In Zeroes and Ones, we talk about technology and the many ways it affects our daily lives. It’s easy to argue that technology has improved many aspects of the way we go through the day consuming information and entertainment. But in the spirit of the season, let’s take a look at something that has barely been touched by technology in its 50 year run: Sing Song.
This annual show has always been about the voices. Groups have to work against certain restrictions on budget and practice time, and of course instruments are nixed. With these restrictions, it can be very difficult to incorporate very much tech into one’s act.
The most technology I’ve seen in this year’s Sing Song acts were Ko Jo Kai’s lighted costumes and the interesting bobble-head mechanisms found within the Senior act’s baseball caps. The former example, according to Ko Jo Kai director Lauren Ash, caused quite a bit of effort in ordering the light equipment and getting it to work with the costumes, not to mention many subsequent re-workings of the design and equipment that followed.
Perhaps that is the charm of Sing Song. Entertainment has evolved over the last half century with new music and film making techniques. Today we have high definition and 3D television shows and movies.
But Sing Song has mostly remained unchanged in its formula and execution. The acts you saw this weekend could have for the most part been done back in Sing Song’s inaugural year in 1956. Likewise, this weekend’s acts could very well be recreated 50 years from now, and would probably still fit in.
Sing Song hasn’t changed much in the past half century, and it doesn’t show any signs of changing anytime soon. We might travel to Sing Song in different ways, be it a tele-porter, flying cars or personal jet packs. We might not even need to leave our homes as we watch it on our 3D hologram televisions, but what we watch will be more or less what we see today.
It’s all about tradition, and Sing Song is well rooted in it. The sets and props may be constructed in new, more efficient ways, new hand motions may become the norm, and perhaps someone will invent a 16-part harmony, but it will still be in the familiar style that Sing Song patrons have come to know and expect. It is this timelessness of the concept that will keep this annual show bringing in thousands from around the world year after year.