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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Thursday, May 30, 2024
The Echo
Caleb Howard's MyGen performance.jpg

Students celebrate 21 years of MyGen concerts

Performers throw MyGen a birthday party

On Oct. 29, students and faculty alike gathered together to celebrate MyGen’s 21st birthday party.

Thanks to those in charge of decorations on the Student Activities Council (SAC), Rediger auditorium was decked out with balloons, streamers and piñatas, all culminating in an explosion of fun and color.

Multi-colored lights illuminated the hazy stage as audience members chatted amongst themselves, waiting for the event to begin.

As soon as the lights dimmed, the crowd began to cheer, anticipating the performances to come.

Sophomores Matthew Penley and Alex Duell, the two hosts for the evening, stepped onto the stage and were immediately greeted with applause. They proceeded to entertain the audience with a story of Penley forgetting Duell’s birthday.

As the night carried on, Penley included the crowd in his plans to make up for forgetting his friend’s birthday. Towards the end, Penley cued them to shout, “Happy Birthday!” to Duell, giving him the surprise party he wanted from the beginning.

SAC President senior Sirlene (Sisi) Gonzalez explained that the theme is one that everyone on the cabinet gets a hand in deciding. The birthday party theme was popular among cabinet members, and the icing on the cake was that two of the cabinet members had birthdays that weekend. So, the decision was made.

“There can be more of a broader, creative space for that,” Gonzalez said. “Who doesn't love a good birthday party?”

Performances of the night included WALK THE MOON’s “Shut Up and Dance,” Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” and Lana Del Ray’s “Young and Beautiful,” among many others. All performances were met with extensive applause and cheers.

The audience seamlessly matched the performers’ energy, jumping to their feet for the upbeat songs and swaying along to the ballads.

Freshman Caleb Howard felt that the crowd’s energy helped him to be more energetic and allowed him to sing more freely.

Howard sang “I Need Never Get Old” by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats with his group called Perfect Strangers. He explained that the group got together for this performance without knowing each other beforehand.

“So, our group name was Perfect Strangers, and that was literally the perfect fit because we had no idea who each other were first walking in,” Howard said.

He said that by the end of it, they had gone from being strangers to friends.

Sophomore Kirsten Stinson had dreamed of sharing her favorite song with a Taylor audience, and she got her wish that night. Stinson performed “Blue-eyed Girl” by The Arcadian Wild as a solo act, backlit by the blue glow of the stage lights.

“It was a desire in my heart, and I am so grateful that God allowed me to be able to do it,” Stinson said.

Stinson is a part of Chorale, but noted how different it is performing for an event like MyGen versus singing in a chorale concert. She said that for MyGen the crowd is more interactive and she enjoyed how encouraging people were in cheering for her.

Gonzalez couldn’t stress enough how thankful she was for her cabinet and how hard they worked to make the night possible.

“I'm just super blessed to have a team that has the same mindset as mine and the same mission of just putting great events on for students and doing it not for our own glory, but for the Lord's glory,” Gonzalez said.

Familiar favorites blasted through the speakers, performers gave their all and the audience sang along, leaving everyone with a night to remember. Once the final note was played, another MyGen was in the books.