Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and Delta Gamma sorority rehearse for their production performance for Friday’s Spring Sing. The Spring Sing tradition originally began as an annual Pan-Hellenic competition called Greek Sing.
PART"ˆFOUR IN"ˆA"ˆSERIES:"ˆSPRING SING 2011
Performers new and old compete in the solo and duo categories.
Preview the a cappella groups that belt on stage with their voices alone.
Production brings music, dance and narrative to the Los Angeles Tennis Center.
By Alex Goodman
May 19, 2011 12:14 a.m.
In 15 years of dancing, Abi Ameele has choreographed performances for groups as small as two people and as large as 90. But she always choreographed for dancers, until this year when she put together the moves for Strathmore Players’ Spring Sing set.
“I taught a lot of people rhythm,” Ameele said. “They had to learn how to move.”
Also a second-year microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics student, Ameele said she thought small when designing the steps, while still allowing room for the more experienced dancers in the group to show off.
The Strathmore Players is a 40-person collective, the maximum number allowed for the productions category, and comprises mostly members of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Eight of them will be playing live music while the rest will be dancing.
The group, named because it was made of friends who lived on Strathmore Drive, first entered Spring Sing two years ago. That year, they performed a musical version of the Tom Cruise movie “Jerry Maguire.”
Strathmore Players skipped the event in 2009, but this year second-year undeclared student Spencer Davis and second-year theater student Adam Eplebaum, both members of Zeta Beta Tau, decided to revive the group. After conferring for some time with members of the original squad, Davis and Eplebaum wrote the script, which follows in the tradition of the original performance, in one night.
They both drew from creative backgrounds: Davis is applying to the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and Eplebaum regularly performs stand-up comedy. But then they handed the material over to Ameele, and Eplebaum said the result was much better than he had envisioned.
“I see guys I usually see doing a keg stand doing a dance move,” Eplebaum said.
Though not officially representing Zeta Beta Tau and Kappa Alpha Theta, Strathmore Players suggests the tradition of the productions category, which extends back to when the event was called Greek Sing and showcased the talents of UCLA’s fraternities and sororities. One of their competitors, a collaboration between Pi Kappa Phi and Delta Gamma, represents that history more explicitly.
Marisa Huff, a second-year world arts and cultures student and Delta Gamma’s director of production, said Spring Sing is a major part of her house’s legacy, as they have performed in the event since it carried its original title. As the only production group to officially represent traditional Greek organizations, Delta Gamma and Pi Kappa Phi maintain Spring Sing’s connection to history, she said.
“One thing UCLA is great at is respecting tradition,” she said.
Their set will resemble performances typical to productions more closely than Strathmore Players, Huff said, using a variety of music that includes hip-hop and old school.
Attendees will also see a fairly traditional number from OmeChi, although the group actually represents something of a new chapter for Spring Sing. Its members come from Omega Sigma Tau and Chi Alpha Delta, a fraternity and sorority from the Asian Greek Council.
OmeChi’s performers are not new to the stage ““ they perform each year in a talent show put on by Asian Greek organizations from across the state. But those events are not nearly as large as Spring Sing, said Alex Liu, second-year economics and world arts and cultures dance student.
He also said that the talent shows present singers and dancers in separate categories, so for Spring Sing they had to merge everyone together and simplify the choreography to accommodate the members who are known for their vocal skills. Liu will be one of OmeChi’s three singers, out of 23 total performers.
“The singing is a little more theatrical,” Liu said. “Everything is toned down to blend everything together.”
He said the group also chose a theme that would cater to everyone, more so than they usually do for the talent shows, when only Asian fraternities and sororities are in the audience. The goal is not to win Spring Sing, he said, but to add a new face to the productions category’s long-standing tradition.
“We want to put ourselves out there next to the other Greek organizations,” Liu said.