Tonight is the final night of All University Sing 2009. 17 acts will cross the stage and be seen by 2200 enthusiastic audience members. We will perform the four hour show with all the skill that months of preparation and weeks of rehearsal have given us, and God (and the sound dept.) willing, the judges will arrive at a decision over who gets to go on to Pigskin in the fall.
This year has been an incredible experience for me. It’s the 19th Sing I’ve been involved in and I’ve loved every minute of getting to know the Sing chairs and sharing in their journey. This afternoon I was able to meet many of their parents at the open stage reception and it was fun to be paparrazzi’d by all the cameras. What an amazing job I have.
Tonight is also very bittersweet. This year, especially. Normally when they announce the eight acts that will be going on to perform in Pigskin, at least six of them are unsurprising. Tonight’s final judging results are all up in the air. The acts are really, really close and if you ask ten people you’ll get ten lists of finalists that disagree with each other. The groups know this so they’re all sprinting as hard as they can for the finish line trying to polish and tweak, refine and change, and generally make everything as perfect as it can be. The director told me the other day that the groups who are able to sustain the pace are the ones who will make it, and I definitely agree. For the band, though, it’s a tough night since we have to sustain the energy not just for one seven minute act, but for almost four hours of playing, and we go into tonight having rehearsed and performed for two tiring weeks.
It’s been a real joy to be involved in so much excellence and competition- to exhaust myself being with people who want to do something to the fullest extent of their abilities. Someone joked today that I need a T-shirt that says “Switzerland” since I help so many groups, but the truth is that I honestly do want all 16 of my acts to go to Pigskin, and work as hard as I know how to make sure that their ideas are as fully performed as possible. Tonight it will be an utter joy to rejoice with those who win and, this year especially, weep with those who who don’t. Almost a year of work went into the show for some of these groups and they know how close it will be.
Ultimately, though, it’s not about who wins or loses, but about being a part of a tradition that dates back 56 years. I got this email from an alumni chair not long ago that describes it well.
For me the best part of the our act was recognizing dance moves and ideas that stemmed from us. I didn’t quite get what you told me last year about how it is not about Pigskin. But once I saw our act this year, I understood that all the work we put in it was not for nothing. It was very satisfying to know that a piece of the three of us is still in the act. Knowing that I contributed something to the group means more to me than us going to Pigskin last year. Thanks for helping me realize that!
What a privilege to participate in such a show. Don’t miss pictures from this year!