Reflections on Mountain Affair

Senior Sammie Brown performs in the 2017 Mountain Affair.   Photo by Reed Schick.

Senior Sammie Brown performs in the 2017 Mountain Affair. Photo by Reed Schick.

This year’s Mountain Affair, as highly anticipated as ever, consisted of eleven musical acts and one spoken word performance. The big winner of the night was Sam Miller who closed the show with his solo violin act where he dazzled the crowd with his incredible talent. Miller, with just his violin, looped his music and built upon it with layers in what turned out to be an unforgettable and exhilarating spectacle. He won both first place and the People’s Choice Award.

Covenant students Alec Burriss (‘18) and Allie Arick (‘19) hosted the event and provided interesting and witty commentary (all in good fun) on the night’s performances. They involved the audience by inviting them to post humorous statements and questions on Twitter which they read out loud between acts. At one point in the night, Burriss and Arick had William Bryan, a member of the Mountain Affair band Solace, come out on stage and sing a few tweets.

For Covenant seniors, the excitement and adrenaline rush of being onstage also carried a sense of bittersweetness as this was their last time to perform at Mountain Affair. Gracie Woodrow (‘18) sung with two groups during Mountain Affair this year—The Dawn Treading Pleasant Peasants and The Gradient. This was her third time participating in Mountain Affair and knowing this would be the last year for her was very sad, she said.

“One of the things I have been doing a lot of this year is savoring the lasts, and Mountain Affair was definitely a savor the last moment,” Woodrow said.

Another senior, Brittany Stout (‘18)—also with The Dawn Treading Pleasant Peasants—said that while she enjoyed the crowd and the other performances, overall it was a nostalgic night. Stout, who wrote and performed the song “Retrospect” with her band, said the piece was about contemplating her time at Covenant and life’s continual change.

“A lot of the song is about looking back at my time at Covenant, reflecting on experiences and relationships that I’ve had here… It’s a reflection but also a looking forward of what can we do in light of the fact that things change and that’s sad,” said Stout. Mountain Affair has not only given Stout wonderful memories, but also confidence in her own voice and musical talent.

The moment she realized her band made the cut and would be performing in Mountain Affair is one of the things that made the experience so endearing for Brittany. “My favorite memory from the whole process is definitely waking up the morning of the audition results the first time I tried out for Mountain Affair, because I was not expecting to get in,” Stout said.

In addition to talented seniors, this year’s Mountain Affair was also a time for newcomers to show off their skills. Freshman Hope Merrill was awarded Honorable Mention for her solo guitar and singing act in which she performed her original and poignantly heartbreaking song, “Last Promise.” Merrill wrote the song as a way to grieve the loss of a loved one.

“I really just wanted to help people dealing with loss in different ways,” she said. Merrill enjoyed the whole process of preparing for Mountain Affair.  She said the week of rehearsal in the chapel before the actual event was better than expected and not as stressful as she had anticipated.

“It was actually a lot of fun. You really can’t get homework done because there are so many amazing acts going on and you just want to watch them all. It’s a wonderful atmosphere to be around—other people that are passionate about music and they’re all encouraging each other.” By being a part of Mountain Affair, Merrill feels she has grown and changed. “I think it has helped me get more confidence.  I feel more confident after it and I feel I could keep pursuing my goal of becoming a singer.”

Every year, seniors mourn their last Mountain Affair performances while freshmen first experience the joys that it brings. From freshmen to seniors, Covenant students gain lifelong memories from Mountain Affair.