A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Mt. SAC Rocks the House

400 seats sold out for Mt. SAC ’s 21st annual Puttin’ On The Hits

They sure made our hands clap.

Each number was a back to back avalanche of Oscar and Emmy worthy performances at the 21st annual Puttin’ On The Hits, aside from an unexpected “Baby Shark” performance.

Excitement filled the sold out Sophia B. Clarke Theater as Jill Dolan and Johnny Lewallen introduced each act after witty banter between the two hosts.

Lewallen introduced the many firsts in this show including that it was Rondell Schroeder’s first time directing Puttin’ On The Hits, that it was the first time the deaf and hard of hearing students were involved, and that it was the first time there were these hosts.

Lewallen said he was excited to have a first at this age, to which Dolan immediately changed the subject after hearing “too much information.”

Dolan and Lewallen both went on to stress the importance of the event, by telling those in attendance that all funds from the 400 sold out seats (at roughly $20 a seat) go to student scholarships.

After a “P-O-T-H” chant, the crowd was pumped up to see the whole cast perform to “I Can Make Your Hands Clap” by Fitz and the Tantrums followed by Lady Gaga’s “Judas” and “Shallow” from the Oscar-winning film “A Star Is Born.”

The crowd ate it up with an audible “Yeah baby,” alongside hard clapping and hollering for the performances, even though to Lewallen’s faux chagrin there were no meat dresses involved.

Dolan then explained K-pop to Lewallen as similar to disco, performers for Blackpink’s “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du” and the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancing” turned up the heat.

It was as if the four dancers were in an official music video, with how they glided across the stage with flawless precision.

Not to be outdone, Rosanne Bader studded in white go-go boots, Robert Hidalgo donning a flamboyantly pink sequined shirt, and Jay Chen adopting a blue sequined shirt showed the crowd that the Board of Trustees can move.

Backstage, everyone knew when Hidalgo came and went.

A former student performer, Rhys Sommers of the Math Activities Resource Center, said he was sure they threw the sequined shirts in the trash but that they just keep coming back. With that, Faculty Association Executive Producer Joan Sholars joked that she made an excellent investment when she bought them.

Although the board was getting down to the Bee Gees, the audience focused their eyes on Faculty Association President Eric Kaljumagi, who had continuously told the board he did not know how to disco.

If he was not underselling himself, he faked it well. Several shouts of “Go Eric,” could be heard from the crowd, loving his disco pointing alongside wild hip swaying.

The POTH cast dances to the song “You Should Be Dancing” by the Bee Gees. Photo credit: Lauren Berny.

Of course those moves were no match for Shalini Chatarpaul, the belly dancer who would later perform to a Bollywood piece. Wearing an outfit louder than any of Lewallen’s gag suits, she grooved to yet another “Yeah baby,” from the same audience member, who might not have had the same “innocent” soda stains Lewallen had mentioned about a suit prior.

Following the sultry performances were Disney montage pieces, including “A Part Of Your World” from the “Little Mermaid,” “Slaughter Race” from Ralph Breaks the Internet, “Un Poco Loco” from Coco, and “We Know The Way” from Moana.

After Moana, a surprise segment of “Baby Shark” came up with kiddish “doo-doos” echoing in the theater, which caught several members of the audience by complete surprise. Embarrassingly, other members of the audience joined in.

In another tonal shift, “Finesse” by Bruno Mars and Cardi B came after, and were followed up by two more interesting acts.

In introducing the two acts, Lewallen made an obligatory Trump joke about West Side Story’s “America” being followed by Pink Floyd’s “The Wall,” to which Dolan almost instantly blurted that this was a nonpartisan event.

The best part of “The Wall” was arguably the performers; 32 deaf and hard of hearing dancers on stage stomped loudly to feel the vibrations of the song.

Schroeder said it was arguably one of her favorite parts of the show as these dancers had no clue what the song was about and had to start from scratch with the stomping as guidance. She praised the interpreters’ hard work and how the on stage interpreters throughout the other numbers sang with their hands and energy.

The next performance might as well have been Roll Over Beethoven, because Malcom Rickard was bringing a twist to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.”

When he walked on stage, dressed the part, Rickard brought only a guitar.

In a performance smoother than Santana and with more playfulness than Chuck Berry’s riffs, Rickard did with a guitar what a piano could never do to music – twang.

This was his first time performing the number, and it took him around a month to completely design the piece. Despite having played guitar for 20 years, he claims to have plateaued after the fourth year.

If he considers that plateauing, Joe Walsh should have retired after James Gang.

Following his relaxing number, performers for Katy Perry’s “Swish Swish” livened it up for the pop fans before intermission.

Joe Mountie and the POTH cast dance to the song Swish Swish by Katy Perry featured by Nicki Minaj. Photo credit: Lauren Berny.

Similarly, Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” welcomed everyone back, before Chatarpaul stunned the stage again with her Bollywood number.

An oldies but goodies montage followed, with the Andrew Sisters’ “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “At The Hop” by Danny and the Juniors, “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, and “In The Still Of The Night” by Fred Parris and the Satins.

Vincent Herrera of the IT department starred as the bugle boy in the first number despite overcoming injuries. The man who was hidden, aside from a sweeping number at this point in the show, hides a great voice, but says he just figures everyone karaokes.

Originally Herrera was going to be in several more numbers, but after a snowboarding accident on Martin Luther King Day he had to cut down on his performances. He broke two ribs without falling, as a backpack strap did him in, and is on week four of 6-12 weeks of recovery.

The show must go on for Herrera though. Despite being out of other numbers, the accident did not impact his flawless vocals – he would give a true to form rendition of Jim Croce’s “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” as the second to last number of the night.

Following the oldies were three versions of Freddie Mercury for Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and “We Are The Champions.” Two of the Freddies signed and the one in the middle made Rami Malek look like a joke with their enthusiastic stage presence.

Following the crowd favorite, was a stunning rendition of “Hallelujah” by Diana Cortez. Although this was her first time performing at this event, she was a natural from past works and nailed the high notes. She said the song reminds her of Lord Farquaad and Shrek, but was thinking of doing a different number where she would dance and sing – something she said she loves doing.

Performances of “Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson and “When You’re Good To Mama,” from the musical Chicago caught a lot of cheers before Herrera’s Croce number and a final song for the hosts before the finale.

Angel Ortego, performing the song “When You’re Good to Mama,” from the musical Chicago. Photo Credit: Lauren Berny.

Dolan and Lewallen both lip synced to Bebe Rexha’s “Meant To Be” with a stick horse and unicorn prop to “ride on” in a touching number from the hosts.

The whole cast came down during the finale number of “Downtown” by Macklemore to take the final bow.

POTH cast performing “Downtown” by Macklemore, featuring Eric Nally, Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, and Kool Moe Dee. Photo credit: Lauren Berny.

It was a general positive reception from all in attendance, and Sommers said the whole event and the craziness behind the scenes brought back good memories of the 11 years he had participated in the event. He added that it takes a bit of crazy to do all this and that he feels among friends at the event.

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About the Contributor
Joshua Sanchez
Joshua Sanchez is the former Editor in Chief and News Editor of SAC.Media. He was previously the managing editor of LAHS' student newspaper, The Conqueror. A portfolio of his reporting work can be found at jdjoshsan.wordpress.com.

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