71 years of Sing, 33 years of marriage

Ray and Paige Buckingham met in Lambda Chi Alpha and The Twist's Sing Act in 1988. Photo courtesy of Paige Buckingham

By Sarah Gallaher | Staff Writer

In 1988, two Baylor students met while participating in Lambda Chi Alpha and The Twist’s All-University Sing act. A casual meeting during rehearsal led to a lifelong commitment, and 36 years later, the Baylor alumni are happily married with two children.

Ray and Paige Buckingham live in Lawrence, Kan., working as a church facility manager and educational consultant, respectively. The pair graduated from Baylor in 1990 and married the next year.

Ray, who was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, said a group of women known as The Twist joined their act after the brothers determined they needed extra help. Rather than pairing with a sorority, the fraternity decided to find dance partners in a different way.

“We had a few good singers, but we were horrible at dancing,” Ray said. “We figured we would do something new, something that we were pretty sure hadn’t been done before. We had open auditions for the female students that would like to be in Sing and do a co-ed act with us.”

Paige, alongside an estimated 25 women, began practicing with the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha for their performance entitled “Fright Night at the Drive-in.” She said the partnership was one of the first ones to include performers outside of Greek Life.

“A couple of years before that, Sing had only been for Greek groups,” Paige said. “I think there was a lot of pushback because it’s called All-University Sing. Either that year or the year before was the first year they allowed anybody not Greek to be in it, so this was kind of revolutionary in having people be in it that weren’t in a fraternity or a sorority.”

Paige’s mother told her she would meet a member of Lambda Chi Alpha, fall in love and get married — but Paige didn’t believe her until she met Ray. She “thought he was cute” and asked a mutual friend to introduce them, later asking him out on a date to go kite-flying at Lake Waco. He declined, saying he had to study for a test, but their romance began shortly after.

“After that, it was more of a mutual thing,” Ray said. “I knew she was interested, and I really did have to study.”

Although neither Ray nor Paige expected to find their significant other while participating in Sing, they said it was a welcome surprise. To Ray, finding a spouse in college was something he had always envisioned for himself.

“I had every expectation going to college that I would probably find someone that I would be interested in marrying,” Ray said. “I dated for a purpose. I wasn’t going to date just to date. If I was going to date someone, I was going to be serious about the right one.”

Ray and Paige began dating in February 1988, toward the end of Sing rehearsals, and continued their relationship through graduation. On June 8, 1991, they got married and moved to Lawrence, Kan., where they raised their two children, Reid, 28, and Heather, 23.

The Buckinghams attribute the success of their nearly 33 years of marriage to their lasting friendship. They said they enjoy spending time together traveling, going to the theater and attending sporting events when Baylor plays at the University of Kansas.

“I think if you asked us both the same question of ‘What do you like most about your spouse?’ we’d probably both say the same answer, which is ‘I married my best friend,’” Ray said. “We’re still best friends today.”

Though marriage can be difficult, Ray and Paige still share the same spark they had while performing in Sing. Ray said their years of marriage have only brought them closer together, particularly while raising their two children.

“We not only still love each other; we still really like each other,” Paige said. “I married my best friend. I married somebody that, through the hard times, you press on — somebody that you can go to that is there for you and loves you unconditionally.”

Sarah Gallaher is a sophomore from Seattle, Washington majoring in public relations with a minor in political science. During her first year on the Lariat staff, she hopes to help inform her fellow students about things happening on campus. Sarah plans to return to Seattle after graduation to pursue a career in corporate public relations.