By Bria Isaacson
What started as a round of confusing posters showing various combinations of sophomores Chandler Vance, Bryce Shockley and Alli Acuff as the hosts for this year’s Fall Variety Show was quickly cleared up as the audience realized that all three were hosting.
Saturday night was full of performers who practiced many hours in preparation for the show.
Sophomore Brooke Butterworth, who sang an original song called “Asbury Song 2,” practiced her material for three hours before performing. Prior to this, she had done little prep work other than writing her material. And this she did just fifteen minutes before her audition. “[Coming up with material] just kind of happens,” she said. “I thought of everything Asbury University students can relate to and changed the words of songs they would know. It’s what I do in my free time every day anyway.”
Butterworth did not struggle too much with this since she performed a similar song, “Asbury Song 1,” last year.
Compare this, however, to the few acts that had a year or more preparation for this show. ABE, Asbury Bluegrass Experiment, is one such act. This group, comprised of sophomores Andrew King, Landers Pannell, Levi Simonton, Tanner Record and one student from the University of Kentucky, began last year. They performed a few times in their beginning stages, including having an act in the freshman talent show.
Despite the amount of practice and preparation time the week before Fall Variety Show, King said that he was still nervous before going onstage. “Once we went on, it was a lot of fun,” he said. “The crowd was really energized, and they were on our side. That made it more fun to play.”
Fifth-year senior Asher Allison, who participated in both a stand-up comedy act and in playing the Super Mario Bros. theme song, agreed with this. “The crowd feeds off of the performers feeling nervous,” Allison said. “This is why I was afraid of stand-up comedy. I always laugh at my own jokes, but sometimes they’re lame.”
In his performance, Allison shared how doing a comedy act was a childhood dream of his. Despite this, his comedy act in the Fall Variety Show was his debut, as nerves had stopped him from performing in prior years. “There are a lot of people here who encouraged and inspired me enough to finally make me do it.” Even so, he said, “I was so nervous that I wrote down to say my name.”
Although Allison had been preparing all throughout college by keeping a notebook of amusing observations, he prepared for this specific set and wrote an outline only three hours before the start of the show. In addition, he said that he and senior Tyler Wilson, who played guitar in the Super Mario Bros. theme song performance, mastered the song about two hours before the show began. And they told Princess Peach, played by senior Nolan Hodge, to “come onstage whenever you feel like it,” according to Allison.
Although performing in the Fall Variety Show or any other kind of talent show seems difficult from the outside, the performers encourage people that it is not as bad as it seems. “So many people are overcome by nerves, but they have such a passion that they could succeed. They should just get up and do it,” Allison said.
Butterworth agreed that performing onstage is not necessarily about talent. “It’s about entertaining the audience, knowing who they are and what they want to see,” she said. Her favorite act then was the Super Mario Bros. theme song.
Other favorite acts included Jake Theriault’s cover of “Billie Jean,” Two Chicks & a Texan’s cover of “Barton Hollow,” and the traditional Spanish dance performed by the Sevillanas. Although some groups may have prepared more than others, Fall Variety Show was a success in every way and the audience thoroughly enjoyed seeing the performers overcome their nerves.