Songfest 2013 Grants Wishes

Phuc Pham | New University

Phuc Pham | New University

Every year for over 30 years, the Bren Events Center fills with students, alumni, families and friends for Greek Songfest — a singing, dancing and acting competition where fraternities and sororities are paired up to create a condensed Broadway show.

Comprised of eight men and eight women, the pairings are responsible for directing, choreography, set creation and costume design. This year, the Greek community came together to raise money and awareness for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The casts had been working diligently to perfect their acts since fall quarter, when the pairings were announced and casting began. Loud roars erupted from the pairings’ chapters as one by one, the nine acts took the daunting stage.

Although at times it was apparent that these were not professional shows, the level of talent and effort was obvious. Many of the singers and dancers were students who wish to make musical theatre their career. But possibly more unbelievable are the performances by students who were not professionally trained. Typically, over half of the students participating are not dance, drama or musical theatre majors.

Highlights of the night included the winning of Best Overall Performances by third-place pairing of Alpha Phi and Kappa Sigma performing “Footloose” with their Co-Best Male Vocalist Wilson Lomas; second-place pairing of Delta Gamma, Delta Lambda Phi and Pi Kappa Alpha with their rendition of “The Addams Family,” which received accolades for Best Yearlong Participation, Best Set Design and Co-Best Male Vocalist Ezhar Assasa; and by first-place pairing of Delta Delta Delta and Phi Gamma Delta, who received Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Female Vocalist Madisen Johnson in “Anything Goes.”

Despite only taking second in Best Overall Performance, Delta Gamma, Delta Lambda Phi and Pi Kappa Alpha took home the ultimate prize of Overall Songfest Winner for their efforts both on and off the stage.

Performer Daniella Bohan from Gamma Phi Beta expressed her disbelief that the journey was finally over.

“I can’t believe it’s over after five months of working with my cast. It’s all over in one night,” she said. “I really liked being on the stage again, that was really fun.”

Phuc Pham | New University

Phuc Pham | New University

Performances from other campus organizations included INSA dance crew, Live Nudes improv comedy group and MCIA dance crew, all of which received warm responses from the crowd.

There was also a special speech made by a Make-A-Wish child. The girl who spoke was a former dancer who, just weeks after placing in the top five at her national dance competition, had a stroke. After completely re-learning how to talk and walk again, Make-A-Wish granted her wish to go to Paris. When she concluded her speech, she received a standing ovation.

One recent graduate, Kaitlin Meisse, described her dedication to Songfest.

“I always loved watching Songfest as an active Greek member,” she said. “Since I still live in the area, there wasn’t any doubt I’d be back to watch the show as an alumna. It’s always great to see old friends, but the best part is knowing that it is for a good cause.”

Meisse and many other Greek affiliated students and alumni also made donations of their time and money towards this event. One hundred thirty-four hours of community service were volunteered at the Make-A-Wish Foundation here in Orange County, 441 items were donated during the E-Waste drive, 3,382 Make-A-Wish stars were sold on campus through boothing, $2,645 was raised through Gina’s Pizza fundraising and 21,133 individual donations were contributed. The total money raised? $56,200 was about to be given to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Philanthropy Director Megan Engelbrecht, a senior from Delta Gamma, spoke about her experience on the Greek Songfest Executive Board.

“The single coolest thing was being able to grant a wish to a child in need,” she said.