Practice makes Pigskin

Sing Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor
Matt Hellman | Lariat Photo Editor
Kristin Burns

Behind the production of Pigskin Revue are countless hours of work from organizations across campus in order to bring the tradition back for the 55th year.

“It’s wonderful to see the immense amount of work that the groups as a whole put into the acts,” said Cheryl Mathis, assistant director for campus programs.

Mathis works with Sarah Pullin, graduate apprentice for Student Productions, in overseeing the planning and execution of the show. Pullin is serving as executive producer for Pigskin for the second year.

Pigskin Revue is a reprise of the top eight acts of All-University Sing. Organizations compete for a chance to perform again in Pigskin in the fall for homecoming each year.

“The level of excellence for Sing has continued to grow,” Pullin said. “Sing has become more and more competitive each year. Being in an organization that’s able to say, ‘We are one of the best,’ is definitely something to be really proud of.”

Many groups on campus work together to make Pigskin run smoothly for the thousands of people who will attend. Student Productions is the student-led organization that produces four events every year, including Pigskin.

“One of the things that Student Productions committee has set as a goal is to continue with the tradition of a level of excellence in all of our shows,” Pullin said. “We start our Pigskin chair meetings the first or second week of school.”

Student Productions is involved in many aspects of the show. Of the 16 members, eight will be assigned as producers for a particular act in the show. Student Productions also works with outside organizations, marketing and advertising for the Pigskin program.

Members of Student Productions will spend eight to 10 hours per week on Pigskin activities, Pullin said.

Behind the scenes of the production is the Waco Hall crew, comprising 25 student workers who run the technical side of the show.

“As a crew leader, I help the professional staff in leading the crew to go about the tasks that are necessary to put on any production,” said San Antonio senior Collin Huse.

Huse is involved in tasks like setting up the lighting, training new crew members and putting up hanging items, he said.

“Every now and then something could go wrong, but we have people whose job it is to make sure that it doesn’t happen,” he said.

Pigskin will feature the winners and runners-up, as well as five other top acts. The fraternities Kappa Sigma and Kappa Omega Tau tied for first place, with Phi Kappa Chi in third place. The five other acts will be Sing Alliance, Zeta Tau Alpha, Chi Omega, Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Tau Omega.

“Anything you do, you want to do the best you can do at it,” said Plano senior Andrew Mobley, a Pigskin chair for the Kappa Omega Tau fraternity. “You take pride in it because you spend so much time on it. You have seven minutes to show the audience how hard you’ve been working in the past six weeks.”

KOT spends 10 hours a week practicing before Pigskin, with the chairs putting in 10 to 14 hours a week, he said.

“Our guys in the back dance just as hard as our guys in the front,” Mobley said.

Kappa Sigma, which tied with KOT, works just as many hours a week to prepare for Pigskin, with the chairs putting in 15 to 20 hours a week.

“With anything, you want to put your best foot forward,” said Frisco senior Kaleb Kyser, a Pigskin chair for the Kappa Sigma fraternity. “You stand out as an organization if you make Pigskin. It means a lot. You want to go out, and you want to give it your best. It’s a good challenge for people to do that.”

Both Mobley and Kyser said it was important to have the same quality of act in Pigskin as the act performed in Sing.

“If we can replicate what we did, there’s no reason why people would guess as to why Kappa Sigma tied for first place,” Kyser said.

All groups who are performing in Pigskin get three two-hour “open stage” practices to get a feel for the Waco Hall stage.

“An open stage is a time for groups to come to Waco Hall to get to know the stage that they will be performing on,” Pullin said. “Groups use their open stages in different ways.”

In addition to the open stage practices, each group is scheduled for two technical rehearsals: audio tech and light tech.

“Our technical rehearsals are really best used for the crew to rehearse all of their cues,” Mathis said.

The groups perform in full dress with the live band during the “final tech” rehearsal and the dress rehearsal before the performances start on Thursday.

At KOT’s audio tech, members worked to set up the props needed for the act. During Sing, all the props must be set up on stage within two minutes. For Pigskin, there is no penalization for taking more time.

During Kappa Sigma’s light tech, Kyser worked to organize the members and make small changes to improve the act. Kyser is also the lead soloist for Kappa Sigma.

“Let’s have fun, guys,” Kyser said to the group before the last run-through.

Both fraternities had fun on and off stage in between run-throughs, but when the curtain lifted, it was all business.

“A lot of the guys in our group aren’t doing it for themselves,” Mobley said. “They are doing it for a bigger cause, whether it be that they are doing it for KOT as a group or they are doing it for each other.”

Pigskin comes to Baylor homecoming this weekend at 7 p.m. Thursday, at 6:30 and 10 p.m. Friday and at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Waco Hall. Pigskin is the only time to view the winning Sing acts again as videoing of the acts is prohibited due to copyright laws.

Mathis said that Pigskin is an important part of the unity and tradition of Baylor homecoming. Many alumni return to see their groups perform in Pigskin and to remember the past.

“The point of homecoming is to come back as a united Baylor family and relive those experiences that were most significant to you,” she said.