Isabel Pheifer — Staff writer
A sea of faces illuminated by the various shades of pink, yellow, green, and orange looked toward the stage of the B.J. Haan Auditorium on Saturday, April 21. The crowd’s eyes danced and smiles widened in anticipation of the event about to begin — TX.
Students in the crowd fell silent as a “Parks and Recreation” themed video created by junior Drew DeVries lit up the front of the B.J. Haan. The two hosts for the night, sophomore Carter King and senior Jonathan “JC” Carter, were featured running from place to place around campus and Sioux Center and doing recreational activities. Students laughed with high-pitched excitement and shouted as friends made appearances throughout.
Fully embracing the name of the event, The Talent Extravaganza, many Dordt students embraced the spotlight and shared their talents with their peers. The event featured nine acts: four singing numbers, three dancing performances, a juggling act, and a magician.
“I think TX gives an opportunity for some different talents to be displayed. In the past, we’ve had everything from juggling groups and flamethrowers to stand-up comedians,” Derek Buteyn, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life, said.
Dispersed between the acts was a series of games. Six willing participants sprinted to the stage for the first game in order to compete for a prize provided by Dordt Student Activities (DSA). The participants were tasked with unrolling a roll of toilet paper around their body as fast as they could by spinning it around themselves.
The top four contestants were allowed to move on to the next game, which would feature yet another odd task: balancing a ping pong ball in the air with a hair dryer and crawling through a hula hoop. Only two made it through this round. The last task was a form of ring toss, launching hula hoops in the air with the intention of making it around a person and scoring points. After a round of overtime, senior Grace Nanninga walked off the stage as the new owner of a JBL speaker.
“Being on DSA and facilitating these events is really fun because I get to see people from all different walks of life come together to create something really special for a lot of people,” DSA student coordinator Allie Bandstra said.
The hosts also got in on the entertainment, providing commentary and asking thought-provoking questions during the post-performance interviews. Not only did their words fill the air with laughter, but they also had their own type of performance through outfit changes. King, acting as a true fashion connoisseur, changed outfits after every act.
Carter joined in on the fun as well and changed multiple times, as well as added more glow sticks to his hair almost every time he took the stage.
At the end of the night, the students were able to put their opinions to use and vote for the act they believed most deserving of walking away as the 2023 TX champions. King and Carter invited all the participants back on stage and delivered the results. In third place was the dancing duo of Siena Rose and Yovincia Ng, calling themselves “Serpentine, tsss.” Taking home the runner-up bragging rights was Philip Shippy’s “Stranger than Fiction” card trick magic act. And walking away $500 richer was the Flatland Hillbillies, featuring the duo of Luke Veldhuizen on the guitar, harmonica, and voice, and Seth Wagner on the banjo. The crowd went wild as the two men in colorful flannels and baggy jeans claimed their prize with looks of pure shock and joy.
“Any of the big events provide a really communal experience, and this one is no different,” said Buteyn. “There’s just so much energy, and people get really excited. I love the celebration of community that it brings to campus.”
Photo credit: Isabel Pheifer