The story behind the stage: Waco Hall plays integral yet overlooked role in Sing

Waco Hall, the iconic location that hosts All-University Sing, has spotlighted generations of Baylor students and has become an integral part of the tradition. Camie Jobe | Photographer

By Rory Dulock | Staff Writer

Waco Hall’s historic stage has been host to All-University Sing, one of Baylor’s most well- known traditions.

Olivia Moses, assistant director of Student Productions, said it’s her job to oversee many large-scale performances. Moses said Sing has not always been held in Waco Hall, although the event has been held there for the majority of the hall’s history.

“Everything actually started in Barfield,” Moses said. “The first year, they did it in the SUB, and that was because the show design itself was different. You know, Sing started as an opportunity for students to come to sing about Baylor, and they did it on the risers, like choir risers, and it was for fun. And then it evolved to a competition, and it got bigger.”

The drastic evolution of the tradition was what eventually led to the change of location.

“They moved it to Waco Hall, which was the largest performance space on campus and still is,” Moses said. “And so as the tradition grew and we added more production elements, they started adding costumes. They started adding props, and they started adding lighting.”

Several decades later, Waco Hall is the only practical location to host Sing, Moses said.

“[Waco Hall is] really necessary now,” Moses said. “Because of the way that the competition has evolved for it to be in a performance space, because it is a theatrical production, there’s not other places on campus that can match the production level and the production elements we need without sort of maximizing time, budget and staff.”

Bentonville, Ark., senior and Alpha Tau Omega Sing chair Will Deal said Waco Hall provides many advantages when hosting Sing.

“[Waco Hall] is a really big space that does accommodate a lot of people,” Deal said. “The way that they allow the process of you going in and getting to get familiar with the space, I think is great. And the fact that you’re able to practice on stage several times before you even perform is a great advantage.”

Deal said students, alumni and the Baylor family will always remember their time in Waco Hall.

“I think that for myself and anyone who’s a senior right now — at this point, now that they’ve done the three years or so of getting to perform in Waco Hall — there’s all these really cool memories,” Deal said. “And I don’t think I’m going to forget a lot of the memories that I have from performing inside of Waco Hall.”

Further, Moses said several generations of the Baylor Family have witnessed and experienced Sing in Waco Hall.

“If you were someone who performed in the 1960s, you performed at Waco Hall,” Moses said. “And the same people who maybe have had kids now or grandkids, their kids are performing on that same stage. So there’s something really beautiful about being able to sort of follow the legacy of the tradition in the same space.”

Moses said Waco Hall has become a foundational element of many campus traditions since its construction.

“We’re about to come on the 100-year [anniversary] for Waco Hall on campus,” Moses said. “And the building of Waco Hall, like the actual choice to build it, was one of the main reasons that Baylor University stayed in Waco.”

Moses said Waco Hall has become a major part of the Sing tradition, and its significance to the event should not be overlooked.

“It’s not only literally necessary for us to do [All-University Sing] in Waco Hall, but there is a story tradition … in the history of Baylor of how Waco Hall has been such a statement piece,” Moses said. “It’s such an iconic location, I think, for one of our largest on-campus traditions. It’s just a beautiful space to have it in.”

Rory Dulock is a freshman from Lindsay, Texas, who is majoring in journalism with an emphasis in news-editorial. In her first year of the Lariat, she is excited to collaborate with the other staff members and learn how the publication process works. After graduation, she plans to get her masters in journalism and go on to write for a news agency.