By Shea Rattan
Students who have seen or participated in Sing Song can remember the tense silence that blankets Moody Coliseum at the end of the show Saturday night. The songs are sung, the arms are waved and the votes are cast; all that remains is the all-important announcement: Who won?
In the past, the award for best overall performance in each category was mostly personal satisfaction. This year, however, is different. Winners will have the privilege of choosing a charity to receive $1,000. Winning acts will also receive a trophy that will be displayed in a newly built trophy case until next year’s contest.
“It’s cool to have something else to motivate you,” said Sing Song Co-chair Rebecca Hopkins, junior speech pathology major from Edmond, Okla. “When it’s all over, you can say, ‘We won Sing Song, and this is what we did with it.”
Each Sing Song act has already selected its charity, although only three – best overall in women’s, men’s and mixed voices – will receive the prize money. Alumni, students and other donors provided the funding for the charitable donations.
The trophy cup is another idea intended to motivate students to work harder, said Tom Craig, director of student productions and Sing Song director.
Co-chair Preston Woolfolk, senior political science major from San Antonio, said the co-chairs weren’t completely satisfied with Sing Song, so he proposed the idea in hopes of raising Sing Song’s perfectly pitched standards to something more than a weekend of entertainment. His peers agreed.
“This way it’s not about us; it’s about serving other people,” said Amy Archer, an upstage manager at Sing Song and sophomore nursing major from Pflugerville.
Woolfolk added another dimension by getting the audience involved in the contributions to each charity, Hopkins said. During each show, buckets will be passed around for the audience to contribute money, and donation stations will be set up around Moody for people to give as they choose.
“It’s an event they already love, and now it’s doing something to give back,” she said.
Now, Hopkins said, even students who are not involved with Sing Song perhaps can begin to appreciate all Sing Song has to offer.
“A lot of students don’t feel like Sing Song is worth the amount of time you put into it,” she said. “Hopefully, they might see that there really is a meaning behind the show.”
According to Craig, this is not the first time Sing Song winners have donated to a good cause. In the past, victors made a donation to ACU by contributing to Spring Break Campaigns and campus improvements, among other things. Charitable contributions, however, simply enhance the much-loved event, Craig said.
“It’s one of the strongest components of the student-life experience that almost marries a student to the university,” he said. “The return is not the rewards in the end. The real return is the friendships you make and the relationships you make and the memories you have.”