Nykerk Is Here!

Hello Readers! I hope your week is going well so far and you aren’t too busy. Any weekend plans? No? Well let me tell you about an event this weekend that you won’t want to miss: Nykerk!

What is Nykerk, you ask? Good question. Nykerk is an amazing performance put on by the freshmen and sophomores (odd year and even year) in a competition which includes song, play and oration. This year it will take place on the 31st of October (yes, that’s Halloween) at 7 p.m. in DeVos Fieldhouse. I am on the executive board for Nykerk as the junior treasurer and am so excited for this event to take place so that you all can be a witness to what the exec board and the participants have been working so hard to put on for you!

If you’re interested in what the song part of Nykerk looks like (which I was a part of last year) you can check it out here. It was so satisfying to perform it in front of a crowd and do it well. If you make it out on Saturday, you can expect some cool hand motions and some awesome play moves.

Tuesday night, as a part of Nykerk, everyone involved in Nykerk got to go to Nykerk Candlelight, which is a way to form camaraderie between Even and Odd year before the big show on Saturday. The tradition is that all participants of Nykerk go to the President’s house to sing the Alma Mater to him with candles made for them by their secret sisters. Secret sisters are sophomores girls that have been moraling a freshman girl for the three weeks leading up to Nykerk. Tuesday was when everyone found out who’s secret sister was who.

Nykerk Candlelight
This is just a glimpse of what candlelight looked like from the front porch of Kelly Knapp!

Again, Nykerk is this Saturday, October 31st and you can buy tickets at the ticket office, online, or call there to reserve them! Tickets are $7. I hope you all can make it out on Saturday! Can’t wait to see you there!

Until next time readers!

Nykerk from a New Morale Guy’s Perspective

A Nykerk play of the past.
A Nykerk play of the past.

The Nykerk Cup.

Song, play, oration.

As guys, we morale the girls, who perform. I’m a play moraler. Play moralers build the set, buy the girls flowers and candy, and do funny skits to keep them happy after rehearsal. Does it sound awesome?

Nykerk proved its awesomeness at the rally on Monday.

All the odd and even year moralers choreographed a dance, and speaking as someone who does not dance, I can say without a doubt that we did a great job. I danced across the stage by myself in one section of the song, which was probably a brilliant idea. I knew exactly what I was doing one-hundred percent of the time. So did everyone else. We are total experts.

The girls laughed, too. That was nice.

Goofy stuff is good, and Nykerk morale is super goofy, so obviously it’s awesome. Plus, you get to help girls create something really cool, and according to the coaches, they fall in love with you afterwards.

This won’t be a waste of time.

Four Weeks in 18 Pictures

I feel like so much has happened over the last four weeks that the only way I can properly display it is through pictures.
So, enjoy my last four weeks at Hope in 18 pictures!

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I hope you enjoyed the pictures and have a lovely week!
If you happen to want to see even more pictures you can look at my Instagram and Twitter

Nykerk Withdrawals

Oh No! Not another blog about Nykerk…well I can’t help it. It is been a part of my life for the last two years, and now it is done. I must write about it to commend the memories and people that have inspired me along the Nykerk Way.

If you are reading this and you are thinking, “What on earth is Nykerk?!?!,” then read this blog from my fellow blogger, Brooke Wharton ’18. She sums it up superbly!

This is picture of the ODD year play girls (’17) preforming their play on Nykerk Day.

So Nykerk from my perspective: a playboy….”WHAT!?!? A playboy.” Don’t fret. Not what you’re thinking. As Brooke mentioned, there are three different types of events that go on at Nykerk: song, oration, and PLAY.




Sarah Jane
This is picture of Reveal Night, when my code name was announced and my playgirl, Sarah Jane, discovered who I was!

As a playboy, it is my job to morale for the play girls (and thus, that is why I am called a playboy.) As a playboy, first, it is my job to flower one specific girl with gifts, emails, encouragement, and support as her life becomes consumed with the busy joy that we call Nykerk. Oh! And I forgot to mention, she has no idea who I am. 🙂 Secondly, with my fellow playboys,  we build the set for the show which we work on every evening. We then are the set crew on the actual performance day. Lastly, we create skits every night for the girls. We perform them after their practice in hopes to make them laugh. All in all, Nykerk is a huge time commitment. At LEAST 2 hours every night, but usually much more. So yes…It is a HUGE commitment, but so so so so so so (get my point?) so worth it.

“Why is it so worth it?” you might ask. WELL, it is fun. I had a blast building a set for the show as well as creating as preforming skits every day. It is fun because I got to support my playgirl from afar while knowing she had no idea who I was. But do you want to know the deep root behind the fun? The people. I am so fortunate to have done play this year and gotten to build these amazing relationships with my Nykerk Play Family. That’s right…FAMILY. We have all grown close over the last three weeks and I am honored to call each and everyone of them my friends. They all hold a special place in my heart.

