Hundreds of people filled Sauder Concert Hall this past Saturday to see who’d come out on top at “A Night at the Oscars.” Of the 25 acts that auditioned, Kick-Off 2018 featured 12, showcasing a wide variety of students and talents.

“This year’s show was exciting because we had more acts that weren’t exclusively music,” said Corie Steinke, associate director of community life and Campus Activities Council (CAC) advisor.

The Goshen College event was emceed by Alia Byrd and Amy Castillo, alongside other members of CAC. Planning for the event began even before school started, deciding on factors such as the theme, after-party snacks and other logistics.

“Our CAC staff is an incredible group of ladies who dedicated a lot of time into the event to make sure that it was something the whole campus would enjoy,” said Byrd, one of three seniors in CAC. “From the comments back, the crowd reactions and the pictures we’ve been seeing all day, I’d say this Kick-Off is one for the books, and a show we’re proud to have been a part of for our senior year.”

For the second year, audience members were able to participate in voting. However, this year’s theme allowed for participation even before the event began. In true Oscar fashion, members of the GC community were able to place votes for “Best Awards.” Categories for these awards included Proudest Maple Leaf, Best Beard and Shoeless Wonder. Winners received their very own Oscar trophy.

Audience members were also able to choose a fan-favorite act. The winner of this award went to “Put Your Records On,” performed by Alia Byrd and Lydia Beachy.

Throughout the show, audience members responded with positivity to the acts, whether it be through exercising at the “Stretch Break,” laughing in response to Mennonite confusion in a skit or through thundering applause and cheering following a musical performance.

“CAC works really hard to put on a really entertaining show but it wouldn't be what it is without students coming together to support other students in the awesome and sometimes unique and unsuspecting things they can do,” said Steinke.

The winning acts were determined by three judges: Rev. LaKendra Hardware, Tom Myers and Emily Hahn. Third place was the band “The Eighth Day.” Second place was “Teenage Dirtbag,” an act consisting of Harrison Gingerich, Nathan Pauls, Ian Martin, Paul Drescher and Evan Krabill. The 2018 Kick-Off winner was “Barnett’s Boys,” a dance ensemble.

Nimoy Vaidya, a senior and choreographer of the Barnett’s Boys, said that the group of seven began preparing for the show in mid-July through video tutorials for different kinds of moves. They have been frequently meeting since the school year began.

“I’d say we put in an easy 30 hours, not counting the time we put in in the summer,” said Vaidya.

The performance, one of multiple to receive a standing ovation, was the second time the group performed together, the first being the International Student Coffeehouse last spring. Vaidya said that he promised his team first place for their time and hardwork, and was glad he “was able to stay true” to his word.

“During the performance, my mind goes blank and I let the music tell my body what to do,” said Vaidya. “We took a lot of risks this year and several got injured during practice. At the end, I was glad we executed everything perfectly without anyone getting hurt.” Vaidya also notes that anyone interested in joining should get in contact with him.

Jonah Hochstetler, a first-year, noted that his personal favorite acts were the “God is a Woman” trio and “The Great Hughdini.”

“I thought Kick-Off was a lot of fun,” said Hochstetler. “It was great to see people perform and to see everyone dressed up.”

Immediately following the show, audience members flooded back into the Music Center lobby to take final pictures, indulge in food provided by AVI and dance to music at the after-party.