This year’s freshmen class took a different spin on the annual Freshmen Talent Night. As the name suggests, the freshmen class is to put on a talent show for all of the seminarians, chaplains, and those of the monastic community who wish to attend.
In an early planning meeting the Freshmen decided to put on an award show called “The SEMYS.” It was supposed to be likened to the Oscars, the EMMYS, or most of all, ESPN’s “ESPY Awards,” except that we would be honoring ‘greatness’ among the seminarians and faculty. Therefore, the format and structure of Freshmen Talent Night had the familiar look and feel of an award show: presenters, nominee videos, award recipients, acceptance speeches, musical interludes, several musical performances and plenty of entertainment.
The Freshmen class met numerous times in preparation for the event, brainstorming and assigning roles. We ended up creating 7 categories:
- Newcomer of the Year
- Best Laugh
- Smoothest Sneak in to Morning Prayer
- Best Greeting
- Most Likely to go Monastic
- Best Hairdresser
- Best Vocal Performance
The intention was to make the show humorous and honor students and faculty of the seminary. Other seminarians (non-Freshmen) were willing to participate and be a part of the nominee videos which were played before the SEMY was given for each category.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening thoroughly. Yes- it was a required event for the seminarians, but we wanted to make it entertaining enough that they really would enjoy being present and find it as a pleasant way to spend their Friday evening, especially with final examinations right around the corner.
After two rehearsals the night before the show and the day of the show, the final live performance went as smoothly as one could have hoped. The seminarian Emcees looked comfortable and confident during their opening dialogue, delivering jokes well and getting the audience engaged. The Freshmen band, aka “Forgive Us We’re Freshmen” put a significant amount of time practicing in order to make the music sound excellent. And, of course, there was plenty of video filming and editing in the two weeks before the performance, but it was all complete with plenty of time to spare.
The most important aspect of the show, and the reason why the Freshmen class is asked to put on a talent night, is to build community and fraternity among the seminarians. It was powerful to witness this dynamic unfold firsthand. The class got excited about their ideas, show them materialize, worked together, and were very pleased with the result.
There are twenty-five Freshmen, many talented men who give hope for the future of the Church. They are musically gifted, witty, but most importantly, they are able to convey the sense of joy that comes from a profound relationship with Christ and zeal to share the Gospel message.