Pillbox

Greek Sing is a musical, philanthropic success

Members of Delta Gamma and Pi Kappa Alpha presented their highly professional rendition of Rock of Ages, which won first place in the doubles division. (credit: Alex Webster/) Members of Delta Gamma and Pi Kappa Alpha presented their highly professional rendition of Rock of Ages, which won first place in the doubles division. (credit: Alex Webster/) The brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon performed a comedic musical skit titled Law & Order: Special Victims Bluenit, which won first place in the singles division. (credit: Alex Webster/) The brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon performed a comedic musical skit titled Law & Order: Special Victims Bluenit, which won first place in the singles division. (credit: Alex Webster/) Greek Sing Overall Chair and emcee Molly Shanley excitedly announced the $74,203.31 total that Greek organizations raised for the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh this year. (credit: Alex Webster/) Greek Sing Overall Chair and emcee Molly Shanley excitedly announced the $74,203.31 total that Greek organizations raised for the Children's Institute of Pittsburgh this year. (credit: Alex Webster/)

Greek organizations on campus came together last Saturday night to perform a series of 13-minute musical skits, both as a fundraiser for the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh and as a celebration of their hard work this semester. The most successful acts took one of two approaches: Some fraternities and sororities poured their hearts and souls into putting on a crisp and professional performance, while others walked into Greek Sing knowing that they had a limited time span to put on something kitschy and funny.

The best example of the latter, more comedic approach, was Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s Law and Order: Special Victims Bluenit. This skit told the harrowing tale of Steve Burns, his dog Blue, and a crime-solving kindergartner named Trevor in their quest to find the dog Magenta. Through the discovery of three vital clues, the trio eventually discovers that Magenta was kidnapped by a bar of soap, because she was dirty and needed a bath. Highlights included a hard-bitten police chief and a parody of The Lion King’s “Can You Feel The Love Tonight,” entitled “Can You Feel the Suds Tonight.”

Clearly, the brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon had a great time putting this show together; the set consisted entirely of frat boys wearing cardboard cutouts of trees and boulders, rolling or crawling across the stage to show when Steve was moving. The kindergarten character who made potty-humor jokes, such as how he was still in need of diapers, was overdone, but Blue’s sarcastic cynicism was highly entertaining.

Special Victims Bluenit worked because it didn’t try to be something it wasn’t. The fraternity rolled with the slight slapdash feel of the performance and managed to create something really funny. Clearly, Sigma Alpha Epsilon was well prepared, but they emphasized the humor and playfulness that are such an integral part of Greek Sing.

On the other end of the spectrum, Delta Gamma and Pi Kappa Alpha’s rendition of Rock of Ages put on a near-professional show. The skit was an abridged version of the Broadway musical and told the tale of Sherrie, a young girl who wants to be a rock star in Los Angeles, and The Bourbon Room, a bar on the verge of being shut down. In an attempt to salvage his business, the bar’s owner hosts a concert for the famous Stacee Jaxx, but the rock star’s performance draws the ire of the mayor’s wife, Patricia Whitmore.

The sets were not overly complex, but the costumes were bright and eye catching. Members of both Delta Gamma and Pi Kappa Alpha threw themselves into their performance with an energy that lit up the room. Beyond even their clear passion, they performed with precision and care, resulting in a skit that was overall clean, crisp, and fantastic.

One show that walked the line between these two approaches was Alpha Phi and Alpha Epsilon Pi’s production of Rent. This skit was not merely an abridged version of the Broadway musical, but a parody of it, focusing on the struggles of Roger, Mark, and Mimi as they attempt to save Blockbuster from closing. Benny, the owner of Netflix and Mimi’s father, unfortunately thwarted that goal.

Alpha Phi and Alpha Epsilon Pi altered the lyrics of a classic musical just enough to be hilarious, without awkwardly clashing with the original songs. “Take Me or Leave Me” became a conflict between Benny, a proponent of Netflix, and Mimi, a lover of Blockbuster. “Goodbye Love” became a farewell to Blockbuster, while “Seasons of Love” was about the amount of time the characters had spent watching Blockbuster videos over the years. This skit effortlessly turned a deeply emotional musical into a funny, lighthearted sketch. This rendition of Rent was a high-quality skit, but it retained the air of ridiculousness and fun that characterizes Greek Sing.

However, Greek Sing is more than just a performance from fraternities and sororities; the event is the culmination of a huge effort to fundraise for the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. After the performances concluded, a representative of the Institute showed a brief video of a student, a young boy named Noah. The audience held a near-imperceptible air of impatience before the video began; the past two hours had been entertaining, but long, and everyone was hungry.

But the video was an important reminder of the importance of the efforts of the Greek organizations, and an example of the importance and impact of charity. The video let the audience see a particular person whose life was greatly improved by the efforts of the Children’s Institute. However, sophomore civil and environmental engineering major Michelle Cousté said, “I would have liked a more detailed look at all the different things [the Children’s Institute] does or even heard from the kids themselves more... Hearing from the mother that the school changed her kid’s life is encouraging, but hearing from the kid himself just warms your heart.”

Though everyone was enthusiastic during the performances and the Children’s Institute’s video, the most intense energy of the evening came during the awards ceremony. Most audience members who were not affiliated with a Greek organization sat in the upper balconies, while the fraternity and sorority members themselves filled the ground floor. This seating arrangement created an odd sensation in the upper levels of the audience; the relatively calm audience members looked down on the mass of Greek members as they howled with excitement and approval at the awards. Alpha Epsilon Phi and Pi Kappa Alpha split the Chairmen’s Choice Award, while Sigma Phi Epsilon won the Fraternity Philanthropy Award. Delta Gamma won the Sorority Philanthropy Award, after raising over $12,000. Delta Delta Delta came in second, raising over $10,000.

The initial goal of these fundraising efforts was $150,000 over the course of four years, all for the Children’s Institute. In the first year, Greek organizations raised $42,000, with $55,000 fundraised in the second. This year, their goal was $60,000. They actually raised $74,000, which put them at $171,000, well above their initial goal. Junior psychology major Caroline Flowers, the Greek Sing Overall Chair from Delta Delta Delta, said via email that Greek Sing’s support of the Children’s Institute will continue for the fourth and final year of their commitment. “Although we have already met our goal, we are thrilled to be able to support them for at least one more year,” Flowers said.

In terms of performance awards, the teams were divided into two categories. The singles division consisted of fraternities that had performed alone, and the doubles division consisted of paired fraternities and sororities. For singles, Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Special Victims Bluenit), came in first, with Phi Delta Theta in second and Delta Upsilon in third. In doubles, Delta Gamma and Pi Kappa Alpha (Rock of Ages) came in first, Kappa Alpha Theta and Delta Tau Delta came in second, and Delta Delta Delta and Kappa Sigma came in third. The competition was a close one, and Flowers said, “This year’s shows were some of the highest quality we’ve seen since I’ve been in school.... each show we saw this year was definitely successful.”

Though this show was open to the public, the main focus of the evening was the Greek community. Greek Sing celebrated the intense fundraising efforts of all of the Greek organizations on campus and the work put into producing the performance itself. Saturday’s show may have been the work of mere college students, but the members of the fraternities and sororities gave it their most creative and professional efforts.