Behind the curtain: How Sing acts come together

Preparations for All-University Sing often start about a year in advance. Lariat file photo

By Jacob Boone | Staff Writer

While All-University Sing only takes place during two weekends in February, preparation for the seven-minute acts begins almost a year beforehand. Few are familiar with the full timeline behind and process of creating a Sing act.

The journey starts when fraternities, sororities and other participating clubs elect Sing chairs to lead the brainstorming and planning. Bentonville, Ark., senior and 2024 Alpha Tau Omega Sing chair Will Deal said groups often choose their chairs immediately following the conclusion of the previous Sing season.

Throughout the year, deadlines ensure the submission of the many intricate components that make a polished Sing act, culminating in the six shows in February.

Waco junior and 2024 Chi Omega Sing chair Claire Coley said groups generally develop a theme early on to tie their song and dance selections together. Initial registration for organizations opens June 2, after which groups can submit themes and songs for approval.

“I think that song selection makes or breaks an act,” Coley said. “Making sure it conveys the plot well, isn’t confusing, keeps the energy up and appeals to all generations takes a lot of attention to detail.”

The creation of the act kicks into high gear in the fall semester, while groups that placed the previous Sing season rehearse for their Pigskin Revue performances. Before the end of September, groups must submit preliminary ideas for backdrops, costumes, props and other elements.

Groups must then get approval from Waco Hall staff and Student Productions members to execute their proposed designs, especially for complex stunts, moving set pieces or lighting effects. They finalize many major aspects around the beginning of October.

After submissions wrap up in November, the real construction and choreography work begins. Professional artists are often contracted to help bring large-scale backdrop renderings to life, while students submit detailed prop drawings to be built.

The maturity of an act accelerates quickly in the spring semester. Starting Jan. 1, groups can schedule up to 10 hours of dance and vocal practice each week.

Outside of group rehearsals, Sing chairs meet regularly with the production crew to ensure acts comply with all competition guidelines and deadlines. Leading up to the performances, groups apply the final touches. Completed props are loaded into Waco Hall by late January for integration during technical rehearsals. Lighting and audio cues are refined through collaboration between the production team and a live pit band.

After nearly a year of planning, creation and rehearsal, this year’s 20 Sing acts will be finally unveiled across six shows and judged by a select panel.

“It’s one of the coolest things to see something you’ve envisioned for more than a year come to life, especially when it works the way you wanted it to for so long,” Deal said.

Jacob Boone is a Sophomore from Austin, with majors in Finance and Accounting. An Eagle Scout and Junior Spike-ball national champion, he loves the outdoors and is always hungry for competition. After graduation you will find him far away from his comfort zone.