Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin’s Got Talent lives up to its name, awards comedy and music performances
Dance group “Good Intent” showcases their skills. Photo by Kevin Vu. A video of the performance is on Facebook.

This year’s Calvin’s Got Talent hit it off with a winning stand-up comedy performance by Michael Ribbens. People’s Choice went to a capella group The Hand-Me-Down Harmonix, who performed a cover of the hit “Thrift Shop.”  From start to finish, the show proved that Calvin has some serious talent to offer.

The crowd rallied around Ribbens both during and long after his act, with over half the crowd offering a standing ovation when he received his award.  After the show ended, a group of 15 or so guys ran onto the stage and buried him in a tackle hug.

“I have not seen anyone so comfortable and funny up on stage that is not a professional,” said senior Emily Rhude.

Junior Lauren Cremean agreed. “It felt like he was on tour.” She then added, “Can I propose a Cave Cafe for comedians?”

As he received his prize, Ribbens was flattered by all the enthusiasm.

“It was a really fun experience,” he said. “I’m just thankful for such great friends who gave me crazy support.  I’m happy, surprised … and just happy.”

The audience also rallied around The Hand-Me-Down Harmonix, whose vocal cover was described as movie-caliber.

“If Calvin made Pitch Perfect,” said judge Jonathan Chong in his critique, “you guys would be it.”

Judge Molly agreed: “You did a really good job of taking a popular song and making it your own … you guys will have swag for days.”

Participant Shane Brandsen spoke for the whole group when he said, “We just came to have fun.  It was about singing a fun song, doing it well, and getting people excited, and we did that.”

Through the entire show, the crowd screamed and cheered for act after act.  From cello covers of Metallica songs to original compositions to junior Gerrit van Klaveren’s haunting impression of Smeagol, the performances kept the crowd entertained.

The judges applauded the “brave souls” who debuted original songs at the competition.

“It’s always a bit scary to perform an original song, but I think the crowd was digging it,” said senior Audrey Rink, female vocalist for the group Troy and the [insert name here].

“I had so much fun performing with everyone,” said contestant Sean Mattson, who performed his original song “Something New.” “I enjoy seeing how much work and love students put into their acts each year.  I’ve been looking for more ways to share and perform my original music so I was really happy when I got the chance to play for such a great crowd.”

As junior Nathan Phillips put it, “CGT once again showcased the fact that Calvin possesses creativity, ingenuity and vibrancy in addition to incredible talent, making for a riveting two-and-a-half hours of awe-inspiring fun.”

One of the aspects both judges and students appreciated was the level of imagination so many of the acts possessed.  Groups such as “SuigaTrav and the Magic Unicorns” took known covers and added a layer of hilarity and personal flavor that kept the performance fresh and memorable.

“Unicorns made me laugh and clap right along with them,” said Rhude.

Such creativity is necessary for musicians in the musically-dominated show to stand out.

“It’s so hard to compare all musical acts because they appeal to so many audiences,” said Cremean. “They need a second and third place because there were so many good acts that need to be recognized.”

Mattson was impressed with the backstage camaraderie, as well: “Everyone was very encouraging to one another and spirits were high at all times.”

The only real critique students had of this year’s show manifested itself in the performance of the judges.

“They didn’t really have much constructive criticism,” said junior Lauren Hubers.

Cremean added, “The judges didn’t seem completely prepared to make insightful comments.”

As a whole, though, this year’s show was a smashing success, fully supported by the student body from the out-the-door lines at 7:20 through the nearly full house and standing applause at the show’s close.

“CGT needs to stick around,” said Cremean, “because it’s a place for people to showcase abilities they might not otherwise.”

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