In 1988, then sophomore India Medders-Galyean took to the stage as a Spring Sing hostess. Thirty years later, her daughter, sophomore Ava Galyean will continue her legacy as a hostess in the 2018 production.
According to Ava Galyean, becoming a hostess has been her goal since she first saw a Spring Sing production with her mother in third grade.
“My mom judged Spring Sing, and I came to visit Harding for the first time. I was in awe of the production and went to every single show that she would let me,” Ava Galyean said. “I knew mom had been a hostess, too, so of course, it became a Harding goal of mine. I knew she really loved her time as hostess and the relationships she made through it. I wanted to experience that, too.”
Alumna India Medders-Galyean said she loves the tradition of Spring Sing and is excited for her daughter to experience it as a hostess.
“I can’t think of any other event on other college campuses where the majority of the student body comes together to put on a show,” India Medders-Galyean said. “I have wonderful memories of being hostess and being in club shows … and I also loved being part of the Spring Sing tradition. That’s what made me so excited for Ava. She’ll always be a part of Harding history. It’s very special.”
According to Ava Galyean, getting to follow in the footsteps of her mother makes the event even more monumental.
“This is such a unique experience, and I still can’t believe I get to share it with her,” Ava Galyean said. “My mom is one of my favorite people. … Knowing how much she loves this experience for me and how proud of me she is has made it all a million times more incredible.”
Costume designer and costume shop coordinator McKay Murray, who worked with both Ava Galyean and India Medders-Galyean, said this mother-daughter moment is one all parents long for.
“As a mom myself, I can say that it is always very special when the things that mean a lot to you become meaningful to your children as well,” Murray said. “Parents want their children to find success in the pursuit of their dreams. We love to see our children happy and successful. … Ava and her mom will share a memory the rest of their lives of what it was like to perform on the Benson stage before a Harding audience.”
India Medders-Galyean said, as the years have gone by, the details of the shows she was a part of have faded, but the friendships she made during that time have not.
“I remember the people,” India Medders-Galyean said. “My fellow hosts and hostesses were, and still are, dear friends. The directors treated us like family. You really had a feeling that you were a part of something very special.”
Ava Galyean said she also found this to be true.
“What I love most about being hostess is the relationships I’ve made,” Ava Galyean said. “I remember at host callbacks thinking, ‘if there’s any chance I get this, and could choose one other person here to share this opportunity with, it would be (junior) Caroline Ritchie,’ and now here we are!”
According to Ritchie, Ava Galyean was the performer she most hoped to work with as well.
“Ava and I were definitely friends before this semester, having done ensemble together last year, but this semester I have been so blessed by her kindness, humor and thoughtfulness,” Ritchie said. “I think the cast can start to feel like a family because of all the time that you spend together putting hard work into this show. By the time the show opens, each and every one of us has poured countless hours into producing the best show possible and something that we are proud of.”
According to Ava Galyean, she practices about 15 hours every week, has 14 costume changes in the show and has learned four major dances.
Although she was in ensemble last year and knows the stress of a Spring Sing performance, Ava Galyean said being a hostess has increased the pressure she feels to perform.
“Knowing how well my mom did in Spring Sing has given me enormous shoes to fill,” Ava Galyean said. “I’m more than thrilled to get to try and fill them, but it is a little stressful. I always say my mom is ‘the better version of me,’ so I just hope I can live up to her performances and her legacy.”
Ritchie said she has no doubt that Ava Galyean will do so.
“Ava is motivated to get work done and is a good leader for the rest of the group when we’re learning choreography,” Ritchie said. “Ava and her mom are very close and so it has been so cool to get to see Ava working hard to put on a good show not only as an individual, but as sort of a legacy. She is so excited to make her mom proud. She is so proud to be her mama’s daughter.”