Sing chairs make the show go on

Phi Kappa Chi's act "Fool's Gold" placed second at Sing 2017.

By Rider Farris | Reporter

The weeks leading up to All-University Sing are trying for many of the event’s participants. Baylor students, faculty and alumni of all ages know of the longstanding tradition that occurs every spring and features performances from many organizations on campus. But what many non-participants do not understand is the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into each and every one of the performances.

Many of the organizations that participate in Sing have “Sing chairs” that are responsible for the creation of the act. These individuals choose the theme for the act, plan the choreography, choose the costumes, design and build the props, make the backdrop, organize the lighting and simultaneously oversee the act’s progress. These individuals help ensure the process from planning to execution runs smoothly.

“It’s a lot of work,” said Cedar Park senior Nicole McDaniel, head Sing chair of Alpha Chi Omega. “There’s so much planning that goes into it, all these little details Sing chairs take into account.”

In her role as head Sing chair, McDaniel ensures that her organization follows the rules set forth by Baylor and is performance-ready by the time the production rolls around. Sing participants are not allowed to practice for more than 14 hours per week, must spend less than $4,500 on their act and guarantee their costumes cost no more than $110 per person, in addition to other rules.

“All of it is very student-made,” McDaniel said. “The best part about being a Sing chair is seeing it all come to life.”

The planning and design process starts back in March of the year prior. Generally, the first order of business is the choosing of a theme, followed by the selection of songs that help convey the theme.

“It’s a lot of work, but I have loved every second of it so far,” said Waco senior Jon Carr, Sing chair for Phi Kappa Chi. “Even the times that are a little nerve-wracking or scary.”

Planning and overseeing Sing performances is not taken lightly by a majority of Sing chairs. Many groups have practices up to five times a week, in addition to allotted time for working on their backdrop. This large time commitment can make it difficult to allott time for schoolwork.

“Sing time is my free fun time,” Carr said. “My breaks are when I go to Sing. It’s kind of cool, but it’s also pretty much a full-time job.”

Phi Chi is taking advantage of its ability to partner with another organization and will be working with Pi Beta Phi this year in Sing. As a duo, the two groups’ Sing chairs work together on their performance. As with most organizations, the environment among Sing chairs is very collaborative.

“We have a really good group of Sing chairs,” Carr said. “We all work really, really well together, and even if we have a little conflict, we’re able to get over it really quickly. Our Sing chair group is really, really good and I can’t think of another group of people that I’d want to work on this with.”

It takes a lot of time, work, effort and energy to put on a Sing performance. Without the dedication and guidance from Sing chairs, the acts would simply not be what they are today. Without them, Sing may not have grown to become the largest off-Broadway production in the United States.

“Even though it’s a lot of work, I’d say it’s 100 percent worth it,” Carr said. “If you never go see it during your time at Baylor, you’re missing out.”