Step Sing 2023 has come and gone and as students try to return to their normal school schedules, the directors of the winning groups of this well-loved tradition reflect on their victories.
The winner of Step Sing 2023 was Phi Mu, whose theme was grandmas, or old women.
Kate Gunn, a junior journalism major and one of the directors for Phi Mu’s show, shared her thoughts on the sorority’s first win in over 30 years.
“My initial reaction to winning was disbelief and relief because we had been working so hard for months to plan the show and it finally came to a stopping point. It was just really rewarding to hear our name called,” Gunn said. “It was complete happiness and shock too because we haven’t won in 32 years, so it’s been a really long time.”
She went on to explain her hopes for how Phi Mu’s show would do in the beloved competition.
“As a director, I didn’t have any expectations to win but I definitely thought that we had the potential to,” Gunn commented. “I knew when we picked the theme that it would be funny, and it was going to have the different parts of a winning show.”
Gunn shared the attitude with which they learned the show and prepared to perform.
“I think it was great that we had a great show but still got to have fun during practice and not take ourselves too seriously; helping our girls prepare included getting into character (and) making practices fun,” Gunn said.
In reference to their theme of elderly women doing their daily activities, Gunn reflected on where the idea originated from.
“For the theme, I think our inspiration was this idea in the Spring that was super simple and had all of the parts of a winning show that we were looking for,” commented Gunn. “I think our theme ended up being great and a good character for our girls to get into.”
Overall, Gunn expressed that she was proud of her role in helping the girls improve from last year and earning Phi Mu the Sweepstakes trophy.
“Working back from (last year) till now has been crazy to see the improvement and how hard people have worked to get to the point we’re at because phi mu hasn’t won in so long,” Gunn shared. “Knowing I was one of the directors that earned Phi Mu a victory is absolutely insane.”
Sophomore ATO Step Sing Director Ryan Cruz provided his perspective on the fraternity’s second place victory. The group also received an award for Best Creativity for their show.
“We were definitely going after placing well this year; I think we attribute a lot of that to last year; our experience was very different culturally in Step Sing than it ever has been, more from the standpoint that guys had that drive in them,” Cruz explained.
Cruz also expressed how the fraternity’s attitude towards the performance has changed in the last few years in comparison to the past.
“We’ve always approached Step Sing from the (aspect of) brotherhood, coming together and getting out of our comforts zones to have a good time and try something new,” Cruz commented. “Last year we started to actually enjoy the competition aspect of it and a lot of guys were expressing more drive and motivation to create something they could be proud of.”
In terms of their decisions regarding the nature of the show, Cruz expressed a drive for individuality in their theme and how they were rewarded for that.
“We won best creativity which felt very good and we’re very proud of that; I would attribute that to the fact that we switched up the style and used it as a device to create a different world,” Cruz explained.
Cruz went on to share the connection between the theme of boxers and the fraternity itself.
“The show represents ATO really well in terms of how we’re still coming into our own and establishing our identity at Samford; everyone loves an underdog story and I think that’s why our show was so popular,” Cruz commented.
Chi Omega director and junior worship leadership major Emmy Tane was able to express her thoughts in reflection of Step Sing 2023. Chi O’s show earned the sorority both the award of Best Costumes and third place overall.
“When we started, this was actually our fourth theme in theme selection, so it was nowhere on our radar to pursue a show with zombies,” Tane said. “We got a lot of songs denied and a lot of ideas for the theme denied so we had to go back to the drawing board a lot.”
Tane also reflected on how rewarding the experience was as a whole.
“We went into it with the mindset of having fun but still working hard to do well and they did work so hard, and I am so proud of them. It took a lot of time, but it ended up being really awesome and it was really fun getting to see it from the very beginning and see it grow into something that was super awesome,” she remarked. “Overall, it was a really encouraging and affirming experience.”
Tane went on to share some of the challenges presented this year, specifically in terms of the changes in the judging criteria.
“Especially with how they changed ranking and divisions, it made it harder because historically, guys shows do better. I told them ‘We’re not up against other girls, we’re up against the guys,’” Tane said.
Tane reflected on how rewarding it was to earn the awards that Chi O did.
“Anyone who works so hard for so long deserves to be recognized for it and I’m just thankful that we were,” Tane commented.
Step Sing 2023 proved to be another season of fun, competition, and outstanding performances by all of the groups who committed extensive hours to the preparation and execution of this popular Samford tradition. Each year, the stakes grow higher as the groups bring more fresh ideas and themes into the mix and leave everything on the grid in the hopes of being named the ultimate Sweepstakes champion.