Aliens, Anticipation, and Atticus: The Team Behind OxTrad’s Talent Show

by Jacqueline Thompson, journalism student Oxtrad 2019

Pre-show jitters? Niamh doesn’t know them.  Almost four hours before the show, she remarked that she was very excited for the upcoming show.  Although I was only able to ask her a few questions (the banjo kid was jamming on the stage for his sound check), she seemed very confident about the performances. 

Elliectricity (El – definitely not an alien!)


During the intermission, I was also able to interview Grandad Atticus and Ellie (who is definitely not an alien).  Good ole grandad had no idea that there even was a talent show! Meanwhile, Ellie (Atticus’ grandson) thought the show was all meant for her.  Both were very happy with how the show was going, and they were excited for the next half and even more entertainment.

Two days after the talent show, I interviewed activities directors Niamh and Izzy.  They both had an amazing time! Izzy said, “It was great fun and it was amazing to see the depth of talent.” Niamh, on the other hand, had to set the record straight. “The best act was definitely from the admin team,” she remarked. “We had to channel the memes for our performance.” Is there bias? Perhaps, but she is right about the excellence of our great administration’s interpretive dance. 

Niamh and Izzy enjoyed how supportive the audience was. The finger snapping, clapping, hand-waving, and light flashing really helped create a positive energy as well as a feeling of community and togetherness.  At the end of the interview, Izzy summed her sentiments up by saying “You all took us from the Shallow to the Riptide.”  

“You all took us from the Shallow to the Riptide.”

A big thanks to the whole administration team, especially the activities directors!

For more stories and reviews from the journalism team, check out @tradtea on Instagram.

The Oxbridge Tradition Talent Show: A Critic’s Take

by Shantee Chand, journalism student Oxtrad 2019

The Oxbridge Tradition Talent Show, a highly anticipated event, took place on Saturday night. It was complete with acts, some good, some great. All entertaining.

The night started with a melodramatic skit from the deans and admin team, complete with songs to match the humorous theme of life at the Trad. Possibly the only thing saving the performance was the last musical number of “Summer Nights” from Grease.

The first opening act was Yammile Barber singing a strong choice of “How Far I’ll Go” from the Disney movie, Moana. She had very good pitch, even though she seemed a little nervous. However, the crowd responded with enthusiasm, singing along and waving lights.

the crowd responded with enthusiasm, singing along and waving lights.

Yammile Barber

Mac Trimmer followed with a beautiful piece played on the piano, “The River Flows to You”. There was a slight fumbling on the bridge, almost indiscernible, however. It brought a calm ambience over the audience. He played confidently despite a few missed keys and is obviously talented.

Next up was Lucas Hayes on  acoustic guitar with a very clean melody, complete with whistling, adding a playful atmosphere. It was a simple tune, possibly too simple, but the audience definitely approved.

Following this act was Mac Sizeland singing an a cappella version of “Strawberry Blonde”. Their voice was sweet, though the lack of instruments made it a little awkward. The outfit matched the lyrics perfectly. It was a very beautiful song and this bold choice paid off.

Joyce Li sang an elegant rendition of “Dancing With Your Ghost”. Her voice was soulful and rich and the way she harmonized sent chills down my spine.

Aiden Hernacki aka Banjo Boy

Aiden Hernacki, also known as Banjo Boy, is a local celebrity around Pembroke. He was clearly a highly-anticipated act. He played skillfully. It was a tear-inducing act executed with such grace that it brought on a standing ovation from the crowd.

Grey Holeman and Sarah Beth Kelton sang two duets, as well as solos. Their first performance was a duet of “Tenerife Sea”. Grey, on guitar, had a rich and smooth voice. Sarah has a beautiful alto. Her solo was phenomenal and in the duet their voices blended together beautifully.

Caroline Orr performed a heart-wrenching arrangement of “I’ll Never Love Again” from the soundtrack of A Star is Born. It’s a very sad song, yet it was a perfect fit for her voice and her falsetto was almost flawless, only slightly pitchy on the high notes. Her voice remained smooth throughout it all. By the end of the performance, sniffles were heard throughout the room. An emotionally strong and beautiful performance.

Jacquelyn Thompson

Jacquelyn Thompson, a promising young starlet, brought the house down with her passionate karaoke version of “Tequila!”, a delivery that touched my heart and soul.

Jacquelyn Thompson, a promising young starlet, brought the house down with her passionate karaoke version of “Tequila!”, a delivery that touched my heart and soul.

Margaret Burner also sang a cappella, though she seemed much more comfortable with the concept in her performance of “Danny Boy”. Her range varied, jumping in certain parts and she was slightly pitchy, but it was a solid performance.

