Story by Gisselle Hernandez, Assistant Features Editor
Sigma Sigma Sigma took home the Grand Champion trophy after beating two-time champion Alpha Sigma Alpha at the 58th All Campus Sing Wednesday.
All Campus Sing, one of Murray State’s long-standing traditions, brought out students, faculty, alumni and residents of the Murray community to spread blankets and hammocks in the Quad to await the musical ride that was to come.
Master of ceremonies Logan Stout, who has hosted All Campus Sing three years in a row, describes the highly-anticipated event as “one giant picnic.” A former Racer, Stout said he enjoys hosting All Campus Sing much more than the other events he is asked to host.
“All Campus Sing is a whole different deal,” he said. “The whole community gets involved; it’s so much bigger than me or bigger than the students. It’s awesome and I love being a part of it.”
In his senior year, Stout sang at the 2011 All Campus Sing with his fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha, who took home fourth place for the fraternity category this year. He said hosting All Campus Sing makes him feel like a student again, especially seeing 1,000-plus alumni, students and their families and pets sitting on their blankets spread-out on the Quad.
Spectators took advantage of the sunny, warm weather by bringing their furry friends, from dogs to bunnies, to the event. The a capella group Cloud 9 kicked off the event, which lasted to almost 8 p.m. Twenty-two groups participated this year, ranging from independent groups and residential colleges to Greek organizations. Jennifer Roberts, All Campus Sing chairwoman, said the Sigma Alpha Iota chapter raised almost $8,000 for the People To People philanthropy, the most it’s ever raised and more than any other chapter in the country. The project funds music education in underdeveloped countries, a cause that 22 groups, along with All Campus Sing attendees, contributed to.
Roberts said it was challenging to stay organized throughout the time leading up to the event, especially because so many groups participated. She said her favorite part of All Campus Sing is seeing all the students and community come together in the end for the sound of music.
“I think it is a tradition as much to the community of Murray and to the alumni as it is to the students,” she said. “It’s pride in your alma mater, I would say.”
- Best Sorority: Sigma Sigma Sigma
- Best Fraternity: Sigma Phi Epsilon
- Best Independent: Honors College
- Best Residential College: Springer-Franklin
- Best Choreography: Kappa Delta
- Best Soloist: Black Student Council
- Best Costume: Alpha Omicron Pi
- Spirit Award: Sigma Sigma Sigma
- Spectator’s Choice: Kappa Delta
- Director’s Choice: Sigma Alpha
- Most Creative: Track and Field
- Grand Champions: Sigma Sigma Sigma
Story by Jeff Ramsey, Contributing writer
Learning the vocals, choreography and routine needed to take home a trophy at the end of All Campus Sing simply can’t be taught overnight.
Alpha Sigma Alpha has won the sorority division the last two years.
Kelsey McIlroy, sister of Alpha Sigma Alpha, took on the role of coach for the sorority when she was elected Song Leader Officer for her organization last semester.
McIlroy said she created the compilation of music for the group’s performance over Winter Break to have it ready for the practices she knew would begin as soon as the spring semester began.
Once the semester started, she said she ran into the problem of finding a place for the girls to practice. Their usual spot, the annex of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house, was being used by the sorority’s step team, so she had to outsource for a new location.
Eventually, ASA found space in the gym of First Methodist Church located in downtown Murray.
“They really helped us out a lot,” McIlroy said. “It actually worked out perfectly with everything because they had a stage for us to practice on.”
McIlroy said her dance experience began in high school, where she was active in theater and was eventually given the opportunity to choreograph a production of “High School Musical.”
She is also a member of the Patt Holt Singers, a song-and-dance show group that travels all over Missouri performing at county fairs, retirement homes and parades, even going to the White House to perform for the president.
“It just came down to breaking down the dance and teaching it, but also being patient,” McIlroy said. “Dance is not everyone’s thing, or it isn’t something they necessarily like to do. It’s a whole different experience than teaching people that have done it forever.”
