APU hosts annual Final Cut competition


Jessica Cabral, left, and Katy Howard, right, enjoy a fun moment on stage after winning the Final Cut 2013 competition.
Photo: Annie Z. Yu

Several hundred students filled the Wynn Amphitheater Friday night to enjoy the musical talents of 12 singers at the annual Final Cut competition, hosted by the students of the School of Music’s Music Business 2 course.

Two vocalists, junior communication studies major Katy Howard and freshman music and Christian ministries double major Jessica Cabral, tied for the grand prize: free studio recording time.

Howard performed an original ukelele-accompanied song, “Deuces,” while Cabral covered Beyonce’s 2006 soul-R&B; single, “Listen.”

“It’s a really awesome growing experience,” Cabral said. “Being able to perform with all your peers and perform for the student body is like the most amazing feeling.”

The judging panel consisted of three celebrity vocalists: Scott Hoying, lead singer of the a capella group Pentatonix, Lindsay Pearce, a runner-up for The Glee Project and Linda McCrary, a gospel and R&B; singer who has collaborated with artists such as Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.

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“The judges offered such good feedback and the fact that APU brought them in was really, really unique to anything that I’ve ever seen,” freshman liberal studies major Kara Hayes said.

Sophomore music business major Alexander Tutungi, a student in the Music Business 2 course, said putting on the event has been an invaluable experience.

“We are challenged in class to go out and talk to people we don’t know, to communicate, to do business, to promote— to get out of the classroom setting and actually apply these things and make these lessons tangible,” Tutungi said.

Around 60 students auditioned for Final Cut on March 20, according to Tutungi. The Music Business 2 students selected the 12 finalists to perform at Final Cut.

The show was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. but did not start until 8 p.m. because one of the judges entered “APU” into her GPS, which then took her to APU’s satellite campus in Anaheim.

Despite the late start, Tutungi said the show went “better than we could have dreamed.”

“It was just everything—the set, the band, the performers, the contestants, the turnout—everything was just so phenomenal. Best we’ve ever had,” Tutungi said.

Pearce said she came to Final Cut as a judge because she is friends with Nick McClellan, a sophomore commercial music major and Music Business 2 student, and he asked her to come out and judge.

“It was my first time [at Final Cut] and I hope it’s not my last—it was amazing and actually really inspiring,” Pearce said. “Such originality and talent and they all had fun. The community of the school is really incredible. I don’t know many colleges [where] kids would purposely come out and watch a show on the grass. It’s really special.”

Nagila Cabral, mother of Jessica Cabral, said she is proud of Jessica for giving her best, having fun and praising the Lord through the competition.

“We got to see so many different talents tonight; different genres and it’s just a wonderful thing to see. So many people with different styles and they bring their own creativity,” Jessica Cabral said. “It’s just a fun thing. It should happen more—it’s really enjoyable.”

Freshman commercial music major Megan Wright competed at Final Cut and said it was an “awesome” experience.

“Just being a part of it was so fun. You just really feel the energy of the crowd and it makes you want to perform [that] much more,” Wright said. “I’m definitely going to re-audition again [next year].”

Tutungi said he looks forward to next year’s Final Cut and, despite the success of this year’s competition, he believes it will only grow with every year it continues.

“APU is blessed to have such a deep pool of talented vocalists and musicians. I don’t think a lot of people realize—we have so many good [singers] on the worship teams, and that’s just scratching the surface of how many talented musicians and singers we have,” Tutungi said. “It’s really amazing for such a small school.”

Howard suggested specific changes for next year, such as further promotion of the event and a videographer to cover the event, but said she loved the vibe of the outdoor competition and that the Music Business 2 class did a phenomenal job organizing Final Cut.

“It feels so surreal to have won Final Cut this year. It was such an incredible experience to get up there and perform my own song,” Howard said. “Standing up there holding hands with Jessica was incredible and exhilarating… that feeling was like no other.”