While the climactic Sweepstakes closing night takes place in January, Samford’s Step Sing program finds its start far earlier in the school year. Throughout the fall semester, directors and committee members of each participating group meet to finalize themes, costumes, props and music, and coordinate days for sign-ups and tryouts for new members to join. Because a Step Sing show can only have a limited number of performers, the process of becoming a new member in a show can often be competitive.
Between this year’s sixteen competing fraternity, sorority and independent shows, there were several ways that the different organizations accepted new members during the Fall 2023 semester, ranging from comprehensive auditions to open signups.
Independent shows like Indie Ladies, Unclassified and Ignite are known to make prospective members “run” to secure a spot. In most cases, these shows will advertise a date and time for running on Instagram. Once that time comes, they will post a specific location on campus to meet to sign up–first come first serve.
According to Ignite director Sarah Gentry, Ignite’s running this past fall was particularly competitive.
“This year, about 300 girls tried to run for 50 spots… It’s madness—we always have guy friends running to get a spot for girls, and the signup line is insane with everyone hoping to get a spot after the race,” Gentry said.
Similarly, Dudes A Plenty, the campus’s singular independent men’s show, has an extremely competitive sign-up process. They release the location of their signups in advance, and potential members must camp out for hours beforehand to reserve a spot.
Sam Swiercek, senior music performance major, joined Dudes A Plenty this past fall.
“We all had to stay there for 24 hours in order to hold our spot on the sign-up list, meaning we all had to spend the night in the Regions Room… I really enjoyed the experience of Dudes sign ups. I got to meet new people who were trying to sign up for Dudes, play some games
, and take time for myself as well to get work done,” he said.
However, some of the sorority shows hold auditions for their potential members.
Last fall, Alpha Omicron Pi had their potential members fill out a form and participate in an audition. Caroline Gilbert, junior neuroscience major, was able to experience this process.
“The form was a brief overview of how comfortable we are with singing dancing and if we have done it in the past along with asking why we want to do step sing. We then had an audition where we were taught about bit of choreography and then performed it in smaller groups. I also think it’s fairly competitive as they take a really holistic look at your application and audition,” Gilbert said.
On the other hand, some sororities, such as Zeta Tau Alpha, do not hold traditional auditions. Instead, spots are granted to new members based on seniority and GPA. Senior journalism and mass communication student Caroline Spikes supported this method.
“I think it’s fair how we go about [sign-ups]. The overall intensity of our show though I think stems from a competitive edge that’s in most of us,” Spikes said.
Spikes also revealed that Zeta, like many other shows, holds auditions for their dance break, special characters and opening MC skit.
“Last year I tried out for dance break and shockingly enough made it, but this year I plan to try out for the emcee skit. From what I can tell it has the potential to get competitive, but at the end of the day I think we all understand that it’s for the Step Sing show and we get to celebrate the girls or sisters who do get those ‘special roles,’” she said.