Kendra Martinez / Daily Nexus

In an effort to bring the UCSB community together, the Associated Students Commission on Culture, Arts, and Joy Justice held weekly “Sing a New Song” showings under Storke Tower every Friday for the entirety of winter quarter. Special guests kicked off each show before the stage opened up to students for an open mic session. 

Second-year sociology major and Associated Students Commission on Culture, Arts, and Joy Justice member Vivian La Pena touched on the intent behind the new community event. 

“[‘Sing a New Song’] provides a community space every Friday,” La Pena said. “It is healing through music and poetry.”

On International Women’s Day (March 8), performers Anthony Kougias and Natalie Espinoza took to the stage with their acoustic covers of several hit songs. Their covers were more mellow and laid back, making for a relaxed way to end the week for those passing by. From covering “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse to “Sunny Days” by Allen Stone, Kougias and Espinoza captured the audience’s attention and had them dancing lively to their music. UCSB alum Zander Fox was one of those audience members dancing during the performance.

“Live music, good vibes, positive vibes,” Fox said when describing the show. He tries to regularly attend the live “Sing a New Song” events and nurture his love for music.

Event founder and doctoral student Charlene Macharia went up on stage to open up the floor to any students who wanted to perform a song or read poetry.

Fourth-year communication major Steven Bizzoco volunteered to go on stage with Kougias as an accompanist. Bizzoco sang “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Beatles while playing the guitar. The two radiated confidence together and gave a lively performance. 

To end the show, Macharia gave a few ending notes. 

“[‘Sing a New Song’ is] giving a space for expression and cultivating community and joy,” Macharia said. “We have power through our voice, and we are changing the world.”

Macharia also took the opportunity to announce that following the demands presented by the Department of Black Studies for school officials to take action on the Israel-Palestine crisis, she will be participating in a hunger strike to pressure the administration even more. 

The last “Sing a New Song” of the quarter was on March 15 and featured The Rahkas as performers. The reggae jazz band with vibrant energy attracted many onlookers to stop by and enjoy the live performance. Staying true to their goal, “Sing a New Song” brought the UCSB community together in a lively way right before finals.