Encore! Encore! WMUH Radio Riff Off talent hits the stage once more

WMUH hosted a fun celebration of the fall’s winners!

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Muhlenberg students celebrating the electric showcase. // Photo by Johnny Veglia '24

The art of music allows for honest expressions, and while it can be a stressful process, it allows for connection between a wide variety of individuals. This can especially be true for college students with a welcoming and vibrant community to respect their works and to create a safe space for their original songs to be respected. Muhlenberg’s very own radio station, WMUH, highlighted the work of two student songwriters, Emily Kirchner ‘22 and Luke McIntyre ‘25, the two winners of the Radio Riff Off from the fall. The Red Door Cafe hosted the event on Friday, Jan. 25, at 8pm. The event combined students in-person and also family members and friends who decided to watch remotely via a livestream. 

The event was brought together thanks to the work of the WMUH team and Emma Ash ‘24 and Sophie Plaut ‘24, who served as the hosts of the evening, introducing Kirchner and McIntyre. Ash stated, “A lot of people showed up, we had over 140 people show up, which is a massive turnout. There was a lot of joy and a lot of camaraderie and support for the people that were performing, Emily and Luke.”

Kirchner performed a wide variety of original works and added introductions to the songs to add a sense of warmth and connection between the audience and the songwriter. One specific song focused on Kirchner’s experience working at a grocery store on Christmas Eve and how a woman came in crying. The piece entitled, “Fears Into Wings,” was highly emotional and continued the story of this woman and how to build up courage and strength. 

The indie music of Kirchner helped to highlight how she won the second place position during the competitive Radio Riff Off back in October. The audience also cheered Kirchner on during multiple points of her performance, allowing for it to truly feel supportive and connective. Kirchner also played the ukulele and piano, bringing her pieces to life in an exciting way. 

“Performing all those songs in front of the Muhlenberg community was really special.”

– Luke McIntyre ’25

McIntyre served as the headliner of the showcase, as part of his achievement of winning first place during the Riff Off competition. The singer/songwriter featured a wide range of works, such as his moving original pieces in addition to the works of Coldplay. In addition, the artist transformed the Red Door Cafe into a theatrical space with works from “Once,” the Broadway musical. These established works are personal for McIntyre and helped to inspire him to write his own pieces and songs.

“Once” not only connected to the singer on a personal level, but also for his passion for musical theatre. McIntyre stated, “As the son of an Irish immigrant, I’m really drawn to the story and the music of the musical ‘Once’ and its themes. The show feels so personal to me, and the character ‘Guy’ is certainly a dream role of mine.”

The artist is also involved with the theatre and dance department here at ‘Berg and will be performing in “Miss You Like Hell,” the upcoming mainstage musical. 

The songwriter also incorporated a guitar to bring his artistic spirit to life and this acted as its own beast as well. The crowd cheered and hollered for McIntyre’s magic on the guitar. “You could hear people cheer in the audience when they hit a beautiful note, or when Luke would perform really cool guitar riffs,” Ash said.

 “Performing all those songs in front of the Muhlenberg community was really special. I haven’t been here long, but I’ve met some of the most supporting and incredible people here at Muhlenberg. It makes performing even more fun when you know the audience is there to support you every step of the way,” McIntyre stated. 

“There was a lot of joy and a lot of camaraderie and support for the people that were performing, Emily and Luke.”

– Emma Ash ’24

The showcase allowed for a chill environment rather than an intense competition for artists to try and win. The showcase served as a creative space for the songwriters, with Kirchner and McIntyre having complete control over their setlists. The artists expanded upon their original works, while also highlighting the songs that earned them the showcase in the first place. Kirchner concluded with “Bloom,” her second place winning song, and McIntyre transformed audience members with “Speed Of Light,” the first place winning piece. McIntyre’s original works were interwoven with his featured covers, creating an unforgettable performance.

“The song ‘Speed of Light’ is sort of a tribute to Coldplay, the name itself was inspired by their song ‘Speed Of Sound,’” continued McIntyre.

The artist’s Instagram is @l.mc9 and his music is featured on music streaming platforms and Kirchner’s account is @emilykirchnermusic. WMUH will continue to develop events throughout the spring, including a concert in April. Thanks to their support, these bold songwriters resonated with electric audience members and more artists will continue to do so in the near future.

“I’m just happy that people came to support their friends and live music, it was cool,” concluded Ash.

Johnny '24 is a Theatre and Media and Communication double major at 'Berg. He loves to highlight the voices of artists across campus and to showcase the wide variety of events at Muhlenberg. He likes to think he is funny, but that is up for debate.

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