Late last night, four men got on stage and broke out into song.

When I was just a little girl,
I asked my mother, "What will I be?
Will I be pretty? Will I be rich?"
Here's what she said to me

Then, the entire room joined in.

"Que será, será
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours to see
Que será, será
What will be, will be"

The quartet included: Rick Brindle, v.p. of industry development, Mondelēz International; Ted Cohen,  president of Hillside Candy; Joe Dutra, ceo, Kimmie Candy, and Tony Jacobs, president, Topps Confectionery Brands.

Only one of the four had technically received the 2019 Candy Industry Kettle Award — Ted Cohen — but they were all champions.

It was just one example of the magic that surrounds the annual Kettle Awards, which is held each year at the Union League Club of Chicago.

This was my first year being on the Kettle Committee as the editor of Candy Industry Magazine — the new Bernie, if you will.

For years, I had to watch from afar, only hearing tidbits of how things ran because honestly, former Editor-in-Chief Bernie Pacyniak made it sound like Yale's Skull and Bones secret society. This year, though, I finally got to attend the meetings, and get an inside look at everything that goes into the Kettle Awards as a whole — from how they picked the nominees to how they picked the music.

I couldn’t help but be impressed by how the whole thing ran. The meetings were constantly full of industry knowledge and insight from the committee members, and it was truly an honor to work with so many of the confectionery industry's strongest advocates.

It all culminates with the big night, always held on the Tuesday of the Sweets and Snacks Expo. The reception features male committee members donning white tuxedos, while the female members wear their best formal wear. Eventually, a hush comes over the crowd and the pomp and circumstance starts as each of the nominees are introduced to the crowd. Then, a secure briefcase containing the name of the recipient is brought on stage and everyone finally finds out who will receive the Kettle Award.

As I mentioned above, Ted Cohen received the award this year.

But later, when he gathered with the other three nominees to break out into song, it was obvious that nobody failed last night — there was too much love and admiration among them, and too many adoring fans in the crowd for that to be possible.