So this brings me back to the title of the post: “Nykerk Withdrawals.” As of Monday this week, my Nykerk season officially ended. It ended with some tears, laughs, and many hugs. Due to me not being either an underclassmen next year, my time with Nykerk has reached its end. It is now a part of my past and I am going to miss it, as I do now…but I can walk away proudly and look back on each and every play member and say, without hesitation, “I had the time of my life, and I own it all to you…”

For more about me, follow me on twitter @hopejohnluke17 or on Instagram at johnlukehawkins. Until next time!

The ‘Kerk is Over

Well, Nykerk is over as fast as it came. These past three weeks have been nothing but fun, and on Saturday, it was the culmination of a lot of great talent.

As most of you know, Nykerk had a change of venue this year. DeVos is now the new home of the Nykerk tradition, and as expected, there were some huge changes, but also a lot more places to sit!


As you can see, instead of the normal set up at the Civic Center where Odd Year song is facing Even year song in the bleachers, DeVos offered a stage that allowed everyone to see every event. Essentially, there were no bad seats in DeVos. The executive board did an awesome job with making the transition from the Civic Center to DeVos seamless and comfortable for everyone.

On to the events!

The first event that was performed was the Freshmen Song. They sang one song: Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten. You can watch that here!

They did a great job and got this Hope tradition off to a wonderful start.

Next, was the Sophomore orator. Oration is the art of writing a speech and performing it. It’s hard enough memorizing a speech, but performing it in front of hundreds of people is a whole different feat. Sophomore Maddie Chapman did a great job incorporating the theme of the year, laughter, into her speech and her grace and poise shined through while she was reciting her piece.

After oration was the Freshmen play. This year’s plays were hard to maneuver because there essentially was no backstage, only scene changes. Both freshmen and sophomore play did awesome with that transition. The freshmen play loosely followed the plot of The Wizard of Oz with their own Even Year twist. The floating head of President Knapp as the great and powerful Oz was a nice touch, and overall their play was hilarious!

After intermission was the sophomore song. As per sophomore tradition, the song they performed was a medley. This year the medley was of 80’s songs, and it lasted about nine minutes. It was a great way to showcase the class of 2017’s last year of Nykerk. Check it out!

Next up was the freshmen orator, Cassidy Bernhardt. Cassidy, like Maddie, wrote and spoke about the subject of laughter. Her speech talked about laughter as a garden. Her motions perfectly matched her words, and she conveyed a great story. Even though Cassidy’s speech was later in the program, it kept my attention and made me think about how laughter is applied to my life.

The last event of the night was the sophomore play. Their play was about a European Princess who wants to go to college in the United States and finds Hope College!…but not before she goes to the Imperial Ball with the President of the United States in attendance! There were a lot of funny scenes in their play and it was a great ending to the Nykerk tradition!

After all these fun events, the Even Year freshmen took the Nykerk Cup! Everyone did a great job, and even though this was my first year participating in Nykerk, it was the best experience I could ask for! I would recommend that every freshman and sophomore at Hope get involved in Nykerk because it is a wonderful experience.

Until next time, readers! Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Nykerk in Under 400 Words

For those of you wondering…what even is Nykerk? This is Nykerk (from a song-girl’s perspective) in less than 400 words.

Words that collectively make me think Nykerk as a big picture are song, play, oration, women, family, morale, and coaches. Basically it’s a big competition between the sophomore and freshmen women who are coached by the seniors and the juniors, respectively, in song, play, and oration. A huge part of Nykerk is the morale, the boys who keep the ladies excited and encouraged throughout the month of intense practices.

So what? I know you want me to tell you more. Nykerk is…

1. Tradition. Nykerk is tradition and you don’t question it. If your song coach tells you to punch your fists in the air, wear (what us song-girls have appropriately termed) a nun-fit, smile for the entirety of the three-hour show, you do it. Ask why and the best answer you’ll get is *shrug* “Tradition.”

My roommate, Michelle, and I posing in our "nun-fits".
My roommate, Michelle, and I posing in our “nun-fits”.

2. Being encouraged. Throughout the Nykerk season all of the song-girls, play-girls, and the orator are moraled by the “morale-boys”. I had a song-boy who was so awesome and sweet! They go by a codename until the night before Nykerk when they reveal themselves to you! I also had an odd-year sister, who was so odd-mazing as well!

3. Friends, wait, family. Since you spend two to three hours a month with the same people everyday, except for Sunday, you get to know them pretty well. It’s a great way to meet people outside of your hall, too! I love seeing the two girls I sat in-between during the performance : ) It brightens my day.

