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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Artists show their talents at Chico Unplugged

A fun-filled music competition took place on Thursday
Jakey B. Ragbone performs one of his winning songs. Taken by Toby Neal on March 7.

On Thursday, Madison Bear Garden played host to Chico Unplugged. The biannual event, put on by SOTA Productions, is a competition for local and student musicians to showcase their talents. The winner is rewarded with an in-studio recording session with Chico State’s Audio Engineering Society.

The crowd filled in quickly, and the audience seemed to be enthusiastically enjoying the performances. 

There were seven artists competing, as well as two featured artists, represented by SOTA Productions who filled out the evening nicely. The competition is open to anyone interested in performing.

Music lovers gather for Chico Unplugged performance to begin. Taken by Toby Neal on March 7.

Each semester, there are two Chico Unplugged events. The next set of performances will be on Thursday, March 14, at 7 p.m. upstairs at Madison Bear Garden. 

The winner was Jakey B. Raghorn. He performed two songs and played his way to victory. Raghorn has a unique style that blends jangly blues-rock and the storytelling of outlaw country from the ‘70s and ‘80s.

When asked how he felt about his win, Raghorn said that being rewarded for songs he’d put a lot of hard work into was like a dream come true. Raghorn said he has been playing for about six years, and performs around Chico quite a bit. 

He said he was very excited to win a recording session, adding “honestly, it’s the one thing I’ve been waiting for.”

Izais Ruiz addresses the audience before his performance. Taken by Toby Neal on March 7.

Among the other six contestants, Izais Ruiz was one of two runners-up and a powerful, bluesy singer and guitar player. He seemed to channel Tom Waits for parts of his song “This Dog.” 

Ruiz thanked his mother for making the three-hour drive from Patterson to be there for his performance.

The other runner-up was Serena Faith. She had a playful yet soulful and funky style with a big vocal range. She performed a song, “Running from the Rain,” she wrote while traveling around Australia in 2023.

Serena Faith performs an original song. Taken by Toby Neal on March 7.

The first performer was Maxwell Call, who sang two original songs and quipped that he was “here to take Ed Sheeran’s job.” 

Call said he takes music “very seriously” and that he practices “a lot.” When asked about his performance Thursday evening, Call said he had a blast.

“It felt great. I always just have fun. The more fun I have the more successful I’ll be,” Call said. 

Another act was Purity, a duo that plays acoustic guitar and violin. The duo performed their song “Hold Me Human”. The singer’s delicate voice kept the rapt attention of the audience.

Alessandra Carli performs her song “Crazy.” Taken by Toby Neal on March 7

Alessandra Carli, delighted the audience with her acoustic pop song “Crazy.” Alessandra was recently a cast member in the play Stop Kiss, a production of Chico State’s Department of Music, Theater and Dance.

There was also a raffle for a new Yamaha guitar, donated by The Music Connection. All proceeds will be donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the North Valley

The winner, Joe Alexander, is the associate dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and a former professor of media arts and recording industry. Alexander graciously donated his newly-won guitar to SOTA Productions.

Sam Moore and Toby Neal can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Samuel Moore, Reporter
Sam Moore is a senior at Chico state. This is his first semester at the Orion. Sam will be covering news and hopefully sports this semester. Sam is from San Luis Obispo, California. It is a small coastal town. Sam works as a Doordash driver in his spare time. His hobbies include playing basketball, playing video games, and relaxing.
Toby Neal, Reporter
Toby Neal is a public relations major, graduating in May. This is his first semester writing for The Orion. Neal is looking forward to bringing interesting and informative stories to the publication. He likes to keep his finger on the pulse of a gamut of things, from politics, to international topics, to hitting live music shows, to finding new places to eat and much in between. See you out there.

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