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Bruin Tracks: Spring Sing


By Mark Davis

Published Apr 1, 2007 8:00 AM

Ronald Reagan emceed the event before he ran for president. Paula Abdul judged there before she picked American Idols. Maroon 5 played there before it became a multi-platinum-selling band.

UCLA's greatest student talent show, Spring Sing, boasts many brushes with greatness, due in part to the presence of past George and Ira Gershwin Award winners like Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Ella Fitzgerald and Babyface. This year, legendary producer and composer Quincy Jones will accept the accolade before a capacity crowd of more than 4,500.

Spring Sing 2007

Tickets are now on sale for the Friday, May 4, 8 p.m. show at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at UCLA. Call the Central Ticket Office at (310) 825-2101 or log on to

But another thrill of the annual show is catching those before-they-were-famous performances by UCLA students. Fame can find any of them, from the company performers, whose comedy is equal to most sketch humor on TV today, to the talented musicians who get their first shot at playing for thousands on Spring Sing's outdoor stage.

"Spring Sing was an amazing experience for me," recalls Sara Bareilles '03. "It was my first opportunity to perform my own music in front of a crowd that large."

"I had never played for a crowd as big as that," adds Mark Armstrong '00, M.Ed. '03, now a teacher and independent recording artist. "It's an experience that few college musicians get to have. I was fortunate to have it. That was the first time that I realized my songs could mean something to people."


Both Armstrong and Bareilles point to Spring Sing as a decisive moment.

"I realized that making albums was the only way I could continue to connect with an audience of that size," says Armstrong, who recently released his second recording, A Social Study (available at

"Something about those lights and a captive audience really sparked a deep passion for performance in me," says Bareilles. "I definitely had a stronger resolve to pursue music from that performance."

Bareilles subsequently has toured with Maroon 5 and Raining Jane (another Bruin band with Spring Sing on its résumé), appeared on the soundtrack for the movie Monster-in-Law and signed a deal with Epic Records. Bareilles' first major label release, Little Voice, hits stores this summer.

"I'm so excited about what's to come and so thankful that I got my start from within the student community at UCLA and Spring Sing," she says.

UCLA Alumni Association members receive a ticket discount as a benefit of membership. But if you want to see future Bruin stars, make your plans early, because Spring Sing typically sells out. Tickets go on sale April 2.

Sara Bareilles'

These Bruins helped make "Fairytale": Colin Ebeling '99, producer; Will Pellegrini '99, co-producer; prop master and extra; Chaska Potter '00, extra; Thomas Lenk '98, extra; Vanessa Mizzone M.F.A. '04, extra; Mona Tavakoli '02, extra; and Takashi Kawashima M.F.A. '06, assistant cameraman.