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Air Guitar championship to rock Student Union

Tune your invisible strings and hook up your invisible amplifier. It’s time for the third annual Air Guitar Championship, hosted by the Carolina Union Activities Board.

Fans and contestants will come together tonight to rock out without their guitars out and find the best air guitarist on campus.

Admission is free with a One Card, but CUAB will take donations for relief efforts in Haiti.

Dan Crane, known in the air guitar world as “Bjorn Turoque” (pronounced too-rock), will host the event for the third time. Crane also hosts national and worldwide air guitar championships.

“I’m known as the Ryan Seacrest of air guitar,” Crane said. “I’m the master of airimonies.”

The championship will consist of two rounds. In the first round, contestants will perform a song of their choice, and those with the three highest scores will advance.

In the second round, contestants will listen to and perform a secret song chosen by Amanda Kao, the president of CUAB and creator of the competition.

Kao, a senior, brought the competition to UNC her sophomore year after seeing a similar championship in New York.

“I thought it was so interesting you could build an event around something that doesn’t exist,” Kao said.

Both new and returning competitors will be taking the stage.

Senior Brady McReynolds, or “Mystery Meat” when he’s in the zone, will compete for the third year, and he’s been practicing hard.

“Well, you practice all year. That’s a given,” McReynolds said. “I’ve been practicing in my underwear in front of my mirror.”

Student Body President Jasmin Jones, Tripp Gobble, founder of Vinyl Records, and music professor Mark Katz will rate contestants on a scale of 4.0 to 6.0. The judging criteria include technical merit and accuracy of play; stage presence, for which costumes are encouraged; and “airness,” or ability to turn air guitar into an art form.

“Make sure to tune before you play,” Katz wrote in an e-mail. “There’s no excuse for an out-of-tune air guitar.”

Returning contestants warned that dignity must be left at the door.

“You’re inevitably going to make an a-- of yourself,” Crane said.

But that’s just part of the fun.

“It helps getting over your nervousness,” McReynolds said. “Just slip into your persona and use your costume.”

Contestants need to bring their A-game to claim the title.

“Good air guitar is like a good buttermilk biscuit,” Crane said. “Light, fluffy. Crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. It warms the intestines.”

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