The official Sing Song archives launched in October, making almost every act available to the public online.
Nick Tatum, director of student productions, created the Sing Song archives with the help of Courtney McGaha, Sing Song archivist, to preserve the history of one of ACU’s longest standing traditions. The archives include audio, video, pictures and articles from each annual show, beginning in 1957.
McGaha said the purpose of the archives is more than to simply preserve history, but also to connect students and alumni over their shared experiences. From her first time participating in Sing Song, she discovered her interest in the event’s history.
McGaha’s parents participated in Sing Song when they were students, and lent her their old recordings from the event. When McGaha noticed the recordings’ deteriorating condition, she converted them to mp3 format to preserve them.
“After that, I became concerned that all the recordings of other years were also being lost to time and old age,” said McGaha.
“Before I graduated, I managed to find a large number of those recordings and convert them, but as I was only doing it for friends, family and for my own interest. I never thought I would get the opportunity to complete the collection.”
When Tatum found out about McGaha’s project, he asked her to finish the archives. He asked McGaha to upload every piece of history they could recover online for students and alumni to enjoy.
“I jumped at the chance to be able to preserve as many as I could find,” said McGaha. “I was so excited to finally be able to forever share all of these memories with those that were there and are those that are just now discovering what Sing Song is.”
Throughout the process, McGaha digitized every reel-to-reel, vinyl LP, cassette tape, VHS tape or DVD from 62 years of Sing Song. She then went through every version of ACU’s former yearbook, the Prickly Pear, and the Optimist online to find articles applicable to each Sing Song show.
McGaha concluded the process by scanning each Sing Song program and building the website. Going forward, she will maintain the files and archival site.
“We believe that in order to take Sing Song into the future, its unique heritage needed to be understood and appreciated,” said McGaha. “This is one of ACU’s greatest traditions and we wanted to make sure everyone could enjoy it to the fullest extent.
This will be Nick Tatum’s first Sing Song as director of student productions. Because of this, Tatum made changes to ensure participating acts were gathering necessary content to continue the Sing Song archives.
Each act will be required to choose a theme previously performed by any group before 2000. In addition, each performance must include one song from the original act.
“To know where we should go, we need to understand where Sing Song has been,” Tatum said. “We’re hoping this twist excites students, adds an interesting challenge and ultimately creates an enjoyable show.”
View the Sing Song Archives at https://www.acustupro.com/archives