For Sing Song directors, the development and creation of imaginative costumes and distinctive sets is just as vital as coaching strong vocal performances.
A record 17 upstage acts performed at Sing Song 2011, with themes ranging from barnyard animals to pilots. Trojan’s director Matt Bowman, sophomore music education major from Brookhaven, Miss., said finding an original costume is key to communicating a group’s theme.
“It’s always been said that the theme is what you make it,” Bowman said. “You have things like pigs and skunks that don’t sound that great at first, but can add so much. A costume can really make or break a theme.”
Bowman said the Trojans came up with their theme “No Strings Attached” through brainstorming sessions. They ultimately decided to use the character Pinocchio for their costumes, which consisted of red shorts, a yellow shirt, a black vest, a blue bow-tie and a red hat with a green feather.
“We were sitting around trying to come up with different themes. We looked through old Sing Songs and random things,” Bowman said “We wanted to come up with something not super-manly and fun for everyone.”
The men’s social club Pi Kappa competed in Sing Song for the first time since 2003 this year. Director Luke Burnham, junior vocal music education major from Mesquite, said a well-done costume could make a good act great.
“I think costumes are really important. They can really make the difference in the acts,” Burnham said. “They can also probably save your act if it’s not very good.”
Burnham’s group adopted the theme “Potatoes O’Brien.” They dressed as leprechauns, adorned in khaki shorts, a glittery emerald-greed shirt, a green hat and a green coat. Burnham said a good Sing Song costume is original and flashy.
“We tried to really look like a leprechaun,” Burnham said. “We figured shiny vests would add some pop and pizazz.”
The class acts also have to find a way to create uniformity in their acts, apart from the natural bonds that class acts have. Junior class director Julie Neill, junior advertising and public relations major from Irving, said she tried to keep her act’s costumes affordable. The junior act performed as cats.
“Since it’s a class act, we get money from Students’ Association, so we were on a tight budget, Neill said. “My friend and I designed a shirt together and that’s part of the costume, and we pinned a sparkly cat stomach on it. We just wore black sweatpants and white socks on hands and feet. We tried to keep it pretty cheap.”
Neill said a good Sing Song costume should be flashy and eye catching. However, she said having good facial expressions is just as important.
Part of the costume is your Sing Song face,” Neill said. “Good facial expressions gives you energy and makes your act more entertaining.”
For some groups, the costumes have special meaning. The International Students Association, Essence of Ebony and Hispanos Unidos combined to create the IEH act. Each of the members dressed as crayons, emphasizing that individuals are truly fulfilled when they exhibit their “true colors.”
IEH director Rebekah Hernandez, junior psychology major from San Antonio, said the group’s costumes tell a story.
“The theme is that it is only when you show your true colors that you come to life,” Hernandez said. “The crayons all start gray and change to color. That’s the special meaning behind our costumes.”