McIlroy said she came up with most of the choreography, but had help from another member, Victoria Pope.
Pope, a senior member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, isn’t competing this year, instead opting to help McIlroy with the choreography and practices, having had previous dance experience in high school and college.
“We started off the year a little later than we had planned and we thought we would be behind, but our girls really stepped it up,” Pope said. “We had a smaller group this year but the girls that are competing have really tried their best to be at all of the practices and have worked really hard.”
Pope said the sorority tried something new last year and provided video resources so girls could learn the performance on their own. The tool was used again this year to help the practices run smoother.
McIlroy said girls learning dances and music on their own helped out a lot at practice.
“If you know the stuff you can have more fun with it so you’re not stressed out trying to learn it,” McIlroy said. “I think that’s really important, and I’m glad we were able to use that tool to accomplish that this year.”
Pope said this year she didn’t feel like there was as many questions about the routine as in previous years and everyone seemed to know what they were doing.
“I’ve recorded some of the practices and posted them on our page so people can see if they’re smiling, if they need to put more into it, make better faces or be sassier,” Pope said. “They can compare themselves to other people in the group and match their level. It’s really helpful because you don’t know what you look like during practice.”
Three weeks ago, the group relocated its practices to Wells Hall, which has steps similar to Lovett Auditorium, in order to help with performing on elevation and in a closed space.
During practice, the women went into organized dance instinctually, syncing into a unit in every aspect, from their warmups to their moves, all in the chilly nights that plagued the week leading up to their performance.
“It’s been really cold, but the dedication that those girls have is phenomenal, it blows my mind,” McIlroy said. “It hasn’t been raining, but even if it was sprinkling; the girls would text me and make sure I still held practice even in the rain. I just really like their enthusiasm and how they were willing to do that to help.”
Last Sunday, the group took the steps of Lovett Auditorium for an 8 a.m. practice, which McIlroy described as a quiet but rewarding practice, because everyone knew the moves.
“It was freezing because of the rain, so they weren’t super excited about being there at that time,” McIlroy said. “But they were all excited about this week and the show we’ve been working so hard on.”
Pope said the sorority normally has 100 girls participating in the event, but this year they only had close to 60.
“That’s what I like about All Campus Sing. Even though there are 50 to 100 girls depending on the year, they somehow get together and all do it,” Pope said. “Eventually, the good attitudes kick in; we get going and know that we can do well.”
When asked if she thinks the girls were nervous about the event, Pope said the nerves definitely kicked in when they put on their costumes and makeup.
“Even after being in it and stepping out to help, I’m just amazed that All Campus Sing comes together,” Pope said.
When asked about winning for the third year in a row, McIlroy said she is excited at the prospect of a three-peat, but they would have to work for it.
“Kelsey [McIlroy] has put her blood, sweat and tears into this show,” Pope said “It’s just amazing how much not only is Kelsey supporting the whole group but the whole group is supporting her whether she knows it or not.”
When asked how she felt when she took the stage, McIlroy said she barely remembered being up there and thought she was going to throw up and pass out.
“As far as the practice, I don’t think we could’ve done more to make the performance any better,” McIlroy said, after her organization was done performing. “I think we did the right amount.”
As the announcer read off the results, only one name was left to call for first place. The girls of ASA stood with faces of anticipation, clinching their fingers crossed. When the final results were announced and the group had to pass on the throne to Sigma Sigma Sigma, many of the girls fought to hold back the tears.
“It’s sad and honestly a little confusing, but we all actually had a lot of fun getting to spend time with sisters, making music and raising money for the People to People project,” McIlroy said after the final results came in.
When asked if she had any thoughts on All Campus Sing next year, McIlroy said that hopefully we will have a better idea of what the judges are looking for.
“I don’t think there was anything I would have changed in our performance,” McIlroy said. “It may not have been exactly what the judges were looking for, but we put on an amazing show and I’m proud of it.”