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Students Rock Saturday Afternoon THON Idol Alongside Electric ‘SouthPaw’ Performance

No THON is complete without some awesome musical performances. With that in mind, several students took the THON 2021 stage to sing a couple classics followed by a visit from State College-based punk band SouthPaw.

Three talented students showcased their singing abilities off to the virtual crowd Saturday afternoon. The first of the trio was Julia Byrne, who wasted no time to get the vibes up by performing a fantastic rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “For Once In My Life.”

Byrne had plenty of confidence on stage and was a perfect opener for the exciting Saturday afternoon event.

Next up was Will Searight, of Penn State’s Blue in the Face a cappella group. He sang a a beautiful version of Young and the Giant’s “Cough Syrup,” and likely got plenty of viewers in their (virtual) feels.

Olivia Notto closed out the competition by belting out a powerful performance of Katy Perry’s “Firework.” Plenty of folks were clearly impressed by Notto’s singing, as she was selected the winner by viewers after a five-minute voting period.

The victory allowed Notto to perform with SouthPaw for one last song in the student-portion of the afternoon. She went with Paramore’s “The Only Exception” and nailed it.

From there, SouthPaw took over the stage for the next hour or so. The State College band was proudly playing its fourth consecutive THON weekend, and was clearly ecstatic to be at the BJC once again.

The punk band opened its performance with a classic in Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down,” but frontman Drew Zimmerman took some time to virtually address the dancers and volunteers after the opening number.

“We miss you more than ever, but I’m so glad you’re at home staying safe,” Zimmerman said. “I want to make sure everyone at home feels like they’re here dancing with SouthPaw, supporting these families and kids.”

SouthPaw kept the energy coming after the sweet sentiment with Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want To Be.” From there we entered the boy-band section of the performance with the Jonas Brothers’ “Year 3000” and Five Seconds of Summer’s “She Looks So Perfect,” both of which are certified classics.

A couple of punk rock anthems came next with “The Reason” by Hoobastank and “Iris” by Goo Goo Dolls.

SouthPaw is described as a “punk band,” but the group managed to work their way through several genres and keeps the vibes up throughout the afternoon. Guitarist Bear Ketchum even stepped in while Zimmerman took a break and jammed out to Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”

After a few more punk classes, specifically a shout to legend Avril Lavigne, SouthPaw switched it up and put on a sweet rendition of Post Malone’s “Circles.”

From that modern hit, Zimmerman quickly explained that a THON family requested a specific song. The group doesn’t play it often, but with the request in mind SouthPaw belted out an awesome version of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”

To finish the extremely energetic set, Zimmerman thanked THON for having the group back and SouthPaw finished with two final songs: Paramore’s “Misery Business” and Yellowcard’s “Ocean Avenue.”

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a junior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]


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