4. Fun. When all is said, sang, and done, Nykerk is really a great time. I can’t imagine having not done Nykerk this year. It brought me closer to the girls in my cluster as well as a lot of new people! The laughs we shared throughout practices are unforgettable, and there’s no place I’d rather be (Na na na na na, no place I’d rather be!).

"Don't tell me music can't make a difference."

There it is: Nykerk in under 400 words. You might still be a little confused, and so be it, because this tradition is something you have to experience to understand.

If you have any questions for me you can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

The ‘Kerk is here!

November is just a few days away, and what’s a better way to ring in the new month than with another one of Hope’s age old traditions? That’s right folks, you guessed it! Nykerk is this coming Saturday, November 1st!! And this year is a very special year, because it is also the traditions 80th year! 80 years of Nykerk! Wowza!

If you aren’t familiar with what Nykerk is, let me tell you, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen. You’ve seen choirs, sure. You’ve even seen comical plays and people giving speeches. But you’ve never seen anything like Nykerk. The combination of catchy songs, and group choreography with props is so good, it’s sure to give you chills when you watch the Song Girls preform. And you’ll be sure to gain some abdominal muscles when watching the Play Girls do their thing as well. Their plays are always packed with Hope humor and big actions and story lines. So entertaining! But when you hear Oration, forget everything you ever knew about public speaking, because these girls truly redefine the act by bringing so much emotion to the audience, that the entire room is silent.

If you’re still curious about what Nykerk is all about, here’s a little taste of what the Odd Year ’17 Song Girls preformed last year.

Crazy, right?!

How did they learn all those moves and all those melodies while managing to keep smiles on their faces and making it look effortless?! Truly, so much work goes into Nykerk and it does NOT go unnoticed because every year the performances are amazing.

Last year, I didn’t participate in Nykerk and, because of my participation this year, I have no idea why I didn’t. It is such a great way to meet girls that are excited about singing and being part of something so much bigger than yourselves. It brought back my love of music that I lost after high school choir and I’ve made so many more friends through this wonderful experience.

This is just a taste of what this weekend will hold for you, should you choose to go to Nykerk. I really encourage everyone to go, because it’s such a wonderfully unique tradition, but if you can’t make it out, don’t worry! In next week’s blog, I’ll have all the details of the entire competition.

Until next time, readers!


With October comes changing leaves, apple cider, pumpkin spice everything, and another wonderful Hope Tradition: Nykerk!

Nykerk, like the Pull, is a competition between the even and odd year classes. Hope women compete in one of three categories for their year (Oration, Play, or Song) with the goal of winning the Nykerk cup! Nykerk was started in 1935 by Dr. John Nykerk felt a need for a competition at Hope for women. To read more in depth description of Nykerk and its history you can look here.

I am part of 18 Song and am so excited for the next three weeks! A few other girls on my floor are doing Song as well, so I am looking forward to this being an opportunity to grow closer with them and to meet a lot of other great people. 🙂

To quench what I am sure is an overwhelming curiosity for what Song even is, enjoy the class of 2016’s Sophomore year song!

I hope you have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend!
PS: you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for even more little insights on life as a Hope student!

Nykerk Odd Year Coach Pictures

A few weeks ago, all of us Odd Year coaches had a mini-reunion for some laughs and pictures. The following are what came out of our time together. Taking coach pictures is an Odd Year tradition, and I was so happy to continue it with the wonderful Song and Play coaches. Shout out to the very talented Brooke for taking our pictures!

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Hope you enjoyed them! Happy Friday!


The Class of 2017 wins Nykerk!

As many of you know, the annual Hope tradition Nykerk occurred last weekend. I know that my words could never completely describe Nykerk, so take a look at some pictures, all of which, and more, can be found on Hope’s website!

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Winning was awesome, but I was more proud of how everyone performed. Both songs were BEYOND AMAZING (If you don’t believe me, check out the sophomore song here and the freshman song here) and the plays were hilarious, as always. Rosemary, the sophomore orator, also did a fabulous job.

I was especially proud of how the orator I have been coaching, Gabby, performed. She went up on stage and delivered her speech with poise, confidence, and a smile. Claire and I could not have been happier with the way she performed. The last few days of practice, Claire and I let her rehearse her speech over and over again to feel comfortable with it. It was during that time when the speech transformed from a memorized, choreographed three and a half-page essay into a visual and audible piece of art.

Through the whole process, Gabby was gracious, hard-working, and flexible. We cut out some parts of the speech three days before Nykerk and made some minor voice inflection changes the night before, and Gabby didn’t complain once. She has been such a joy and light in my life these past few weeks and I already miss spending time with her!

I could not have asked for a better Nykerk season. I would like to say a big thank you to the executive board for all of their hard work, my fellow odd year coaches and the even year coaches for their support, and of course all of the participants for making the 79th Nykerk Cup the best one yet!