Southern Adventist President Gordon Bietz has served in many roles during his 19 years at the university, including the role of "Studio 4109" host and, during a skit put on by the "SNL"-style show, a short-lived stint as a One Direction band member.
But last Saturday, the SAU student-led show's fifth season finale was the curtain call for Bietz, who is retiring at the end of the semester. And for graduating students who are part of the live comedy show, such as 4109's Executive Director Kevin Christenson and Marketing Specialist Lexie Center, the performance was a bittersweet one.
For Christenson, the live comedy skit project was a labor of love that also yielded successes like a connection with Kevin Olusola, a member of the two-time Grammy award winning group Pentatonix. The musician was not only a musical guest on the show, he connected Christenson with writers for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" and Christenson even got to sit in during writing sessions.
"Studio 4109 has been the best part of my college experience," Christenson said. "It's been an outlet for everything I love to do: write scripts, tell jokes, produce shorts, act, direct and work with some of the most talented, fun people on campus.
" Over the last five years, Studio 4109 has been my life and my passion. It's been a journey seeing it go from creation to where it is today. The biggest impact on my life is the memories of all the laughs, smiles and positivity I've seen it bring to others. As long as we can brighten at least one person's week, it's worth it."
Although the Season 5 finale marks big changes within the comedy group, the show will go on.
"I think Studio has given a great platform for students to express themselves," said Center, "whether that is behind the scenes writing scripts or filming the video shorts, to being up front as an actor, host or the house band. It's an organization in our school that has provided jobs and laughter to students, faculty and the community."
Plus, Christenson added, "In our small town of Collegedale, it's easy to think we're funny, but it's another thing when a writer/associate producer of 'The Tonight Show' agrees."
For more information on Studio 4109 and what Season 6 will bring, visit studio4109live.com. The show is streamed online in real time for those unable to attend.