Last Friday night, Mountain Affair was filled with toe-tapping tunes, impressive confetti cannons, and terrible torrential downpours. The night was kicked off with hundreds of students and previewers congregating outside the Chapel in preparation for one of Covenant’s most treasured traditions. As stated by Henry Overos, “Mountain affair is my favorite event at Covenant because it reveals the talent that is on the campus.”
As the line began to grow, the sky turned an eerie gray. Dedicated students pulled up their hoods and put up their umbrellas to wait out the storm that followed. When the doors finally opened, the Chapel was filled with excited students and diverse sounds ranging from the smooth classical guitar of Aaron Ramsey to the hard rock of Avondale to the People’s Choice winner Glacier Chaser. The other top awards were given to Dirty Blonde, coming in third, The Janes, taking second, and Lume, claiming first prize.
One of the most diverse sounds came from Seaux Chill and Special Kay, a duo made up of Nabil Ince and Kaylin Stewart, who impressed the crowd with their gospel-flavored rap. Emma Caines also added to the diversity of this year’s Mountain Affair by performing the only dance act. Chapman Whitted brought a singer-songwriter vibe to the stage with his coffee house ballad. Previous winner David Kang gave a stunning performance accompanied by some sound trouble that was plagued the entire evening. Audience members became well acquainted with Kang as he gave a second intense performance due to these malfunctions. Unfortunately, technical difficulties were present throughout much of the show, including in the winning group’s initial and final performances, when microphones and spotlights refused to go on. Henry Overos also made some remarks on the sound issues saying, “Honestly, there were some sound failures, but that didn’t detract from the performances.” As the saying goes, “the show must go on,” so despite the troubles, chills swept through the audience as performer after performer wowed the crowd.
Although there is much to be said regarding the talent, Mountain Affair simply would not have happened without out the efforts of Covenant Alums Esther Ellis and Paul Smallman, the show’s directors. In addition, the comic stylings of Adrienne Siegenthaler and Jamison Shimmel left the crowd rolling in their seats, starting off with a bang, confetti cannon included, and finishing with a hilarious reenactment of the whole affair. Their presentation of falsified faculty auditions left students of Covenant dreaming of a rap battle between Chaplain Lowe and President Halvorson—maybe next year.
This year’s judges included Dr. Finch, the associate professor of music here at Covenant, Nikki Ellis from New City Fellowship, and Stephen Nichols, owner of local recording studio As Ezylum.
Glacier Chaser was a clear crowd favorite, evidenced by their winning the People’s Choice Award. Their foot-stomping folksy sound was enhanced by each uniquely talented instrumentalist including a bit of banjo percussion. Dirty Blonde, the third place winners, produced an indie song that had sophomore Stephen Bankson asking if he could have a copy of the song. Their incredible stage presence, interesting layout, jazz guitar influence, and stellar songwriting had the crowd falling in love. Lead singer Chad Caroland stated that “mountain affair helped [him] realize how much of a communal thing music is,” which was well displayed by his friendly high five with vocalist Amelia Hammon mid-performance. Freshman girl trio The Janes proved that talent runs in the family as all three girls are the younger siblings of previous Mountain Affair contestants, and made their mark by placing second in this year’s Mountain Affair. Their beautiful harmonies and spot-on vibrato impressed the judges and the crowd.
Lume, the winning band, made up of three previous second place winners, gave a hauntingly beautiful performance. Meaningful movements and intentional expressions paralleled their melancholy tone. Band member Kara Franklin remarked, “Throughout the week we took it really seriously to present a performance that mirrored the theme of the song. We wanted the whole thing to be a piece of art that we were presenting to the audience.” The finale was the perfect way to end such a magical night. The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” took on a Covenant flare, as the many contenders provided their vocal and instrumental talents to create a song to be remembered.