Zoe Rogers, ‘Doah Staff Writer
April 2, 2014
On Sunday Mar. 23, Phi Mu Alpha hosted the Fifth Annual Mr. Shenandoah Pageant in Armstrong Concert Hall. Besides providing a night of memorable entertainment, the event aimed to raise money for the fraternity chapter’s main philanthropy, the Ira Lindberg Harris Scholarship Fund.
Between sequined tuxedo jackets, storytelling and, even, a short beatbox solo, hosts Michael Williams and Michael Mendillo added charm and style to the evening’s proceedings. Taking notes from Ellen and this year’s Oscars ceremony, the hosts even managed to squeeze in a few “selfies” and a delivery of sandwiches from the event’s sponsor, Jimmy John’s. Aside from feeding hungry audience members, the hosts kept the evening’s program moving smoothly, making comical quips when things, inevitably, did not go to plan. I think we can all agree, “Doors: more difficult than they look”.
The night was kicked off to the sound of rapturous applause from the audience as all eight participants performed a dance, choreographed by Lizzie Baker and Brynna Shank. Each Mr. Shenandoah hopeful represented one of eight organizations at S.U. Maurice Goodwin represented Sigma Alpha Iota, Seth Walker represented Alpha Psi Omega, Stephen Readyoff represented the Buzzin’ Dozen Pep Band, Kevin Jacobs represented Alpha Kappa Psi, Robby McCoubry represented Shenandoah University Music Therapy Association, Jeremiah Jones represented Sigma Rho Delta, Sam Zimmerman represented Phi Mu Alpha and Riley Scott represented The Loaf.
Each participant vying for the coveted title of “Mr. Shenandoah” had the opportunity to win over both audience and judges through the rigorous six-part pageant program. The first event was “athletic wear,” and each contender brought something different to this category, from, worryingly tight, yoga wear to ‘90s flashback aerobics gear– fanny packs and headbands included.
The “feats of strength” event followed, and contestant’s creativity abounded in presenting their unique strengths. From a “Hunger Games” test of endurance to wood chopping, the Mr. Shenandoah hopefuls impressed the audience with their strengths. A number of contestants adopted a play on words and presented their “feet of strength,” most notably Jeremiah Jones’ improvised tap-dance to Pharell William’s “Happy”.
On a lighter note, the third event looked to the participant’s sense of humor. The “Best Joke!” event showcased contender’s comedic timing, however it was clear that The Loaf’s Riley Scott (and his mom) stole the show as the crowd erupted with laughter at the Mr. Shenandoah hopeful’s reactions to his mother offering advice and criticism of his joke-telling from her seat in the audience.
Following a catwalk of the contestants in their formal wear, the hosts announced the three finalists before proceeding to the final two events of the pageant. Goodwin, McCoubrey and Scott all made the cut. In their last opportunity to impress the judges, the three finalists pulled out all the stops for the “Talent” event and looked to win over the judges with their answers to the question, “If you were chosen as Mr. Shenandoah, what would you do with your prowess?”
Despite tough competition, Riley Scott of The Loaf was a clear winner following his “reverse sartorialist” talent demonstration. The newly hailed Mr. Shenandoah stood out from the start, with witty repartee and down-to-earth charm, Scott had the audience, and the judges, in the palm of his hands. Upon the announcement of his new title, elated members from The Loaf rushed to congratulate Scott on stage. Donning his new top-hat as the fifth Mr. Shenandoah, Riley thanked the judges, his new fans and, of course, his mother.