Kick-Off, the annual talent show held by the Goshen College Campus Activities Council (CAC), was held last Saturday in Sauder Concert Hall. As a long- standing tradition, students and staff alike looked forward to the evening with many classes the day before buzzing with conversation in anticipation for the acts and outfits that would be presented.

Kevin Schultz, assistant director of residence life, was in charge of the planning this year. “We had weekly meetings to delegate tasks and come up with ideas or solutions to barriers,” he said. “Each member of CAC was assigned tasks based on their skill sets, and each member delivered on their parts better than we anticipated given the short amount of time we had to build it.”

The theme for this year’s Kick-Off was “disco.” Go-Go boots were donned, arrays of floral print flourished, wigs worn, bell-bottoms brought out and sequins were showcased as students entered the music center.

Of the nine acts that performed, there were five group acts, two vocal solos and two juggling acts. Some opted to follow the theme through their repertoire, including Queen Singers who sang “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan. Some chose the comedic route like Aysia Adkins, a sophomore who sang Fergie’s rendition of the U.S. national anthem.

CAC selects a group of faculty and staff each year to judge the performances. This year, the judges were Emily Hahn, program director for sexual assault prevention education and advocacy; Jesse Lowen, assistant director of the academic success center; Robina Sommers, assistant professor of education; and Brad Stoltzfus head coach of GC’s baseball team.

“This was the fifth Kick-Off that I’ve attended, but my first time serving as a judge,” Hahn said. “Judging this type of event can be really fun, but also challenging. … Overall, it was a very fun experience to judge with Brad, Jesse and Robina, and a part of this community experience.”

Sauder rang with applause and praises as the night went along. Engagement ranged from cheers to the waving of flashlights during performances. 

Cormac Koop Leichty, CAC member and emcee for the night, had fun with his experience. “I was very nervous beforehand, but thankfully the crowd was super energetic which made my job easy. … It was just a really great atmosphere.”

When all of the acts were finished, the judges narrowed the performances down to the top three spots, with Dimestore Folklore, a folk band with Luisa Dutchersmith, Maddie Bollinger, Ana Yoder and Tyson Miller, taking third place. The judges had the top two narrowed down to Potential Panic, a jazz ensemble, and Theresa Rodriguez, who performed a juggling act. In a unique spin this year, Dash came to aid judges in the decision for first place and runner-up. 

Dash initially came out with a sagging tail, and it eventually fell off. After a quick backstage fix, Dash had the audience decide the winner for the evening. With official decibel meters reading levels equivalent to a loud rock concert, the audience chose Rodriguez as the winner of the night.

“I loved Kick-Off and seeing everyone’s outfits,” Rodriguez said. “Being someone who was in the talent show it was amazing to see the turnout. I personally was nervous for obvious reasons. … I feel good about winning I never cared about winning, though; I just wanted to have fun and show my talents. … I think everyone is talented in their own way.” 

As a student that’s new to GC, the experience was something special for Rodriguez. “Everyone was amazing and I loved that everyone was so supportive of each other backstage. [GC] has amazed me with how welcoming and supportive the community is.”