Arts & Entertainment

WATCH: Heritage wins the shoes again with stunning AirBand performance


The 19th annual AirBand & Lip Synch Competition took place on Friday, March 23 in the Johnson Center. Check out footage from Heritage Hall’s winning rendition of “The Lion King.” Click here for more videos from AirBand.

Don’t call it Nike Air Band. This year launched the official name change from “Nike Air Band” to just simply “AirBand.” The dropping of “Nike” is just one of the many ways Rhett Edwards is establishing a “renewed identity” for the annual lip-syncing competition. AirBand 2012 also marked the first time VIP tickets and t-shirts were sold to students.

These decisions were part of redesigning the look and feel of the AirBand tradition, according to Edwards.

VIP tickets provided the opportunity for students to gain early seating in the front section of the Johnson Center sanctuary. Refreshments, pictures and a band were also offered to VIP ticket holders. Tickets were on sale for $5 while t-shirts were sold for $10.

Edwards said the profit made from tickets and t-shirts were donated as a way to give back to the community, providing financial support to The Martin Center in SE Canton.

[pullquote]I would like to establish a tradition of doing something that will offer financial support,Edwards said.[/pullquote]

Edwards announced at the event that though they planned to only sell 150 tickets, they actually sold 155. In between acts, a promotional video by the Martin Center was shown to the audience that explained its mission.

According to Edwards, the Martin Center, which has yet to be opened, is a part of Child Reach Ministries which will collaborate with non-profits and charities to provide service for teenagers in the SE Canton area. The decision to choose this specific charity was a result of Edwards connections with those involved, as well as their up-and-coming status in Canton. He also said he would like to see Malone students be more exposed and involved with the organization.

Providing financial support to a local charity is just one way Edwards hopes to see AirBand evolve through the years.

Those unfamiliar with the history of AirBand may not know that it was started in part by the Vice President for Student Development Chris Abrams. According to Abrams, it started in October of 1993. Student Development challenged the resident life staff to create an event with the potential to become annual. The RAs of Heritage, of which Abrams was on staff, created Nike AirBand.

The name “Nike” was born because the trophy was a pair of spray-painted Nike basketball shoes that belonged to then-resident director Rick Zomer. The decision to drop “Nike” this year is because Malone has no legal rights to the brand, Abrams said.

Throughout the years, AirBand has been hosted in the Stewart room, then moved to the dining hall to accommodate a larger crowd and eventually to the sanctuary where it is presently held due to the increasing audience.

According to Abrams, size is just one of the ways AirBand has changed over time. He also recognized that choreography, music, costuming and use of technology as other major changes since that first AirBand in 1993.

“The complexity is so much greater,” Abrams said. “I don’t know how much more you can do.”

Edwards also echoed those sentiments also noting that the involvement of non-resident life staffs have increased greatly over the years, reaching a variety of groups on campus including athletic teams.

The responsibility to host AirBand has always been passed down through Heritage Hall but moved to Devol along with its transition into a male dorm. It seems only fitting that the now female Heritage Hall has won AirBand two years in a row.

The ladies won this year’s event with a creative number based on The Lion King, which included intricate costuming and dancing as well as an appearance by the newest edition to the Malone community, PGB Resident Director Tony Schnyders’ baby boy, Deacon.

This year’s AirBand was hosted by junior Chloe Asselin and senior Tony Davis who entertained the crowd with their back and forth banter as well as several pokes at “Malone-isms,” such as the now deceased ice-skating rink, “ring by spring” and AVI.

President Dr. David King also made a cameo via video message giving us his best rendition of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.”

Other numbers included Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal,” performed by the basketball players and cheerleaders, “Grease” performed by the men and women’s cross country team, “Footloose” performed by Woolman and a strangely unexpected, yet grossly hilarious number of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” performed in drag and remixed into a metal mosh-pit by the men of PGB.

2013 will mark the 20th anniversary of AirBand and Edwards is already planning next year’s festivities. Though he remained tight-lipped on his ideas, he did give a little teaser as to what to expect:

“All I can say is I have some ideas that may commemorate some of the acts from the first AirBand, so you will have to come and watch.”

Steena Hymes  is a senior staff writer for The Aviso AVW.

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