By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer
Months before the curtains rise on All-University Sing, lots of unseen work goes into choosing the themes for each group performing at the event.
Fort Worth senior Devon May, who serves as Sing Alliance’s props and backdrops chair, said as soon as one Sing season ends, a new theme is already in the works. The first stage of conceptualizing a show begins in the spring and is typically decided by July. Then, the song choices to go along with the theme must be finished by the end of the following fall semester so that rehearsals can begin in the spring semester.
“As soon as Sing is over, we get a new leadership group and they start having meetings and coming up with ideas,” May said. “Usually before the end of the semester, we have a set theme that we can then build songs and choreo and costumes around, and whatever we want to go with it.”
Head Sing chair for Beta Upsion Chi Caleb Balladares said as soon as he was appointed to his position, he immediately began to come up with ideas for the theme, everything from the story to the music. Balladares said he gained inspiration from past Sing chairs who were able to guide him with ideas and advice.
“The president at the time sent me some ideas that he had worked out when he was a Sing chair and also spitballed some ideas from older Sing chairs,” Balladares said.
According to Balladares, what makes a good theme is how well it can be put to music and how easily and effectively the story can be conveyed to the audience.
“My next step was to explore every theme and see potentially what song and what story could go with it,” Balladares said.
As head Sing chair, he was able to personally choose other chairs to come up with ideas and act as a sounding board for each other, but ultimately, the decision for the theme was his. The most important aspect for Sing chairs is work ethic, Balladares said.
“I hand-picked people who I knew would bring great ideas and great work ethic. I wanted people who would be there,” Balladares said.
Similar to Greek organizations, Sing Alliance is also occupied for months coming up with themes and working hard to meet deadlines.
However, unlike BYX, each Sing Alliance chair has a hand in deciding on their theme. There are five chair positions — music, props and backdrop, choreography, costumes and administration — each of them bringing their own perspective to theme ideas.
May said when Sing Alliance met to decide the theme for the following year, it all began with the chairs writing their ideas onto slips of paper and placing them inside a bowl. During the meeting, ideas were called and decisions started to be made.
“We start whittling it down from there until we get about five ideas,” May said. “Then we figure out what a plot line would be and what those themes would actually look like.”
May said passion for the themes causes lively discussion in these meetings, but that each theme is unique and those that make final consideration are always great.