Sydney Brummel— Staff Writer
On the evening of Friday, April 23, a large crowd of Dordt students and friends gathered inside the B.J. Haan Auditorium. Six white banners hung from the ceiling, with colored lights illuminating them with a bright splash of purple. The stage featured set pieces of large human outlines surrounded by neon lettering. From the speakers, upbeat music played. In the minutes leading up to the show’s kickoff, an excited buzz bounced about the space, with groups of friends chattering, eager for the event about to start.
At 9:00 p.m., the lights on the stage dimmed, and the music stopped. A video on the large projector screen began to play. The short clip featured several students participating in a game of Dordt-themed Jeopardy! With a quippy question ending the video, juniors Sam Landstra and Hannah Vanderhooft were introduced as the lively hosts for Dordt University’s first ever “The Event.”
Dordt Student Activities planned The Event as a grand mashup of three major events traditionally held throughout the school year but cancelled due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. NCDC, a battle of the bands competition with Northwestern College, typically takes place toward the end of first semester. TX (Talent Extravaganza) is a talent show scheduled earlier in the first semester. Lastly, Airband is a dancing and lip syncing competition usually held in April. With eight performances involving dancing, singing, instrumentals, and altogether impressive talent, the campus received an exciting taste of the events they missed out on this year.
“I was really impressed by the variety of the acts and of them putting it all in one,” said Hannah Burgsma, a junior nursing major.
Anna Janssen, a freshman, began the show with her tap dancing act, followed by a Mamma Mia!-singing trio titled Lael and the Librarians. As the night continued, the audience heard from singer and live loop artist Nemo (Isaac Rohne), singers Kayla Vande Zande and Sam Brewster, live loop artist Noah Deist, and hip-hop dancer Melanie Justine (Melanie Saavedra). The event closed with a two-song performance by the six-person group Technical Difficulties, who won NCDC in 2019.
“The level of talent of the people performing was really impressive,” Burgsma said. “These are talents that people have worked really hard on for years, and it’s really cool that they can share with their peers in such a fun space.”
Between several acts, hosts Landstra and Vanderhooft organized games and videos, encouraging student participation. The winners of the two games received prizes including a JBL speaker and an Apple Watch. In both the games and the performances, the audience demonstrated enormous support and engagement.
“The crowd was really hyped and supportive, which was really cool,” Burgsma said.
Throughout the entire night, the two hosts successfully kept the audience entertained between acts and interacted with the contestants with questions post-performance.
“It was a great experience,” Vanderhooft said, “It was an honor to be a part of it and host it.”
At the end of the evening, when the audience vote had been counted, Landstra and Vanderhooft announced the winners of The Event. Melanie Saavedra took third place for her dancing, and Technical Difficulties was awarded second place. Issac Rohnes won first place for his live looping and versatile singing skills.
Although students were unable to experience all Dordt’s annual “Big 10” events, The Event gathered the campus to enjoy what will certainly be one of the most memorable nights of the year.
“It felt like Dordt again to have such a fun event,” Vanderhooft said.