By Leanndra W. Padgett
Songfest is a season that elicits many emotions: the joy of performing, the pride of school and organization spirit, the stress of a busy schedule, the nervousness of stage fright and the drama of working closely and intensely with a group of people. But despite these mixed feelings, the show must go on!
I’ve heard both complaints and boasts about the rigor of sorority practices and the procrastination of fraternity improvs. My experience as an Independent has been a mix of the two. It is only from the Indy perspective that I can give an authentic explanation; I cannot speak for everyone’s experience. But let me tell the truth about Songfest as I know it and try to convey why so many of us love it so much.
As an Independent, we have no obligation to perform and no roster from which to draw other participants. Those who gather practice voluntarily and, as a result, no matter how frequently rehearsals are scheduled, we never have the full cast until the night of dress rehearsal. Thursday night is the real performance.
By Friday, nobody really cares how we do since there is rarely a real chance of us winning an award. I don’t say that with a defeatist attitude. We just don’t really aim to please the judges.
It wasn’t always this way. My freshman year, we (Knight Hall) won the Georgetown Spirit Award or something to that effect. We had our version of the three dances and a tour of campus skit and did pretty well.
It was a fun time to meet other girls and get together to work on a college tradition. We were new and excited and didn’t know what to expect.
Sophomore year, participation from the Independent men was way down, so we were invited to pair up with them in our skit. That sounded fun, so we rounded up a couple of guys and managed to win Best Overall Male. I still scratch my head at that, but hey, it’s a great story.
By junior year, my friends and I were beginning to take larger leadership roles in organizing the skit. But no award. This year, as October rolled around and we had done literally nothing to prepare for Songfest, we decided to go for a different approach. “Let’s not stress over it,” we said. We did no recruitment and originally imagined that it would be a small show with about five of us close friends.
Amazingly, Independents found us and joined in the plan making (we really crawl out of the woodwork sometimes). Despite the stereotype (that we perpetuated in our performance) that Indies don’t care, the truth is, sometimes we do.
It is hard to organize Independents because we are scattered across every dorm on campus. We are the most diverse group at GC and do not ever find ourselves all in one place until graduation.
The exciting thing about working with the sub groups that do occasionally form from the pool of Independents is that you never know what you’ll get. It is great to find yourself in a random assortment of people and discover the talents of those around you. Songfest is the perfect time for this.
We can spout out self-deprecating humor like the best of them and even poke a few jokes at others as well. We put a very little effort into learning a choreographed dance and try to memorize a few lines.
So to all those underclassmen Independents — carry on the tradition. For yes, there is a tradition of Songfest excellence from the Independent camp at Georgetown College.
To briefly name some of the great moments — the Fresh Prince rap of Knight hall 2010, Mason Head and Jon Yelton’s entire performance with the voice talents of Zack Virgin (but especially the kiss), Bill Nga’s Kanye West impression in 2011, the financial aid joke of 2012 (shout out to Alex Courtenay, our script writer, for basically all four years) and Anderson Hall’s Participants’ Choice win just this year.
There are even shadowy rumors of an overall win by the Indy a few years before I got here. If you’re rusty on your Indie Songfest lore, look it up in the DVDs or ask a senior. Carry on, underclassmen. For a few minutes (16 to be exact) every year, we, as a group, get to be the center of the campus’s attention. And you know, that may be long enough.