Photos by Graphic Staff Matt Benton
If you saw balloons, blue T-shirts and Willie the Wave driving around in a convertible between last week and Tuesday afternoon, it was all promotion for an event called After Dark. After Dark took place on Tuesday night at Alumni Park where about 200 people gathered to experience the power of music and think about the power of Jesus.
After Dark is an event tailored for college students that combines music and a Gospel-centered message.
The event was headed and promoted by freshman Mason DeLoache. DeLoache said he heard about the event during the gap-year program he took called Link Year through his small group leader, who is president of After Dark.
Before DeLoache came to Pepperdine, he emailed Campus Ministries about bringing After Dark to campus and worked as a mediator between After Dark and CM.
“After Dark provides everything for the events: the talent booking, the money, the advertising materials — everything,” he said. “I just had to communicate it and hype it up.”
Sophomore Nicolette Jessen shared her thoughts on the event hype. “Mason’s leadership is awesome,” she said. “The hype was out of this world … I’m so excited they have Ben Rector here. It’s crazy that they got him.”
After Dark Director of Marketing Geoff Todd described the reason for the night.
“We want to provide an opportunity in the form of a night that will at least spur and stir the conversation about the relevance of Jesus,” he said. “After Dark — like the campaign says — is where music and message meet.”
The event kicked off at 7:30 p.m. on the Upper Field at Alumni Park. Todd emceed the night and introduced rap, hip-hop and beat poet Propaganda. Propaganda warmed and welcomed the crowd with a 20-minute set and rapped his life in poetry. He delivered a powerful speech on being who he is through Christ.
Todd introduced speaker Joe White who delivered a radical introduction to Jesus. White started off by talking about his background and family, then transitioned into a role-play performance of the soldier who made the cross Jesus died on, actually taking time to ax and nail together the cross. He then talked about his testimony and how faith has been a big part of his life.
White then invited the audience to participate in an exercise where students nailed a note crucifying a bad habit or sin on the cross he made.
Todd then invited Ben Rector to the stage, much to the audience’s cheerful screams. Rector and fellow musician Cody Frye charmed the audience with their mostly acoustic 45-minute set. Rector also warmed the night with his playful banter with Frye. During one song, Frye even played a mouth-trumpet solo. Rector and Frye closed the night with a song called “Sailboat.”
Todd said his absolutely favorite part of the experience was the audience’s reaction. “The audience reaction is genuine every time,” he said. “It never gets old.”
Freshman Ashley Salazar felt the power of the event. “It definitely exceeded my expectations,” she said. “As a Christian, it’s easy to get stuck in, ‘Yes, I’m saved, I get it,’ but Joe White made the Gospel message real.”
She also became a fan of Rector. “Ben Rector was amazing. I had heard nothing of him before and now I feel like I’m falling in love,” she said.
Freshmen Ally Washburn and Sarah Welbaum also said they loved the event. “The best part of the experience is how the student body was brought together,” Washburn said. “There was a strong sense of unity.”
Welbaum agreed: “It was so amazing. Another After Dark please. Soon, like next month,” she said.
The event proved a success with the student body leaving feeling warm and united even on a chilly February night.
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