To Harding students, faculty and alumni alike, Spring Sing takes over campus as the biggest event of the semester and possibly of the year. Even though it began in 1974, Spring Sing seems to be as eternal as Harding itself, and though there may be additions, the basic structure remains unchanged from its inception. This structure seems quite simple: clubs mesh together to make a seven-minute show that competes against other shows for a donation to the charity of their choice as well as a number of awards. During Easter weekend, students dressed in various, often outlandish costumes take control of the Benson stage and sing and dan — perform choreography — to hit songs, rewritten to fit each show’s theme. Then, there is the overall theme that directs the four hosts and hostesses.
While Spring Sing certainly draws in a large crowd for Harding every year, many of its sister schools gear up for their own versions of Spring Sing under various names. So how do they compare with Harding’s staple show of the spring?
Abilene Christian University (ACU): Sing Song
ACU lays claim to the oldest show on this list, as Sing Song began in 1956. While it may be the original, Sing Song is perhaps the least like Harding’s production. According to ACU senior marketing major Manaia Broom and senior criminal justice major Philomena DeHoyos, Sing Song does not allow clubs to comalberate for a show. There are three categories: men’s clubs, women’s clubs and mixed voices. The mixed voices category is devoted to students who are not in a club or choose not to compete with their clubs, but are instead sorted by years.
Other major differences lie on the technical side. Sing Song is performed on the “Sing Song Stage,” which is essentially a set of risers or steps that everyone in the show must stand on or build upon. Each show must meet the overall theme of Sing Song and has a time limit of three-and-a-half minutes. The shows are performed live in unrecorded acapella, and the choreography is limited.
“We do choreography, but it’s more like hand movements and steps,” Broom said. “We are not allowed to do certain moves like finger guns or gyrating.”
DeHoyos added that these limitations helped Sing Song directors get more creative with their shows.
“Sing Song is like, ‘How many different things can we do with our arms in the time limit?’” DeHoyos said. “It’s cool to see how people get creative with the theme and the limitations that surround it.”
Sing Song typically occurs around Valentine’s Day each year, and the winner gets a sum of money for the charity of their choice, and a trophy that they keep for a week. The winners of each individual category gets a trophy that reflects the theme of that year’s show.
Freed-Hardeman University (FHU): Makin’ Music
Started in 1978, Makin’ Music includes music, skits and videos from six hosts/hostesses and five club shows. Clubs are allowed to collaborate and create a show out of the mix. According to FHU senior exercise major Cody Nicholson, the shows have the same stressful and hectic practice schedule as Harding, including a Super Saturday in which there are about 28 hours of practice the weekend before the show. In fact, Makin’ Music may be the closest production to Spring Sing at a sister school. Each show must be no longer than seven and a half minutes long, and even some of the terminology sounds similar.
“Lyrics (and choreography) must be kept FHU appropriate,” Nicholson said.
The week of Makin’ Music has a striking resemblance to Spring Sing, as it includes a club exclusive first viewing on Monday, a dress rehearsal on Tuesday and a Thursday matinee for local elementary students. However, Makin’ Music has no Thursday night performance.
One major different between Makin’ Music and Spring Sing is that Makin’ Music is almost entirely student-led. Nicholson was one of the student producers for the 2017 production and played a huge role in the overall execution, and this was a role that Nicholson claimed to really love.
“My favorite thing about Makin’ Music is watching so many different shows come to life on stage and seeing how well each one is executed during the three performances,” Nicholson said.
Lipscomb University: Singarama
Founded in 1963, Singarama also boasts a central theme, hosts and hostesses and a charitable donation given to the winning shows’ chosen cause. But it also possesses several differences. According to Bethany Rowland, Lipscomb senior theatre directing major and director of the winning 2017 Singarama show, Singarama consists of three nights of host and hostess songs and three individual shows, each of which is made up of various clubs and friends of 100-150 people. Each individual show is around 25 minutes long and consists of eight songs and scripted dialogue between each song. Each song must be in the vicinity of one to one and a half minutes long.
“(Each show) is basically a musical, but much shorter,” Rowland said.
Singarama presents a different award after each performance. The award presented Thursday night will be for theme, Friday night for music, Saturday afternoon for staging and Saturday night for the overall sweepstakes award. Singarama usually occurs around Easer, with this year’s show occurring from April 6-8.
Oklahoma Christian University (OCU): Spring Sing
Started in 1969, OCU’s Spring Sing bears the same name but is a slightly different show than Harding’s. According to recent OCU graduate Josh Messick, OCU’s Spring Sing is a completely live performance with no collaborations between OCU clubs. Each club must perform individually, and they have their own individual flair, according to Messick.
“(Each club) brings together their own signature style; for instance, my club, Kappa Sigma Tau, had the Kappa Snaps,” Messick said. “We also get to design individualized banners to promote our shows.”
Like Harding’s Spring Sing, OCU has multiple practices per week that culminates into the final five-and-a-half to six minute show on the big nights. However, Messick sites execution as the biggest difference between the two.
“I guess a lot of the difference is the pace of it all, because Harding looks a bit more theatrical,” Messick said. “OC’s is a lot more fast-paced.”
In the end, the winners go home with a cash prize and bragging rights.