News and Events
From Page to Stage!: Songfest 2013
The joy of reading will be brought to life in Songfest 2013 as the annual student-led song and dance showcase, featuring seven groups performing 12-minute original sets of their own invention, takes place from Tuesday, Mar. 12, to Saturday, Mar. 16. The performances begin at 7:30 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, in Smothers Theatre, Malibu.
This year's Songfest, "From Page to Stage!" marks the 40th anniversary of Pepperdine's beloved musical tradition, which officially began in 1973.
"The overall legacy of Songfest is just incredible to me," says Sam Parmelee, executive director and producer of Songfest. "I am amazed at how what was originally a crazy new idea and a song-and-dance show thrown together by a very small group of people on a new campus has ultimately become Pepperdine's biggest student tradition."
This year's participation numbers are approximately 500, with 440 on-stage student performers, an 18-member pit orchestra, a full technical crew, and several staff, including Parmelee, associate producer Brittany Chin-Lee, Campus Programs coordinator for Student Activities, and music director Chris Strivers ('76), visiting assistant professor of communication and three-time Pepperdine graduate.
"For 40 years, multiple generations of students have joined each other and undergone this common experience together," Parmelee notes. "They get together, work side-by-side late night after late night, put on these ridiculously entertaining and creative performances, and forge such a strong bond full of memories, fun, and friendship. Once you do it, you just never forget it. "
The performance groups, which were all open to any student, write their own scripts (which must have no more than 2.5 minutes of spoken dialogue), choreograph their own dances, and design their own sets and costumes within a $500 maximum budget—all within a strict two-week rehearsal limit.
The seven performing groups:
Kappa Kappa Chi
Alpha Beta Delta and Company
Delta Psi Theta and Friends
Gamma Ghkkkkket Sigma and Friends
Sigma Phi Epsilon, Pi Beta Phi, and Friends
Delta Tau Delta, Alpha Phi, and Friends
Eta Theta Tau
Student groups will be judged in five categories—music, choreography, set and costumes, theme, and enthusiasm—at the final four performances for the Songfest Sweepstakes Award. Songfest's independent judges are typically professionals, or people with strong backgrounds in the arts and/or entertainment industries.
Songfest also features several performances by the Songfest Hosts, providing transition and continuity from group to group. This year seven talented students have spent several months preparing specially arranged music, choreography, and theme-based skits to orient the audience throughout the show: Annie Block-Weiss, Devin Darnell, Hannah Loudermilk, Kyle Montplaisir, Haeley Moore, Kenny Robertson, and Kai Woods Decker.
"It's special to think that what Pepperdine students did on this campus 40 years ago is exactly what students are doing now. I just don't know any other program quite like it," Parmelee adds. "Sure, it's a terrific show to watch, but what's really going on here is so much more than the singing, the dancing, and the performing. I just feel blessed and privileged to be a part of it."
Tickets are on sale through the Smothers Theatre Box Office at (310) 506-4522 or online at the Center for the Arts website. For more information, visit the Songfest page on the Student Activities website.