In 1951, The Samford Crimson published a small article on Friday, Oct. 12, 1951 about “Campus Step Sing” happening Tuesday, Oct.16 at the steps of Renfroe Hall on Howard College’s East Lake Campus. This would become the university’s first Step Sing show, one that would continue to be a part of Samford’s traditions over 70 years later.
According to Samford University, six years later, in 1957, Howard College moved to its current location on Lakeshore Drive in Homewood, bringing the new singing and dancing tradition along with it. However, Step Sing wouldn’t be held in the Wright Center until 1976. While it is unclear where Step Sing was being performed between 1957 and 1975, some photos in the university’s yearbook, Entre Nous, during that time frame show Step Sing occurring in a basketball court or a theater stage.
Step Sing became an opportunity for many student groups and organizations to come together and be a part of a long-standing tradition. While today most of the groups consist of Greek students or organizations, there were many other groups that performed in Step Sing back in the day, including the senior classes and campus ministries. There are also many Greek organizations that participated in Step Sing during their time on Samford’s campus that are no longer on campus, including Delta Zeta, Alpha Phi Omega and more.
Step Sing involves groups of students singing and dancing along a grid on stage. Each group’s show focuses on a specific theme, whether it be cavemen or the little green army men toys. Each group performs for around five minutes. Step Sing is held from Thursday to Saturday, with a total of four shows. However, the most important show is on Saturday night, called Sweepstakes. During the Saturday night show, guest judges will appear and judge each performance based on choreography, characters, story, and their overall performance that night. This will determine who is the winner of Step Sing that year, and that group will receive the Sweepstakes trophy. Audience members may hear other Step Sing participants cheering on from the balcony that night as they watch their friends and classmates perform their hearts out.
Today, 71 years later, Step Sing continues to be a beloved tradition at Samford and a staple in many of the students’ college lives.