Happy 61st birthday, All University Sing!
[Editor’s note: This story was originally slated to run a year ago today, but was never posted out of respect for the memorial service being held that day for the victims of the West explosion. As the city rebuilds a year later, please continue to keep the West community in your thoughts and prayers.]
Sixty-one years ago today, one of Baylor’s grandest traditions began when the first All University Sing was held on the Baylor campus.
Organized by Marie Wiley Mathis (just a year into what would become three decades as director of Baylor’s Student Union), the first event was held on April 25, 1953. It featured eight clubs performing “popular songs, old time favorites, and Baylor songs,” according to a brief Lariat front-page story the next week. Each act presented three songs, at least one of which had to be about Baylor. A group known as “Peer Club” won first place, followed by the Athenians and the freshman class.
Participation quickly grew, with 17 acts competing just two years later. Audiences grew as well, from a reported 13 people at that first show to 3,000 at Sing’s 10th anniversary performance in 1963. That growth went hand-in-hand with the event’s progression from its beginning as a purely vocal showcase to the song-and-dance routines we know today; such choreography became a part of the show during the 1960s.
Now in its seventh decade, All University Sing involves hundreds of Baylor students (both on stage and behind the scenes) and thousands of man-hours spent in preparation for six nights of Broadway-style song-and-dance medleys. The winning acts repeat their performances each fall at Pigskin Revue during Homecoming weekend.
While the original participants 60 years ago might not fully recognize the modern-day shows, they almost certainly would appreciate that the spirit of that first show lives on today and has been enjoyed by generations of Baylor students.
Sic ’em, Sing!