Story by Craig Taylor, Contributing writer
Campus Lights is a student-run organization of members from Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Sigma Alpha Iota that produces a musical each year to raise money for scholarships for music students at Murray State. This year is the 79th year, making Campus Lights the longest-running student-produced and performed musical in the south.
Campus Lights is one of the many traditions here at Murray State, but what really goes into the whole production to make it such a big tradition?
Mallory Priddy, senior from Russellville, Kentucky, is a sister of Sigma Alpha Iota and serves as the treasurer for Campus Lights.
“The Gamma Delta Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia founded Campus Lights in 1938. The show originated as a fundraiser to pay for the fraternity’s charter,” Priddy said. “During World War II, the sisters of Sigma Alpha Iota stepped in to help the continuation of Campus Lights and renamed Campus Lights to Campus Dim-Out, while the brothers of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia were serving our country.”
She said after returning from the war, both organizations decided to rename the organization Campus Lights and to partner to keep the tradition going here at Murray State.
The process of producing such shows for Campus Lights is quite lengthy and is all started in the spring semester of each year.
Members of both organizations, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Sigma Alpha Iota, can serve on the Board of Producers.
“The Board of Producers are the people who handle the logistics and the pre-planning for Campus Lights,” Priddy said. “Each year we decide on different shows and finalize the show ideas down to five and present them to each organization.”
“There’s actually a lot of planning that goes into producing such productions that we perform,” Priddy said. “We have literally three weeks to build the sets, have the cast memorize their lines and songs, gather tickets and publicize before opening night.”
Campus Lights has many different supporters through alumni, departments and offices.
“We honestly couldn’t keep doing what we’re doing if it wasn’t for all of the supporters,” Priddy said. “We have the Office of Development, Student Affairs, Alumni Student Association and many other great supporters that help the funding and the life of Campus Lights, and we’re super grateful for them.”
“This year is the 79th year for Campus Lights and we’re excited to announce that Campus Lights will be presenting ‘HAIRSPRAY The Broadway Musical.’” Priddy said, “This year is also very special to Murray State because it’s the 60th anniversary of integration on Murray State’s campus.”
This year’s production of “HAIRSPRAY The Broadway Musical” will be held between Jan. 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and Jan. 24 at 2:30 p.m. in Lovett Auditorium. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and $7 for children. For ticket reservations, visit campuslights.org.