Early College Interact Club shows off student talent

Young and old, local and foreign, and student and faculty alike all came together on Feb. 22 for the annual “ECG’s Got Talent” show. Hosted in Dana Auditorium by the Early College at Guilford Interact Club, the charity event raised over $1,000 for Ankur Balsadan, an orphanage in Latur, India.

A total of 15 acts showcased everything from an Indian-Western inter-cultural dance fusion to an original acoustic guitar rap. Students clad in traditional costumes danced to the beat of trendy K-pop music. Others adorned in suit and tie produced a classical version of “Secrets” by One Republic.

“It’s not just a battle of the bands,” said Zachary Engle, Interact Club advisor and visiting faculty of Guilford’s business department . “Students feel secure and enthusiastic about bringing something from another cultural background. That’s uniquely Early College. And that’s uniquely Guilford.”

In the fifth annual edition of the show, Interacters themselves co-ordinated rehearsals, worked stage arrangements and hosted the event as MCs.

“Everyone pitched in, and it’s similar to a potluck dinner, which Quakers are famous for,” said Engle. “We’re giving to an orphanage, something that would totally jive with Quaker values.”

Like Engle, many deem Guilford a fitting locale for such a talent show.

“In addition to serving an international cause, we helped Interact and the Greensboro community bond and share some laughs,” said Parth Vaidya, talent show MC and ECG Interact Club treasurer.

“The talent show brings the community together not only to support students but also to get everyone excited about service, and encourage them to make a difference,” said ECG Interact Club President Katie Myers.

Early College families, Guilford College students and Rotary Club members from all across the state amounted to a diverse audience. Councilwoman Nancy Hoffman, Rep. John Hardister and Guilford’s Continuing Part-time Lecturer in Music lecturer Parke Puterbaugh also attended the show as honorary judges.

Early College senior Rick Ralston-Asumendi and his accompanying band took home the top prize with an electrifying performance of  “Too Close,” originally by British rock star Alex Clare.

“I saw the talent show last year and thought it was great in many ways,” said Anne Murr, Rotarian and District Interact chair in an email interview. “I’m glad it is still a happening and was such a success again.”

Murr’s District Interact Co-Chair Terry Ball has been a member of Rotary International for over 21 years.

“Working together through service projects, that’s why I thoroughly enjoy Rotary and Interact,” said Ball. “That’s teamwork. That’s fun. And we’re all trying to accomplish one goal.”

The Interact Club’s goal that evening was to support the Ankur orphanage’s budding music program. Last year, Interact raised $1,200 to help fund a music program for Ankur’s children.

“We had been planning to organize music lessons at the orphanage for more than four years,” Ankur Supervisor Kailash Girwalkar told The Guilfordian. “But the budget wasn’t in a position to account for a music teacher’s salary. The money from ECG Interact came to us like a timely blessing. To us, that money was worth a million dollars.”

Girwalkar, a former commander of the Indian Naval Force, has helped ECG Interact optimize the impact of contributions to Ankur’s budding music program.

“The manner in which our children learn and perform vocal music catches the eye of anyone and everyone visiting the orphanage,” said Girwalkar. “Interact’s support has triggered a great transformation in (the children’s) outlook. They are finally able to follow their passion for music.”