Each year, a group of musically talented students audition to host Spring Sing. This year, six students were given the opportunity to perform songs between the club shows that correlate with this year’s Spring Sing theme, “Land That We Love.”
Ali Autrey, an accounting major from Kennedale, Texas, is a first-time host, though she has tried out for the position previously. Autrey has participated in Spring Sing as a freshman and in Gamma Rho’s Candy Land show as a sophomore.
“Since I came to school here, I always wanted to be a host,” Autrey said. “I tried out for it last year and didn’t get it, and then I tried out again this year and I’m so excited it worked out.”
According to Autrey, her passion for music was inspired by her family.
“My mom and dad initially inspired my love for music from a young age,” Autrey said. “They were always singing and performing at church events and around the house. Throughout growing up, and discovering who I was, I constantly carried this passion to sing, develop my own style and share it with others.”
After loosing her mother, Laura, in the summer of 2013, Autrey said that she knows her mom would be proud of her for pursuing her dreams.
“I remember moments when we actually talked about me hopefully being on the Spring Sing stage as a host one day,” Autrey said. “I know she would be so proud of me and is so proud of me.”
Kirby Allen, a music education major from Dallas and member of Kappa Sigma Tau, is hosting for his second year in a row. Allen said that hosting is “dramatically different” from participating in a club show.
“In a club show it’s all about the group mentality and matching with each other,” Allen said. “With hosting there’s more freedom for individuality. One isn’t better than the other.”
Allen said he enjoys hosting more than participating in Spring Sing with a club.
“I had done two club shows and I really enjoyed it,” Allen said. “I wanted to make sure I had the full experience before I left. Then I was just hooked, and I loved it. I really wanted to do it again before I left.”
Allen said Spring Sing is good preparation for his future in music.
“I want to be a high school choir director,” Allen said. “So performing and practices, hearing harmonies, it’s all really good. All performance has something in common.”
Kendall Haliburton, English education major from Oklahoma City, is hosting for the first time after directing Theta Theta Theta’s show last year, though she is now a non-club member.
“I really enjoyed doing the musicals at OC,” said Haliburton. “And being involved in other activities. Club just wasn’t for me. I just couldn’t do the time commitment.”
Haliburton said she brings previous stage experience to her role as host.
“I wanted to be a host because it’s different,” Haliburton said. “I didn’t get to have that experience last year and I love performing. I’ve grown up on stage, so it’s not better or worse it’s just different.”
Haliburton said that she’s enjoyed the experience of hosting because of the positive focus it adds to her life during a time of hardship.
“This has been a really good environment to be in,” Haliburton said. “It’s kind of been a hard semester with me. My family has been through a lot of stuff, so it’s really good to have something to focus my time and energy on. It’s been really good for me”
Jabbarri Jones is hosting Spring Sing for the second time since 2013.
“I think I’m more polished as a performer,” Jones said. “And I think I’ve kind of grasped the essence of being a host. The first time I was like the new kid on the block.”
Jones is a musical performance major and a member of Psi Epsilon.
“I’ve learned new things about my voice, and I’ve learned more about stage performance since I’ve been here,” Jones said. “I think it will be a very different experience.”
With a minor in theater, Jones said he plans to pursue a future in music and performance.
“My plan is to graduate in December and save up to move to New York,” Jones said. “I want to be on Broadway, that’s been a big dream of mine.”
Jones said he sees performances like Spring Sing as good preparation for a career in music.
“I think I see shows as bigger than they are,” Jones said. “I always perform like it’s my last time performing. I like to give a full performance.”
Amy Winn, from Shawnee, Oklahoma and member of Iota Kappa Phi, is also hosting for the first time.
“Last year I directed Iota’s show,” Winn said. “So I’m kind of trying to cover all my bases.”
Winn, a family studies/child development major, said she’s unsure of her favorite Spring Sing role.
“I loved directing, and I love doing the club shows,” Winn said. “But it will be such a different experience being a host and getting to do my own thing. I’m really excited about that.”
Winn said that a host’s focus is different from that of a director or performer.
“Whenever I directed Iota, I had to take care of and figure out what 55 or 60 girls were doing,” Winn said. “In this case I focus on what my individual role is and what I need to contribute. It’s almost more pressure having to take care of just myself.”
Winn said that hosting Spring Sing is something she’s wanted to do for a long time.
“I’ve been around OC my entire life, and have watched Spring Sing since I was born,” Winn said. “And I’ve been singing my entire life also, so it was just something I really wanted to do. So I got it and it was just crazy because this is something I’ve wanted to do my entire life.”
Winn said that she’s excited for the hosts’ hard work to pay off in the final show.
“I’m really excited for everyone to see the show,” Winn said. “It’s been a lot of fun. I think my favorite part is kicking the beach balls at people, that’s really fun.”
“I was host my freshman year,” Sean Steele said. “I was in a show my sophomore year, I directed last year and I’m hosting again this year.”
Steele, a dual major in musical education and Bible from Flower Mound, Texas, said he prefers hosting to the other roles he has previously filled.
“It’s what I do most of the time, so it’s not as much pressure,” Steele said. “Directing was also a ton of fun, but it was the most exhausting. We got second though so it was worth it.”
Steele is a member of Psi Epsilon and has worked with fellow host Jabbarri Jones in the past.
“Jabbarri and I hosted together freshman year,” Steele said. “We both talked about it and we’re stoked to do it this year. It’s just fun, and it’s a little bit more laid back than some of the more formal performing, which is what I do outside of here.”
Steele said that he’s looking forward to the upcoming performances.
“It’s just been super fun,” Steele said. “And we couldn’t do it without our tech guys, we need them.”
Photos by Hayley Waldo.