Sing Song is a family affair for many students and alumni, but this year is particularly special for one family. Bob Hunter, senior vice president emeritus, will watch his first grandchild perform this weekend – more than 50 years after he organized the first ACU Sing Song.
Emily Phillips, freshman art education major from Colleyville, attended her first Sing Song at age 3 or 4 and has been to almost a dozen since.
“I’ve been to Sing Song basically since I was old enough to sit in an audience,” Phillips said. “I remember thinking everyone up there was so old and so cool. Now that I’m here, I don’t feel that old.”
Emily’s parents attended ACU and joined their respective clubs on the Sing Song stage. Danny, her father, was a member of Galaxy, and Carol served as president of Sigma Theta Chi. Emily’s family ties have earned her a bit of celebrity.
“People have come up to me and said, ‘Whoa. You’re Bob Hunter’s granddaughter?’ It’s been a lot of fun,” she said.
Sing Song 2010 would not be complete without its flashing lights and orchestral arrangements, but the campuswide production began as a humble student’s effort to bring fellow students together.
“We wanted to start the Sing Song my senior year as vice president of the student body, but we didn’t get approval. They didn’t know quite what it would amount to,” Hunter said.
So he and other student leaders organized an acappella quartet competition. Although some hail the contest as the first Sing Song, Hunter said it was only to prove to administrators the true Sing Song would be tasteful and orderly. It worked.
On Feb. 14, 1957, members not only of social clubs but also the French club, Ag club and others took the stage in Sewell Theatre. The modest event would eventually become a staple of ACU culture with audiences in the thousands. After the first competition it was painfully clear clubs needed to compete in divisions, so acts were divided the way they remain today. Organizing Sing Song took plenty of work, and an occasional negotiation, but Hunter took it in stride.
“Many times I had to talk the campus into letting Sub T-16 and Trojans back in after they got kicked off, but we all loved that,” Hunter said.
The first year Hunter asked Dr. William J. Teague, then-assistant to the president, to be the first Sing Song host “to make sure nothing got out of hand.” The program has grown to include between six and eight hosts and hostesses, the ACU Jazz Ensemble and this year, members of the ACU Orchestra.