80 years of tradition lights up the stage

By Emily Williams, Assistant Features Editor

Murray State’s very own Campus Lights will take the stage for its 80th consecutive year with a student-produced and performed production of “Sister Act” in Lovett Auditorium on Jan. 20, 21 and 23, maintaining a cherished tradition on campus.

Since it was founded in 1938, Campus Lights has been contributing to the rich history and variety of Murray State traditions, and this year will be no different. The musical serves as an opportunity to provide scholarship funds for upcoming Murray State music students and is the philanthropy of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia and Sigma Alpha Iota.

Hunter Carter, senior from Madisonville, Kentucky, said Campus Lights was originally a fundraiser to pay for Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s charter. However, as World War II began many brothers were drafted, which prompted Sigma Alpha Iota to step in, help out and keep the tradition alive. Today, the musical remains a joint effort between the two.

Carter said originally, the fraternity wrote their own shows and performed them for Campus Lights, but about 20 years ago they began to buy rights to shows and perform Broadway musicals.

“We wanted to pick a show that was fun and well-known,” Carter said. “Our cast is having so much fun putting it all together.”

Cole Lawrence, recent Murray State graduate from Benton, Kentucky, is serving as the artistic director of this year’s musical and said Murray State students can expect the show to be very bright.

“It’s going to be really colorful this year,” Lawrence said. “The lights are going to be really bright, the costumes are all really bright and colorful, there’s a lot of dancing and singing. It’s a comedy but there are a couple of serious songs. It will probably still make people cry.”

Jessica Wiggins, junior from Cadiz, Kentucky, and member of Sigma Alpha Iota said the show to be performed is picked yearly by members of the Board of Producers in a meeting where each organization is given the opportunity to voice their opinion on what they think the show should be that particular year.

“I really think the audience can expect to feel a wave of emotions with the show this year,” Wiggins said. “It’s just a fun-filled, comedic show. It’s a great kick for our university.”

Wiggins said she thinks Campus Lights has been through the thinnest of the thin and the thickest of the thick, having started back before World War II.

“Campus Lights is the longest running, student-organized show production in the South. Period. In the entire South,” Wiggins said. “I really feel like that shows how awesome Murray State is by showing their support for Campus Lights. Without our organizations, faculty and staff, we wouldn’t have Campus Lights because they are the ones who keep it running.”

Photo courtesy of Kelli O’Toole/The News