Every February, for one night only, Newcomer 19 becomes a tightly packed performance venue celebrating one thing: gettin’ down to the feminine sound.
The show, aptly named Chocolate House for the abundance of sweets provided, is an annual showcase of non-binary and female student talent put on by the Goshen Student Women’s Association (GSWA). Acts can be anything from singing to spoken word, but the door is also open to discussing more taboo “lady problems,” like social pressures on women or periods.
In continuing with flipping the script, GSWA always invites the men to hit the kitchen for the event. If interested, male-identifying students are invited to show off their culinary chops by making a sweet or salty snack to be shared while the performers do their thing.
This year, the performers ushered the audience through a range of emotions and topics. There were 14 acts, with 27 performers in total, that offered up songs, poems, spoken word, and a short play. Some elicited cheers and roaring laughter from the crowd, others brought quiet nods and murmurs of agreement when a topic found resonance with the listeners.
One of the more sentimental acts included “Dear Brown Girl”, a poem for international students, especially those of color, performed by Eden George. Another was “Want” by Birdwalker, a soulful melody about perceptions on emotions, performed by Neme[sis], a group who consists of Kailey Rice, Lisa Rosado Rivera, Bek Zehr, Emmy Rupp and Abigail Greaser.
These thought-provoking acts were interspersed with performances that aired on the sillier side, keeping the mood light as the show went along. While Anna Smucker and Sharada Weaver’s “Mama Mia Medley” and Debbie Richards and Greaser’s “So Tell Me About This Guy” had the audience cracking a smile and laughing, the highest energy points of the night belonged to the Class of 2020.
Rachael Klink reprised her Chocolate House tradition of presenting a witty and cleverly timed checklist, this year of her decade highs and lows. She talked about meeting and getting engaged to her fiancé, the toughest classes she took in college, and an embarrassing memory of loose bowels from SST in Peru.
“I chose highs and lows of the decade because it coincided with my graduation from Goshen,” Klink said. “I ended the piece hopeful about the next decade which also symbolizes a new chapter in my life – adulthood … but I’ve made friends this decade that are certainly going to help me get through the highs and lows of 2020 to 2030 and beyond.”
The Senior Citizens, a group of senior women consisting of Becca Choi, Siana Emery, Stephanie Dilbone, Marris Opsahl, Olivia Smucker, Yejin Kim and Lauren Myers, closed out the show with a high-energy parody of Katy Perry’s “Firework” called “The Moon Witch Song”.
Accompanied by a ukulele and Tylenol bottles-turned-shaker eggs, the Senior Citizens sang about the little things that resonate with all who menstruate, like bizarre food cravings and DIY hotpads for optimal uterus soothing.
After inviting the audience to sing along with them on the last chorus, the group thanked their audience with a shower of tampons previously hidden in their ponytails and pockets. The crowd went wild and as people drained out of the space, there were more than a few underclassmen women excitedly comparing how many tampons they had managed to snatch out of the air.
“I appreciate Chocolate House because it creates a space where topics that are usually taboo can be sung about, even in a comedic way,” said Dillon Hershey, a senior who attended the event to see friends perform. “It still validates and normalizes conversation about periods and stuff like that.”
For more information about Chocolate House or to learn more about the other events GSWA puts on, visit @the_gswa on Instagram or talk to Rupp, Elena Meyer Reimer, Savannah Walter, or Josefina Castillo, GSWA’s student leaders.