Hope College will host its 87th annual Nykerk Cup competition on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. at the Holland Civic Center.
The event will feature will feature approximately 100 members of the freshman and sophomore classes competing in song, plays and oration. The participating classes this year are the freshman Class of 2025 and the sophomore Class of 2024, who are being coached by the junior Class of 2023 and the senior Class of 2022, respectively.
The competition, first held on March 16, 1936, is named in honor of the originator of the program, John Nykerk, a professor, college dean and founder of the Hope College Department of Music.
This year’s contest includes two unique returns for the long-running traditional event.
It is a return to in-person presentation. Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s contest, held on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, was exclusively online. There was no on-site audience nor on-site performance. Instead, the contest was prerecorded, with the participants filmed individually and presented together through editing.
It is also a return to a former venue. Nykerk has been held in the college’s Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse since 2014, but the facility isn’t available this year because of home athletic competition. The contest had previously been held at the Civic Center, which hosted Nykerk every year but one from 1956 through 2013. (Because the Civic Center was extensively remodeled between 2016 and 2018, it is much changed inside since last it hosted the contest.)
Nykerk has never been canceled. The only postponement on record was in 2008, when a campus norovirus outbreak caused the event to be delayed to the following weekend, which also prompted relocation from the Holland Civic Center to Central Wesleyan Church.
The other sites that have hosted the contest since it began are the former Carnegie Gymnasium on campus (1936-39); the Woman’s Literary Club (1940-44); and the auditorium of the former Holland High School at Pine Avenue and 15th Street (1944-55).
The sophomore Class of ’23 won the 2020 Nykerk Cup competition.
Tickets for the Nykerk Cup competition are $5, and will be available while supplies last at the ticket office in the Events and Conferences Office located downtown in the Anderson-Werkman Financial Center (100 E. Eighth St.). The ticket office is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be called at 616-395-7890. Tickets will not be sold at the door.
Audience members who need assistance to fully enjoy any event at Hope are encouraged to contact the college's Events and Conferences Office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 616-395-7222 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Holland Civic Center is located at 150 W. 8th St., between 8th and 9th streets and Pine and Maple avenues.