drew. “Over the past four years, we’ve gone from an audience of about 15 to the point where there’s only standing room.”

The Element was started in Drew’s King Hall office, and she continues to be the club’s supervisor.

“I enjoy the diversity of the organizing team and the talent, and it’s just fun,” said Drew.

Fun is The Element’s aim and, according to the crowd, they achieved it.

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