Spring Sing witnesses developments over the decades

Gamma Rho performing the Can-Can in the 2017 Spring Sing show at Oklahoma Christian. Photo by Jake Whiteley.

Gamma Rho performing the Can-Can in the 2017 Spring Sing show at Oklahoma Christian. Photo by Jake Whiteley.

The long-standing, annual tradition of Oklahoma Christian University Spring Sing has witnessed several innovations and additions since its inception in 1969.

Professor of Psychology and Family Studies Bobby Kern was a member of Alpha Gamma Omega during his time at Oklahoma Christian from 1995-2000. During his time in Alpha, Kern participated in Spring Sing as a Viking, Eskimo, headhunter, out-of-work Santa Claus and knight.

Over the years Kern said a major change in the show is the switch from live music to recorded music during club performances. As opposed to current Alpha members of 2017, Kern said he never performed with piped-in music.

“Throughout the ‘90s we were known for having a live band,” Kern said. “We had a good number of the club onstage doing the dancing, but we also had a large amount of guys who wrote the music and played live.”

Kern said another change over the years is the addition of video blurbs in the shows. According to Kern, these developments make Spring Sing more suitable for younger audiences.

“The video blurbs are a great way to kick off each show,” Kern said. “Any tweaks you can make to stay relevant are good. Spring Sing hasn’t lost any of its luster.”

The appeal of Spring Sing continues to draw both club members and audiences because of the unique, creative elements and development of relationships, Kern said.

“As someone in Spring Sing, the best thing about it was the camaraderie,” Kern said. “You always knew in the spring you were going to get closer to the guys [in club]. As someone who watches it, I just love the imagination. I love the themes they’re doing now. They’re hilarious.”

Along with Kern, Welcome Center Coordinator Amy Gower said she also had the opportunity to participate in Spring Sing during her Oklahoma Christian experience as a Theta Theta Theta dove from 1984-1988.

Of the adjustments made since her time on the stage, Gower said one of the most significant is the diversity of costume style. Typically, recent shows consist of stage performers divided in two different outfits — a relatively new concept according to Gower.

“Instead of just one central character, we were all different characters,” Gower said. “In my ‘Coke’ year, some of us were cans and types of Coke — diet Coke, cherry Coke — [and] some of us were carhops.”

Gower said she has also noticed old traditions integrated into recent Spring Sing performances, such as the appearance of white gloves on stage.

“They’re coming back a little, especially with Theta,” Gower said. “I think some of the other clubs are realizing white gloves make a big difference.”

However, Gower said despite the evolution of Spring Sing, there is one constant aspect of the production for those involved.

“It’s where you bond. It’s the one time where all the girls are together for that amount of time, working together, getting to know each other,” Gower said. “Even girls you may not know. If you’re standing by them, you get to know them.”

According to Gower, Spring Sing develops deep ties of unity within each club.

“Even with sports in your club you’re separated — A, B, C — you have different leagues,” Gower said. “But in Spring Sing, you’re all on the same playing field. I think in Spring Sing you develop friendships you normally wouldn’t.”

From 1993-1997, Director of Alumni Communications and Research Chris Adair sang and danced three of his four years as a bull of Delta Gamma Sigma.

Adair said since his Spring Sing years he has noticed modifications in recent choreography and lyrical composition. Where lyrics once was a critical part of each show, Adair said their importance has gradually faded.

“The choreography has gotten a lot faster because the music is faster,” Adair said. “The lyrics, probably in some ways, aren’t as important because the music covers them.”

According to Adair, Spring Sing has developed into not only an annual tradition for the university, but also for families and alumni.

“More and more we’re getting second and third generations of people who went to school here,” Adair said. “They want to come back to see their kids and grandkids participate in Spring Sing.”

Each year Adair said he notices each club’s dedication to creating an entertaining show. Although the production requires hard work and time sacrifices, Adair said it’s worth it.

“It’s one of those things where you may not necessarily be excited to do it, but you’re always glad you did,” Adair said. “I thought it was a great chance to spend time with everybody.”

This year’s 2017 “Rewind the Clock” production will be held Friday, March 3 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 4 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets are available for purchase here.

 

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