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Diego Val puts on an incredible performance at SPC's coffeehouse

By Melissa Conlon
On September 20, 2012

  • A photo of Diego Val, a contestant on The Voice.


   Let me set the stage for you: a single wooden stool against the basic black Performing Arts Room's stage, the dimly lit room populated with scattered groups of students, and a buzz of beginning of the weekend chatter. It is a Friday night and the Student Programming Council is headlining Diego Val, for tonight's SPC Coffeehouse.

   Singer-songwriter Diego Val is a Lima, Peru native, who now lives in Miami, and is a contestant on this season of NBC's "The Voice." Val has lived in the States for the past nine years, spending eight as an immigrant, living off his passionate love for music. Indeed, Val has a great deal to show for his years of adoration, putting on an incredibly intimate live performance.

   He began by playing "If I Could Fly," written for a lost love, who has no idea there is a song out there about her.

   "I will never bother to tell her, cause I don't want to get involved with telling her husband that I have written a love song for his wife," Val said on the controversial nature of the song. From that song/story on, Val had the audience hooked.

   However, despite Val's audience connection, a slight mishap broke the flow - a broken guitar string put the set on hold for a bit. However, despite this accident, the majority of the audience stayed put, waiting for Val to being playing again.

    "I must have been doing something right- nobody left during the string incident," Val said to a dedicated audience.

   Val is an incredibly energetic performer, featuring passionate, John Mayer-esque facial expressions, in addition to swaying to his own chords and lyrics. It is refreshing to see such passion and energy in a simple acoustic performance. It means something more to see the musician into his music in such a raw setting, rather than hiding behind fancy lighting and choreographed moves. This passion was most notable during his cover medley of Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody," "Cooler Than Me," and his original, "La Luna," which was preformed partly in Spanish. I found listening to him in his native language to be fun as well as interesting - it showed another facet of the man behind the music, who's culture has such a huge impact on his work.

   Yet the most entertaining moment of the night came when Val got the audience involved. By a show of hands, several students revealed to him that they were vocally inclined and would be interested in performing. Seven Marist students joined him on stage to write an impromptu song about an audience member's dog, Marley. The "jam-session" featured six brave students as well as a small solo by freshman, Maria Gironas.

   Following his closing track, a new song which has no name and was only finished last week, Val expressed his extreme gratitude towards the audience and all the fun he had us.

   "I felt you guys tonight, and thank you," Val said after his performance.

   But it wasn't just Val who felt the audience, but also the audience who was in tune with him.

   "This was my first coffeehouse and it was definitely a memorable one. Diego was so much fun and kept me entertained even when he wasn't playing," Kelly Quin said.

   Although the SPC Coffeehouse is set up to be an intimate event with singer-songwriters, the SPC Coffeehouse board hopes that students will encourage others to come, despite the performers being lesser known.

 "I'm really glad people showed up to listen, but we definitely encourage more students to join us for the Coffehouse performances," Hanna Yando, Coffeehouse Committee Chair, said after the performance. Make sure to pick up your Student Activities calendar to catch the next performer, but in the meantime make sure to tune into NBC's "The Voice" to watch Diego Val!

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