SINGers experience joys, perils of performance

Stephen Green | Round Up Photo EditorFor SING 2011, The ladies of Pi Beta Phi perform “Welcome to your 80s, Ladies,” a comedic spoof of life in a nursing home.

By Bonnie Berger

It’s that time of year when friends and classmates look more haggard than usual, disappear each night between the hours of 5 and 10 p.m. and are caught breaking into dance routines in odd places around campus.

Indeed, All-University Sing is upon us in full force with Club Night starting off two weeks of performances at 6:30 p.m. last night in Waco Hall. We all love the sensational results that come from six weeks of grueling rehearsals, but how does one manage juggling school work, a social life, a job and Sing?

“It’s hard,” said Evergreen, Colo., junior and Alpha Delta Pi member Kayla Butler. “You don’t really have a social life. You definitely have to learn how to manage your time well.”

Butler is no stranger to the time commitments associated with Sing involvement. She performed last year during Baylor’s 57th annual Sing and Pigskin Revue.

“I really enjoy it,” Butler said. “It’s a good way to get to know people in my organization.”

Making time for homework is often a struggle in the midst of the strenuously long practices. Time management becomes a skill that is continually refined throughout participation in Sing.

“There are many late nights and early mornings,” said New Orleans junior Ben Aguinaga, a member of the Sing Alliance. “I’m starting to fit into that stereotype of a college student starting my homework at 1 a.m.”

A full-time Sing participant, Aguinaga juggles a rigorous internship at a local law firm, a student job within the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, school and Sing. Despite his heavy load, Aguinaga finds encouragement in his fellow Sing Alliance comrades.

Matt Hellman | Lariat Photographer
The men of Phi Kappa Chi teamed up with the ladies of Chi Omega (not pictured) for a production of “Bonnie and Clyde.”

“It’s inspiring to spend time with friends who have three tests that week when I have none,” he said. “They are making sacrifices to participate. It’s nice to be inspired by those around you.”

For many, social frivolities fall by the wayside during Sing season. However, many students find camaraderie within their organizations, taking advantage of the time spent with their fellow participants during practices.

“The nice thing about Sing is you don’t have to leave friendship behind,” Aguigana said. “There’s a bond within Sing Alliance.”

Similarly, Scottsdale, Ariz., sophomore and Pi Beta Phi member Laura Catherine Trent views Sing as another opportunity to bond with her sorority sisters.

“It’s my favorite, getting to spend time with the girls every night,” Trent said. “It’s become my social life and helps build new relationships.”

Coffee runs and study sessions become unconventional ways to spend time with Sing friends when not in rehearsal, Trent said.

“Even if you’re sitting there in silence, it feels like you’re hanging out,” she said.

Aside from late nights and an optimistic view on cultivating relationships, Baylor’s beloved performers have practical tips and tricks to get them through the full schedule.

“At the beginning of the semester, I put everything on my calendar,” said junior Alpha Tau Omega member Eric Danielson from Trinidad, Colo. “Sleep when you can and consume a lot of vitamin C.”

Other performers fill in time, where they have it, with homework.

“I finish my classes pretty early so I try to finish my homework before Sing practice,” Butler said.

Trent, a first-time Sing participant, tries to take the hectic Sing schedule day by day.

“Make the most of what little free time you have,” she said. “You’re a part of something that’s been going on for so long. There’s so much history there.”

In an effort to liven spirits and balance the stress that accompanies Sing season, Sing chairs in every organization use different tactics.

“The Sing chairs are great at motivating us,” Trent said. “There are incentives, like a $5 gift card to Common Grounds, for Best Facial Expression and giving your best during practice.”

Many organizations prepare for performances or practice with cheers to energize the participants.

“Before the curtain rises, we huddle around and do a chant together,” Danielson said. “It’s sort of a good luck tradition we have before the performance.”

Sing Alliance holds a similar tradition, with the performers surrounding the executive committee during the ritualistic cheer.

“It’s a physical picture of the bond Sing Alliance created,” Aguigana said.

Some groups even use playful methods to help them relax prior to going on stage.

“We have a dance party to get loose before we go on stage,” Butler said. “And then we pray.”

Despite the long hours and physical strain, participants believe they are rewarded for their efforts as relationships grow and show time finally arrives.

“Sing is a foundational block of Baylor tradition,” Aguigana said. “As Sing grows, that tradition grows. Sing Alliance is such a legend and it’s an honor to be a part of it.”

Performers view Sing as a connection not only with their fellow participants, but their predecessors as well.

“Be aware of the time commitment, but be aware that it will be the most fun of times,” Trent said. “You will fall on the floor laughing. It’s the experience Pi Phi’s before us have gone through. … Holding onto that is totally worth it.”