By Alexa Goins, Contributing Writer

Hughes auditorium was filled with an energy that could only be described as effervescent as the Vindicated class put on their Freshman Talent Show on Valentine’s Day. Class sponsors Alex McIntosh and Jared Gerhardstein took the crowd on their journey to finding a class name and set the theme of the night, Vindicated Class: An Origin Story, with the help of adventure-themed props such as backpacks and various references to their shared major, Adventure Leadership.

The energy was palpable as the show began with Joshua Magee, whose act was reminiscent of last year’s cat impression by Judah Robinson. A faux-nervous Magee informed the crowd that he would teach us how to conquer the fear of stage fright, before dramatically running off stage.

Following Magee, a variety of songs were performed. Among them, an acapella version of Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” by Melina Martinez and Chelsei Fullerton, as well as a Coldplay cover by Thomas Henry.

Perhaps the biggest laugh of the night occurred when Brendan Moore wrote an impromptu song for audience member, Isaac Moore. Other songs included a cover of Taylor Swift’s “Enchanted” and Chris Kuhne’s version of “Be Thou My Vision.”

A crowd favorite of the night was Lydia Underwood and Joseph Kang’s covers of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up And Dance,” which were shortly followed by an impressive, August Rush-style guitar solo by Kang.

McIntosh was nothing short of proud. “I just loved having everybody come together and it was fun to hang out with them during the auditions and rehearsals and get to see them share their talents,” she said.

The night took a somber turn when Elise Shin performed a stunning piano ballad that she wrote for her lacrosse team. The song was inspired by hardships and team members’ familial tragedies. The musical talent in the Vindicated class was evident the entire night, but especially during Lisa Humason’s blindfolded piano playing act, and Shelby Burnett and Katie Rutledge’s mandolin-led cover of “A Thousand Miles.”

McIntosh and Gerhardstein’s skits were seamlessly woven throughout the show, one of which included Gerhardstein wearing a green 90’s dress while singing a highly off-key version of “I Will Always Love You.” Other skits included senior Elijah Friedeman playing the hilarious role of a chaperone on the journey to finding the class name.

Though the acts were varied and each freshman brought something unique to the stage, there was one common element in every performance: the sparkling enthusiasm that seems to accompany freshman year. Maybe this year’s talent show served as a reminder to all to hold onto this enthusiasm, to continue approaching the world with the same effervescence we had as freshmen.

“Everybody says that freshman year goes by and doesn’t come back again. [We’re] doing something that will really mean something to us in the future,” Vindicated class member Young Kim said. It was evident that the talent show brought the Vindicated class closer together as they closed out the night with their class hymn. Ellis Bryson said, “[My favorite part was] definitely getting to see what everyone could do, just getting to see all their talent and all the time they put into their art and just seeing how diverse of a range we have.”