The winners, Joe and the Kellers share the stage with fellow performers. (Brody McGrath)
The winners, Joe and the Kellers share the stage with fellow performers.

Brody McGrath

TMU talents on display at the Monty’s

April 27, 2018

The walls of the Palace Theatre in downtown Los Angeles are lined with ornate murals depicting scenes of beautiful gardens. The elegance and beauty of the architecture reflected the nature of the night’s event: the 2018 Monty’s.

“Monty’s is the fanciest and classiest event that Master’s has to offer,” said Ryan Wagner, a junior dorm representative on TMU’s Associated Student Body (ASB) for C.W. Smith Hall.

Built in 1911, the Palace Theatre has hosted acts such as Harry Houdini and the Marx Brothers, and the performers for the Monty’s felt the history in the building.

“It made it feel much more like a real gig than it did before,” said Maddy Smith, a freshman performer at the Monty’s, as she described how it felt to walk into the theatre. “I knew it was about having fun and performing for the school, but it made it almost a little more intimidating. I was like ‘Wow, this is actually legit, this isn’t just some janky set-up in the back of some guy’s garage.’”

In the hours before the event actually started, members of ASB rushed around the Palace Theatre, setting up decorations and organizing performers for sound checks.

“I just give credit to the people who were on the committee,” said Caleb Friginal, ASB president. “They got this theatre booked, they went through all the acts and found the 13 best ones, and they got everything organized for it to be a great night.”

Hannah Sims and Ashlyn Mabs, two ASB officials, walked throughout the venue with clipboards, directing performers and organizing the sound checks.

“They went at like seven in the morning to get flowers for the event at the flower market down here,” said Wagner. “They’ve just really put their heart and soul into this to try and make it the best event possible.”

David Wismer, a senior communication major, and his girlfriend Brooke Weldon, a junior liberal studies major, hosted the night.

“Adam Aschoff and CJ Johnson actually came to me and suggested that it would be interesting if I did it,” said Wismer. After talking to Weldon, the two sent in an audition tape for the roles, and were selected to be the hosts for this year’s event.

After the couple opened the event with a comedic monologue, Jonny Brown, the winner of last year’s Monty’s, kicked the show off with a solo performance. He was followed by a strong line-up of old favorites, such as Special Music and Breaking Contract, as well as up-and-coming stars such as Maddy Smith and Joe and the Kellers.

“I’m pumped,” said Brian Treanor, a member of Joe and the Kellers. “I love listening to the other acts, other performers, other musicians glorifying God through the talents that God gave them. It encourages me to keep playing.”

At the end of the night, students in attendance texted in their votes to determine the winner of the 2018 Monty’s. Special Music came in third with their a capella mashup of Disney songs, and Sweazy RA Leah Phillipps came in second with an original song about moving forward in life.

But in the end, there could only be one winner, and much to the delight of the audience, Joe and the Kellers came in first place after a performance that included runs through the crowd and a guest appearance from the Joe Keller himself.

“We try to choose songs for people to have a really good time listening to it,” said Thomas Kocsis, piano player for Joe and the Kellers. “We hope that tonight will be a time of just fun, and just relaxing, and just a chance for people to take a break from thinking about finals for a night.”

Joe and the Kellers closed out the night with an encore performance of “Superstitious.” Afterwards, students were invited into the basement of the theatre where Martinelli’s was served. Much of the conversation was focused on the strength of the show.

“I feel like this is the best year for the Monty’s,” said Wagner. “Having gone through the sound check, all of them are really strong acts. It’s kind of like the best of the best have come out to really give it their all.”

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