Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Pioneer Stars given the chance to shine at Stage AE

A once-a-year cosmic event is happening again, and no, I’m not talking about the eclipse. The annual Pioneer Star Showcase on Wednesday, April 10th at Stage AE at 6:30pm. With four artists crowned as stars, this year the stage is jam-packed with talent from our very own Pioneer Records.


After nearly seven months of preparation the Pioneer Star song contest will finally come to its conclusion. Established in 2015 alongside the SAEM major and Pioneer Records itself, the song contest offers winners the opportunity to have their music professionally produced at Red Caiman Media, a music video produced by the Cinema Arts Department, a guitar provided by Gibson, and the chance to perform live at Stage AE in the Showcase.


“This is the most variety we have had genre-wise with our Pioneer Star Competition in a single year,” said Sandamini Sinley, senior SAEM major and Pioneer Records Director of Operations. “There will be Reggaeton, Indie-pop, Hard-rock, and Jazz—inspired funk.”


Although he was last to join the lineup, Jean Santos, known by his stage name Jeanbo, will be first up to the stage. Creating in the Reggaeton genre, he was chosen over two months after the other contestants, as Pioneer Records looked to diversify its sound and talent, to be the first ever fourth Pioneer Star.


“For as long as I have been a part of Pioneer Records, we have been searching for at least one talented artist that specializes in urban genre music to better diversify our musical roster and expand our community outreach,” Sinley said. “After a few discussions with individuals on campus, we came to the realization that these artists we are looking for have been unsure about applying due to the lack of genre in previous years. So, we thought the best option would be to look for them directly.”


Next up to stage will be singer-songwriter Bethany Latham, known by her stage name James the Seventh, with her dreamy indie-pop music. With over 2.3 million streams of her music on Spotify, Latham came into the competition as a more experienced artist. With a background as a ballet dancer, she transitioned to focus on music after a career-ending injury.


Following her is The Pit Crew, a 6-member hard rock band. They feature Emily Stroup on vocals, Max Alexander on lead guitar, Kenzie Butler on bass, Kayla Butler on drums, Nick Diperna on guitar, and Anna Bansemer on vocals, based off what could be found on their Instagram.


Closing out the show is Leandro Bilello, a second-year student who creates jazz-funk music with R&B influences. He previously applied in fall of 2022, but finally made the cut this year to be a Pioneer Star.


“I remember last year I auditioned with maybe two or three original songs, and I’ve just made my pocket of songs deeper since last year’s competition,” Bilello said. “It’s been great to have pioneer records support in getting my name out there.”


In addition to the professionally produced song and performance at Stage AE, Bilello was chosen to have a music video produced for his song “Breakdown Boogie,” made in collaboration with the Cinema Arts Department. It will be shown before his set at the Showcase.


“Working with the cinema department has been the coolest thing I’ve been a part of in a while,” Bilello said. “I love cameras, I love filmmaking and storytelling in general, and it was so cool putting that story together to my song with the music video class.”


In addition to the talent onstage, it will also be revealed which Pioneer Star will win the guitar provided by Gibson. To see Point Park’s shining stars for yourself, get tickets now at the Showcase’s Ticket Table, located at various locations on campus over the next several days leading up to the concert. Tickets are free for all Point Park Students.

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