Ashley Hinson, Features Writer
Step Sing is the first thing to greet students returning from the long break that accompanies Jan Term. On Jan. 22, students piled into the Wright Center for Banner Drop.
Step Sing has added three new shows to the Sweepstakes ballot, raising the stakes even higher. With student involvement exceeding 1,000 participants, this is projected to be the largest show to date.
“Crossover,” the first new group, is directed by senior Olivia Cole, junior Sky Sikkink and freshman Emily O’Rear. This group is comprised of students who participate in school and club sports across Samford’s campus.
“Most of the participants are seniors who are officially done with athletics because they participate in fall sports,” Olivia Cole, a family science major, said. “However, we have a lot of soccer players who wake up for 6 a.m. fitness, go to school, have soccer practice at 3:30 and then come to Step Sing practice from 7 to 10 p.m. It’s a lot. But I told them they can do anything for three weeks.”
The Samford athletes are putting in a lot of work and realize they “lack experience,” however, Cole assures that they are “having so much fun, and that’s what matters most.”
Additionally, the newly established chapter of Tri Delta joined some of the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) sororities to establish “The Greek ADDition.” The show is directed by junior Callie Nickles, freshman Joy Cain and junior Natane Smith.
“The Greek ADDition is a group of women, both Panhellenic and NPHC, who have come together to dance, sing and have a great time,” said Nickles, a nutrition and dietetics major. “Campus Greek life can feel divided depending on if you are Panhellenic or NPHC.”
Rounding out the newly created groups are the barista ladies of the 2016 Freshman Girls show. This year, returning directors Natascha Anderson, Emily Wilson and Kenzie Krantz initiated “Sophomore Girls,” the first-ever sophomore-only group. When asked why they wanted to take on the task of creating a new group, Krantz responded that it was “too great of an opportunity to pass up.”
“We decided to start Sophomore Girls not only because the experience was so fun as freshmen, but because sophomore year is still a somewhat ambiguous year getting into shows, so we wanted to create another outlet for girls to participate in Step Sing,” Anderson said.
They feel that coming back for a second year allows them to approach the process with “confidence and take more risks.”
“This year we weren’t afraid to take chances, and we have,” Anderson said.
Following all the buzz about the new groups comes the real dilemma of Step Sing: which group will take hold of the Sweepstakes trophy. Some believe it will be the reigning champs, Dudes-A-Plenty. This year’s show is directed by seniors Rob Johnston and Hunter Gibbs.
“I have no clue whether or not Dudes will win sweepstakes this year,” Garrett Greer, who directed DAP last year, said. “Every year DAP only has two goals: to have the most fun, and to be everyone else’s biggest fans. If anyone can beat Dudes at having the most fun, then give them the trophy, but I can bet that DAP will be fighting pretty hard to have the most fun.”
The excitement for the three-day spectacular doesn’t stay within the Samford gates. This year, Step Sing watch parties are springing up all across the globe. As in the past, Step Sing will be live streamed for those who are unable to attend or purchase tickets. As part of the at-home experience, watch parties can be registered and receive party packages, which include items ranging from balloons to voting ballots.
While the trophy incites excitement and competition, Step Sing’s official philanthropy statement reminds both viewers and participants of the true motivation behind the show: “to partner with a philanthropy each year to further the mission of a life-changing organization, while bringing a deeper purpose to this wonderful Samford tradition.” This year, the chosen philanthropy is Shauna’s House, an organization created by Samford soccer coach Todd Yelton in honor of his wife Shauna who passed away from cancer in 2015. Shauna’s House is dedicated to helping young women who have just transitioned out of the orphanage system in Ukraine.
Step Sing shows will begin on Feb. 9 and run through Feb. 11 and can be live streamed at https://www.samford.edu/live.