Sing winners cut 60 participants from Pigskin to comply with new rule

Story by Maya Butler | Reporter, Video by Caroline Waterhouse | Broadcast Reporter

The winning act of last year’s All-University Sing just got smaller.

Phi Kappa Chi fraternity and Pi Beta Phi sorority, who teamed up last spring and placed first in Sing, had to adjust their act due to a recent policy by the Sing Committee, which states that any act for either Sing or Pigskin cannot have more than 200 members on stage.

The Greek organizations partnered to produce an act called “The Tortoise and the Hare,” which featured 260 performing members — the largest act in Sing history. Phi Chi took first place in 2016 for its “Dust Bowl Days” act and Pi Phi won first place the following year for its performance “Meet Me in Ze Alps.”

Director of Student Activities Matt Burchett and Becky Jones, chair of the Sing Committe, who also serves as senior lecturer of accounting, explained in an email the reason for limiting the number of performers for any act to 200.

“Due to the immense growth of student participation in Sing and Pigskin in recent years, the Sing Procedures Committee was presented with safety concerns about facility occupancy loads,” Burchett and Jones said. “By minimizing the potential for overcrowding and respecting the occupancy load of the facility, we decreased the overall risk of the program, ensuring the long-term viability of this beloved tradition.”

All organizations affected by the policy change were sent an email directly from Jones on Aug. 29 and Student Productions, who plans and coordinates annual productions like All-University Sing and Pigskin Revue, notified Pigskin chairs of the change on Sept. 6. The new policy was then reviewed in person by the chairs during a Pigskin Chair meeting the following week.

Phi Chi and Pi Phi originally devised a plan that both believed aligned with the new policy by having members switch on and off stage during performances so the number of students always remained under maximum capacity. However, the organizations were informed last Monday that the plan still violated the new policy.

Waco senior and Phi Chi fraternity member Ben Tandy explained the thought process behind coming up with needing a new plan that would avoid cutting 60 members.

“Student Productions recommended cutting sophomores, which isn’t fair to them because their parents are flying in to see them,” Tandy said. “Sophomore year is really when you learn to love Sing and Pigskin, and for that to happen would be terrible — so we decided to have 100-something people agree to only be in two acts.”

Tandy said the Sing chairs were originally unsure of how many members were willing to sacrifice stage time due to the policy change.

“They were expecting maybe 30 or 40 people would offer and we’d have to figure out a way to make it work, but within a couple hours … they had more than 100 people saying, ‘Hey. I’ll step down. That way everybody can be in it and have a great performance,’ which was very encouraging for them to see that everybody in the act was willing to adapt for them,” Tandy said.

The 110 members that volunteered to participate in only half of the acts will be divided into two groups: the first group will perform Thursday night and the following night for the first showing at 6:30. The second group will takeover and perform Friday night’s second showing at 10:30 and Saturday’s final showing at 7 p.m. To accommodate this change, Phi Chi and Pi Phi created 34 new dance formations.

Other Greek organizations making an appearance in Pigskin Revue 2018 will be sororities Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Delta Delta, Chi Omega, and Kappa Alpha Theta. The fraternities being showcased will be Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Omega Tau and Alpha Tau Omega.

“Some people thought that our act was just better because of how many people we had initially,” Tandy said. “We’re using this as an opportunity to say, ‘Just because we lost 60 people from each act doesn’t mean that our act is going to be different or worse. It’s going to be just as sharp if not sharper, just as clean if not cleaner [and] just as loud.”