Up With People rocked out through the decades

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  • Photo courtesy of: Up With People

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Laurianna Cull

The colorful cast of Up With People greeted students and faculty with ear-to-ear smiles as everyone settled into their seats and waited anxiously.

The show began at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center, and the Up With People cast rushed through every aisle in the audience. Both sides of the stage filled up quickly, and a Georgia Southern University crowd filled the theater’s seats before the performance started. The performers gathered around the stage with harmony and vibrant colors from the performers’ outfits.

The performance, “Voices,” alternated between popular hits ranging from The Beatles to the Black Eyed Peas, international music and inspirational songs that incorporated the theme of giving a voice to people and standing together against violence and crime in the world.

“Voices” began in the 60s and 70s with classics such as “Age of Aquarius” and “ABC 123.” The cast came out in tie-dye and headscarves and grooved to The Jackson 5 and other famous artists of the time.

The music was appropriate for the message that Up With People wanted to convey because their music was from an era that strived to improve human rights around the world, Harrison Hogan, freshman French and chemistry double-major said.

The headscarves were then thrown to the wind and traded in for side ponytails and tutus as the Up With People cast rocked out to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”  The iconic parachute pants and red leather jacket even made an appearance for “You Can’t Touch This” and “Thriller.”

GSU students revisited their childhood in the 90s as Britney Spears and boy bands ’N Sync and Backstreet Boys hit the stage.

“I like the eighties and nineties because I thought it was the best compilation across the board because they had stuff that was more mainstream and not so mainstream. There was rock as well as softer stuff. They didn’t just stick to one genre,” Shekirah Rolle, freshman international studies major, said.

Up with People then shared international experiences and culture by showing off global dances. The group performed an Irish jig, a salsa and a Bollywood dance to the song, “Jai Ho.”

“I thought it was pretty cool how they did dances from all over the world. The performers did a great job, and I thought it was awesome how they take the time to learn the dances from different countries they visit,” Rolle said.

The show concluded with a ceremony of flags from across the world as well as a mash up of some of the current top songs in America like “Gangnam Style,” “I Gotta Feeling” and “Call Me Maybe.”

“My favorite part was when they were telling about all the different countries they visited by having Up With People do something to represent each country. I also liked the original songs, especially the duet about coming home,” Chrystal Messar, freshman biology and French double-major said.

After the show, the audience was given the chance to meet and talk with the cast members, purchase the Up With People CD and attend a meeting if they were interested in joining the cast someday.