First-Year Showcase

Last Sunday, 16 first-year students performed in Oberlin’s annual First-Year Variety Showcase hosted by the Obertones at Finney Chapel. The night’s performances ranged from musical acts, including singer-songwriters and improvised soundscapes to taekwondo and magic tricks. The Obertones also performed three pieces over the course of the night.

College first-year Max Lang performed two original pieces at the showcase. Despite only having performed their original music once before, they decided to sign up for the showcase after being encouraged by some friends. Lang mentioned that the energy in the crowd helped them get over some of their initial stage fright.

“The crowd in there was so supportive of every single person that went up, and it was just a really, really good feeling,” Lang said. “I was honestly worried. I’ve heard so many things about upperclassmen being scary to the [first-years], so honestly how good the crowd was was great.”

According to College fourth-years Nihal Kodavarti and Elliot Davey, event organizers and co-presidents of the Obertones, nearly 300 students came to Finney for the show.

“It was really nice to see people were really hyping each other up — not just the performers, but the audience was all really excited,” Kodavarti said. “It was also nice because it wasn’t just first-years in the audience; the show is open to everyone.”

College first-year Jo O’Leary attended the showcase and mentioned how much they enjoyed seeing the amount of talent within their class.

“I was deeply impressed by everybody who performed,” O’Leary said. “Everybody was really amazing, but also everybody was really human. People made mistakes up there like everybody does, and that made me think, ‘Maybe I could do something in the future if I feel so inclined.’”

Kodavarti and Davey said that the purpose of the event was to help build a stronger community among first-year students.

“It’s a nice way for people who are new to the school to make themselves known and also get to know their classmates,” Davey said.

Davey also mentioned that during sound check, first-year performers were able to start creating a community with one another. “It’s really nice to watch the change in energy from when these

16 nervous first-years walk into Finney Chapel and sort of begin talking to each other, and then by the end of it they’re all so excited,” Davey said.

Lang agreed that the showcase was important in fostering connections between new Oberlin students.

“Another reason, I guess, is to introduce [the first-years] not only to other [first-years] but to other students as well and to just kind of make connections across the campus community,” Lang said. “I’ve definitely made a lot of connections with other students after performing, and I think that was a really great part of the experience.”

Davey echoed the sentiment, adding that the supportive feeling at the showcase was something that is a hallmark of the Oberlin community as a whole.

“It’s just really nice to see how supportive the Oberlin community is of each other and of the people who are new to our community,” Davey said. “One of the reasons that I came to Oberlin in the first place was how welcoming the student body is, so seeing that that welcoming spirit is still really alive and well is one of my favorite things about this show.”