By Laura Acuff, Opinion Editor
After the second round of Sing Song host auditions, senior Donovan Plummer knew he had botched it. He e-mailed his accompanist, thanking him for his help. Then Plummer waited on the phone call to make his rejection official.
“I was probably about 99 percent sure I did not make it and I had accepted that,” said Plummer, communication major from Mesquite. “I was just waiting to really hear it and to get on with my life. I didn’t try out with the intention of this making or breaking me. I was like, ‘well, that was fun, but I’m clearly not Sing Song material.'”
The phone call never came, and Plummer had to e-mail his accompanist again, this time for helping him earn a spot among this year’s six Sing Song hosts and hostesses.
Along with Plummer, Coy Greathouse, Adrienne Linge, Jessica Patterson, Jennifer Rasco and Sam Souder all made the cut in a two-part audition process that included vocal performances, sightreading and choreography, said Tom Craig, Sing Song’s managing director. Judges evaluated individual performances as well as group dynamics, looking for a group of five to seven students who performed well together.
“The hosts and hostesses are a very talented group,” Craig said. “It’s always exciting to see the talent that we have on campus. This group is no exception. They are extremely talented in very many different ways, and that will be the exciting part of Sing Song this year, to see how that talent comes to life onstage.”
While Sing Song began in 1956 with an emcee, hosts and hostesses were soon integrated because of their added entertainment factor, Craig said. They serve to provide additional amusement for audiences by singing with choreography for exactly three minutes between each act, allowing each competing group the same amount of time to transition onstage.
“Very quickly, the host and hostess numbers grew into a very exciting part of the show in and of itself,” Craig said. “They create the atmosphere for the show. They help develop the theme for the show. They create a package that has grown into a big Sing Song tradition.”
With prospective students and returning alumni visiting campus for Sing Song, Craig said the hosts and hostesses’ acts target three different generations: prospective and current students, parents and grandparents.
“They sing pop songs that hopefully will appeal to several different demographic groups,” Craig said. “You may hear something that is very current and on the radio now. You may hear something from the ’80s. You may hear something from the ’50s or ’60s, but that’s our audience.”
Next steps in the preparation process for Sing Song include song selection, costuming and a fitness regime being developed by members of the Department of Exercise Science and Health.
“To be a host or hostess, it’s very demanding physically because you are basically, through your choreography, doing an aerobic workout for two hours onstage and trying to sing at the same time,” Craig said. “It’s easy to lose your breath.”
Hosts and hostesses will begin meeting in the next few weeks. After Thanksgiving, when musical arrangements are finalized, the group will begin rehearsing at least a couple of hours every other day, Craig said. Following a retreat to learn music over Christmas break, the spring semester brings an even more intense schedule, including practices potentially as long astwo hours daily in addition to whatever extra practice the individuals desire. However,Craig said practices are structured around the students’ schedules.
“We are very cognizant about their time,” Craig said. “They are students, and it’s very important to us that we always keep the academic focus first. We’re not here just to have fun, although it is a lot of fun.”
Scheduled for Feb. 20-21, Sing Song 2009’s theme is “Believe.” Advance tickets will be available for purchase during Homecoming, and online tickets will go on sale Nov. 3.