Want to Know What it’s Like to be the Orator?

Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my role as this
year’s Odd Year orator. And when I say lately, I mean everyday for the
last two weeks. And when I say a lot of questions, I mean multiple questions at
different points during the day. I thought it would be best to make a
post answering a lot of those questions, because I get the same ones
over and over again. I totally understand that a lot of people have questions; after all, only two of us per class ever get to experience of being orator!

1. How did you become orator?

The yearly kick-off for Nykerk is the Nykerk Rally, which happened during the first week of October this year. At the rally, the oration coaches announced that auditions would occur right after the rally and told all hopeful orators to bring a sample of their writing to read. There were about seven or eight other girls there, and the coaches Cara and Zoey did a great job of making everyone feel at ease. I read my sample and was told to look out for an email the next day about callbacks. I must have checked my email about 10 times that day, and I was over the moon when I saw that I got an email! I went to callbacks the following night, was called back later that same night, and the rest is history!

2. What is your speech about? How long is it?

Each year, a different theme is picked for Nykerk. Last year, the theme was ‘Eyes Open’ and this year the theme is ‘Reconciliation’. It is especially applicable, because that was also the theme of this year’s Critical Issues Symposium. So, that’s what my speech is about! Other than that, I can’t say too much else; I want it to be as much of a surprise on Nykerk night as possible. The speech is almost three pages long. A fun fact is that my coaches asked me to cut it down a little bit because it was too long!

3. How is the speech coming along? Is it hard to write?

I actually just finished my speech Monday night!!! I’m really about that
for several reasons. The first being that though I love writing, this was difficult and not always fun. Some spots came pretty easy to me, and other spots my
coaches and I had to put a lot of thought into. Another reason this
difficult for me was that I was writing a speech, not a normal paper like i’m
used to doing. I had to write this for the ears, not for the eyes.

4. Do you like your coaches?

I don’t like my coaches. I absolutely L O V E them!!!! Cara and Zoey are two of the most amazing people I have ever met and I feel so blessed to be able to work with them each day! They helped me come up with a lot of ideas that I know I would never have thought of myself. They also know when to get to work, and when to have fun. We get a lot done in practice, but we make sure to have lots of laughs along the way. They also bring me little girfts each day, which is definitely a perk. For example, i’ve gotten Silly Putty, Snickers, and Pop Rocks, to name a few.

5. What do you do during practice?

For the last week and a half, we focused solely on getting the speech written. I worked on writing the speech outside of rehearsal, and during rehearsal we worked on things like grammar, imagery, and brainstorming. I mentioned earlier that the oration speech is written for the ears and not for the eyes. Accordingly, we read the speech out loud several times during practice to hear if it flowed well. Now that the speech is finished, I can begin to work on the intonation
and the motions that go along with performing the speech. My coaches
tell me that is when the real fun beings, so I’m ready to get to it!

6. I know that Song and Play have yearly traditions; does the orator have some, too?

There are a few things that the Even and Odd Year orators do differently. For example, the Even Year orator typically wears a short dress while the odd year orator wears a long dress. And if you have paid attention to the motions in the past, you have probably noticed some differences in that respect too. Odd Year tends to use more of the stage and more motions than Even Year. If you’ve never noticed those things before, make sure to look for them this year!

7. Speaking of dresses, have you found one yet?!

YES! I found it last weekend and I can’t wait to wear it! It’s long (of course), silver, and spaghetti-strapped.

Hope that gave you some insight into what I’m doing right now! Like I said in a previous post, Nykerk is on November 3 this year. Tickets are on sale now, so make sure to get your before they sell out!


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Published by Rachael Kabagabu

Hi everyone! My name is Rachael Kabagabu. I am a junior studying secondary education with a major in French and minor in biology. I am currently involved in Nykerk, Hope College Student Ambassadors, WTHS (Hope radio station), and the Kappa Beta Phi Sorority. My previous activities include Orientation, leading a spring break immersion trip, the Black Student Union, and orchestra. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Go Hope!