Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Aggie Idol: View from a Performer

By Holland Seymour
UC Davis Women's Volleyball

If you happened to walk past the Memorial Union (MU) around 7:30 p.m. on May 15, you may have noticed groups of people nervously practicing a dance or song outside of Freeborn Hall.  Despite how well they danced or how well they could sing, these people were not professionals!  They were UC Davis varsity student-athletes who had practiced their acts for weeks all for the long-awaited Aggie Idol! 

Holland Seymour
For those of you who have never heard of Aggie Idol, it is a charity event in which UC Davis student-athletes perform various talents. This year, Team Davis received the proceeds.  According to its website, "Team Davis is an all volunteer, non-profit organization established to help enrich the lives of children and adults with developmental, cognitive and/or physical disabilities living in or close to Davis, California.  They sponsor athletic, social, cultural and recreational activities that help build physical skills, a sense of camaraderie, and a more fully integrated connection with the Davis community for our participants and their families and support staff."  If you want to get involved, you can visit its website at:  After watching them perform at Aggie Idol, I would love to get to know every single one of them.

Aggie Idol is not a small-scale talent show. All bias aside (I was one of the performers this year), it is no wonder we are able to raise so much because the talents of the Aggie athletes run far and wide!  Said the California Aggie in 2011, “Student-athletes of UC Davis want to make one thing clear: their talents aren’t restricted to the field.”

On attending the show, one could immediately disprove the “dumb jock” theory.  Of the 18 acts, every single one included an element of creativity and talent. The rápido conversación of Ramon Del Campo (soccer) drove us to laughter.  The beautiful playing of the violin by Bridget Bugbee (swimming & diving) gave us chills.  The soft ukulele played by Clint Bozner (basketball) made us feel as if we were on the island of Hawaii sitting on the sand.  Each group of Aggies contributed something special to the show.  Michelle Roppeau, our Director of Athletics Academic Advising, said it best in 2011 to the California Aggie:

“High-ability students at UC Davis often have multiple talents, interests and abilities that extend beyond the walls of the classroom, and our student-athletes are no different,” Roppeau said. “It’s easy to recruit performers because we have student-athletes with various talents as well as student-athletes blessed with creativity and a great sense of humor.”
Holland Seymour (far left) performs with her Aggie volleyball teams
at Aggie Idol on May 15.

From the perspective of an Aggie Idol performer, let me tell you, it was quite an experience! As a volleyball player here at UC Davis, my teammates and I decided to join in the fun this year and create an act. Due to the fact that we were all very busy and found it difficult to meet up so we could all practice together, we decided to do something that would be easy to learn on our own.  The idea of combining country line dances to some of Justin Timberlake’s hits was born!  Though we met and practiced the combined dances about four times, we managed to be able to perform it perfectly by the time Aggie Idol came around.  This must have been due to the fact that we practiced on our own everywhere we went!  We practiced in the kitchen, in our rooms, outside, in the middle of practice, and in our dreams.

Of course, no one takes stage fright into account.  Our act was second on the long-awaited night and as we waited backstage and listened to Megan Heneghan’s (tennis) stunning cover of Turning Tables by Adele, we began to get nervous.  Finally, we ran out behind the closed curtain to get into our places.  Nothing creates a more lasting memory than that of freaking out behind the curtain with your teammates!  We were so full of adrenaline and excitement that we could have easily run a few sets of sprints right there on the stage!  Well maybe not that full of adrenaline.

When that curtain opens and you see the crowd full of people, many of them people that you have grown to know and love and who begin to cheer for you, your brain shuts off and your body automatically knows what to do…it’s time to perform!  Almost like serving the first ball in game 1 of a volleyball match.  

When your act is over and you resume your seat, it is such a good feeling knowing that you helped contribute to the show and helped raise funds and support for such a great group of amazing people like those of Team Davis, whose act, by the way, was amazing.  They sang the classic “Hey Jude” by The Beatles accompanied by only a simple and beautiful guitar.  Clearly, they had put a lot of effort into their act and the passion and character that they had as they sang really got the crowd going.  The crowd began to wave their arms and sing along which in turn made the performers on stage sing louder and with more passion!  It was really something. 

All bias aside, Aggie Idol is incredible and each year everyone is always pleasantly surprised by the creativity, talent and passion that goes into each performance.  But don’t take my word for it.  Check it out next year when May rolls around!  Or even better consider joining the show or Team Davis itself!  You definitely won’t regret it!

Holland Seymour is a redshirt freshman on the UC Davis women's volleyball team who enjoys reading, writing and dancing. She and her Aggie teammates hope to take their Aggie Idol act to Broadway -- after volleyball season, that is.