Kyra Garcia arrived on stage with her guitar and a song, “Out On My Own”. The melody was pleasant and sweet. Her voice and energy made the piece very upbeat and happy.

Ava Pressman performed “I Hope You Dance” with vocals and piano accompaniment. It was majestically executed. She played with confidence and her voice was even and powerful.

Ava was joined in the next act by Selise Bourla, singing a duet of “Shallow” from A Star is Born. It’s a very challenging song, especially for two females, but right off the bat it was obvious they excelled at it. Dare I say, they outdid Cooper and Gaga?

It’s a very challenging song, especially for two females, but right off the bat it was obvious they excelled at it. Dare I say, they outdid Cooper and Gaga?

Francesca Ngo wrote and performed a song about her time at Oxford, a perfect summary, as our time together draws to an end. It was bittersweet, yet happy and the crowd went wild. A true talent.

The night closed with OxTrad’s own a cappella group with their vocal interpretation of “Riptide”. It was a very catchy and upbeat performance. While all the sounds were almost overwhelming, it was also wonderfully chaotic and energetic.

Check out @tradtea on Instagram for more stories and reviews from the journalism team.

Banking and Markets at OxTrad!

In all the hustle and bustle in the midst of final project week, a throwback to quieter times in our Banking and Markets class! The class plays poker as an exercise to learn game theory and demonstrate the concept of risk and reward. In one such game, a remarkable incident occured – one player got a royal flush hand on the flop! Pictured are the winning hand and the lucky man.

IMG_20190710_115849IMG_20190710_120300

OxTrad Student Trad Talks 2019

Following on from the example set by our Staff Trad Talks earlier in the Program, our students had the opportunity to present on a topic of their choice to their peers. A wide ranging set of presentations resulted, including discussions on romantic love, intra-democratic peace theory and the importance of discussing death.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Meet Richard, Porter at Pembroke College

by Laia Besalduch, journalism student OxTrad 2019

 “I’m getting married in three weeks’ time. I’ve known my fiancé for 16 years. We got engaged a year ago in Seville. I met her at my previous job at the county council; we used to talk on the phone as part of our work. I was a manager in payroll for 26 years, speaking to people on the telephone. My job ended because the council sold the payroll to a private company. I have worked at Pembroke College for two years now, but it took me a year and a half to find this job.

The transition was difficult, the work is very different; now I meet people face to face. I knew, though, that this was something I wanted to do – to be more personal rather than communicate over the phone or via email.

This job is about being helpful and nice to people all day. But I also enjoy when people wave at me as they leave; it shows they’re polite. I let other people do the talking, as I am quite quiet, but I do love it when visitors show manners. I would like to travel more and see more of the world after I retire. Unfortunately, I still see myself working in 20 years because I won’t retire until I am 67. I hope that by then I’ll have more grandchildren. I just became a grandpa. I don’t have any children, but my partner has two, and her daughter just gave birth to a boy.

My happiest memories are meeting my fiancé and watching Manchester United win the 1999 European Cup in Barcelona. I was there. It was the biggest thing I had ever done.”

“I am very boring.”

For more stories and reviews from the journalism team, check out @tradtea and the writer @besalduch on Instagram.

Meet Christiane, Scout at Pembroke College

by Maria Antonia Mendez, journalism student OxTrad 2019

“And I said, “Why not?” Why not drop everything and follow in her footsteps? I know it sounds crazy to you now, but it’s been years and I’m still here. Life back home was way harder than in the UK. You’d have to work for endless hours to gain a fraction of what you needed. I had to work even more, because my father was dealing with medulla cancer for almost five years, the kind in which he was always still and lying in bed. It was a very long and tiring process. It still hits me hard thinking about it. We were very close and I know I’ll never have a relationship like the one I had with him. I know it’s been a long time, but it still saddens me.

“My mother came to visit me. I wanted to show her my past 13 years in only two months, but the time felt short.”

The passing of my father turned my world upside down. I wasn’t looking for anything when my friend introduced me to the idea of moving to Europe. I just went for it, leaving my job as a teacher to start cleaning labs in a university in Portugal. Since then I’ve been moving around Europe to work in different universities, with my father and God by my side. There’s a lot I miss about Brazil, mostly my friends and family — but I like it here. Oxford is a small city but it’s busy, which makes it the perfect balance. I’m glad my family and I still maintain a close relationship even when I’m far away. My mother came to visit me. I wanted to show her my past 13 years in only two months, but the time felt short.”

With special thanks to @pedrobellizia. For more stories and reviews from the journalism team, check out @tradtea and the writer @toa._ on Instagram.