By Katherine Simpson ’20 & Angelina Ingrassia ’18
Editor-in-chief & Managing Editor
One of the biggest events that Gordon College holds annually is Golden Goose. Planned, executed, and run by students of the school, Golden Goose is something all classes look forward to.
But there can’t be an event if there’s no one to coordinate and plan it. That’s where Gordon’s Campus Events Council (CEC) comes into play. Rachel Hicks, Director of CEC, laid out the definition of what Golden Goose.
She explained, “Golden Goose is a comedy/variety show, that showcases three nominated participants from each class. Its meant to be a fun show that encourages class pride, and tries to bring Gordon students together with a fun tradition.”
But what goes into choosing the participants (Geese)? Hicks also explained how the Geese are chosen each year. She stated, “First [there are] open nominations, and two facilitated rounds…. We basically have no control over who the geese are.”
“Every year there are several people who say no… We’re really up front with them about exactly what it’s going to look like, because it’s a lot of work.” She paused to say before continuing.
“Everything is on a very strict timeline, because we traditionally announce the Geese at Globes, and then they’ve got to get right into it.”
When asked about CEC’s role with Goose, Hicks stated, “CEC’s role is mainly to provide infrastructure, supervision, and support. We do what we can to help the Geese communicate with CTS, the dance instructors, etc.” And that’s just CEC’s directing team.
She then clarified, “Our CEC crew team fulfilled more stagehand roles, and were physically involved with a lot of the actual execution of the show.”
She, however, could not take credit for putting together the whole event. “The whole show is CEC’s event, however there are a lot of parts of this show that are sort of outsourced, especially when it comes to content.” She gave credit to the remaining teams that make Goose happen, such as the CTS student tech team and the Geese themselves.
The first of these student teams that help make Goose a reality are the student participants, also known as Geese.
After selected in two rounds of voting, and the Geese are announced at Gordon Globes, the Geese have essentially a month to write and produce their own comedy video, collaborate with the other Geese from their class to write a skit, and learn two full dance numbers.
Though the number of hours each Goose estimated that they spent on the event varied widely, depending on how much time they spent planning, shooting, and editing their video, the average estimate from six Geese was 48 hours.
The highest estimates came from winning Geese, Julianne McKay (‘19) and Alison Neuman (‘19), clocking in at 65 and 75 hours respectively.
As for their win, Neuman credited understanding between her and her roommate and fellow Goose, McKay. Of their third Goose, Luan Cadahia (‘19), Neuman said, “Luan and us differed on some of what we thought would be funny. Although this is also a strength of ours. You need different senses of humor to appeal to a wide audience.”
The camaraderie between all of the Geese was a common theme in their discussion of the events. Many of the Geese also cited dance rehearsals and bonding with their fellow Geese as their favorite part of the experience.
Neuman said, “We really took care of each other while we were going through this. The juniors and seniors had rehearsal on Thursday and Bailey [Diamondidis (‘20), a sophomore Goose] having just gone through the freshmen and sophomores rehearsal brought ALL of us drinks from Chester’s.”
“Arwen [Struthers (‘21), a freshman Goose] was my rock during dance rehearsals. We would just make comments to each other like ‘bruh I am not cut out for this’ and the other would nod enthusiastically and it just made it feel so much better,” she added.
Another common theme mentioned by the Geese was the difficulty of coordinating schedules, whether it be for rehearsals, video shoots, or skit rehearsal and planning.
McKay, who was home on Easter break and missed some of the dance rehearsals, described rehearsing new choreography in her living room from videos posted by choreographers, Johna Saltsman (‘18) and Christy Bradley (‘18).
McKay said, “My 12-year-old brother decided he wanted to be my dance coach, which just meant he would tell me when I was doing stuff wrong. One move he was a real stickler about was the beginning of Mambo No. 5, where we swing our arms from side to side and look super happy. Every time I did it, Zane, my brother, would yell at me to swing my arms farther and hold them at their longest point.”
“His determination paid off, though. During the show, at the beginning of Mambo No. 5, I literally heard his voice in my head saying ‘farther!’ and I think my perfect arms are definitely the reason we won.”
Another side of Gordon’s Golden Goose that isn’t always spotlighted is the work put in by the technical team. Maddie Hopkins, production manager and one of the senior techs, explained their role the team while getting Goose ready.
Hopkins said, “[Tech] collect all the info from the Geese on their various acts and then compile it… We also do a ton of set up and a week of build—when we program all the boards. Most of the dances are entirely automatic—lights, projection, sound all timed perfectly to go together. That takes HOURS”
“I have to know what we need … where we need it, and when to have my TD call it. I compile the tech needs into a script of sorts… [everything] has to be written down and made very clear.” She said of her position.
From a technical standpoint, Goose is one of the most complicated, draining, and time consuming event done on campus all year. Hopkins continued, “Goose is one of the biggest sacrifices CTS kids make every year. It’s a week of sleepless nights with no fur pillows in the chapel and desperately hoping you have enough brain power to not do something stupid or miss a part of the show or whatever.”
However exhausting the event may be, CTS students find it their time to shine. “Most of what we do at CTS Media Services is just offering basic A/V support, but this is our chance to pull out all the stops and bring out the fancy equipment and really stretch ourselves—and it’s one of the most unifying projects our team has all year.”
“We spend so much time together and are so dependent on each other during Goose week that the rest of the year is going to run like clockwork—we all know how to work as a team so much better after a job like Goose.”
However, all this planning between CEC, the Geese, and CTS would have been difficult if it wasn’t for Grace Shaw (‘19), the stage manager. She described her role as being the air traffic controller, “coordinating the massive onslaught of things that happen during the show.”
“My job is to be the ambassador. To speak CEC language, to speak CTS language” Shaw explained.“The stage manager’s job is to translate the creatives’ vision into something that is actually doable,” said Shaw.
Shaw’s Goose journey has been longer than the average involvement, as Geese and CEC staff turn over from year to year. She and former stage manager, Madeline Hopkins, began creating the previously nonexistent position of stage manager for the event last year.
Prior to the week of rehearsals, Shaw met with all of the Geese and hosts to help them execute their vision for the skit portion of the competition.
When asked for a memorable story about this year’s Goose rehearsals, Shaw mentioned the involvement of Scotty, Gordon’s mascot, in the sophomore’s skit. “One of the challenges with the Gordon mascot is that he refuses for his identity to be known even with the cast and crew…he’s only attending rehearsal in the mascot costume,” Shaw said.
“Backstage we have to find a place for him to change in solitude,” Shaw added.
Shaw is always looking forward to Goose, and already has plans to meet with next year’s CEC director (as soon as they are chosen) to begin planning for Golden Goose 2019.
With the successful conclusion of this year’s Golden Goose, Hicks and others mentioned hopes for the event.
Hicks charged students, saying, “I would like to see classes nominating a wider range of people as well. Although I loved all the geese this year, so often there are more males than females… And this year, there was only one person nominated who was a person of color. Just something to be more mindful of in the future I think, because when more people on campus are represented, I think it makes for a better show!