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Two Beloved Pepperdine Traditions Celebrate Major Milestones

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The joy of reading was 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, took to the Smothers Theatre stage in March.

This year’s event, “From Page to Stage!” marked 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.”

Approximately 500 people participated this year, including 440 onstage student performers, an 18-member pit orchestra, a full technical crew, and several staff.

“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.“

Earlier in the spring semester, Dance in Flight once again soared into Smothers Theatre for its 20th-anniversary performances January 31-February 2. The annual performance showcases student dancers from various backgrounds, interests, and fields of study.

“For our 20th anniversary, we celebrated ‘The Journey,’” said director Bill Szobody. “This year, we personally invited Dance in Flight alumni and past directors to attend our final performance on Saturday. I was so excited to see the whole DIF family together, old and new, celebrating the creation and continuation of this wonderful organization.”

Dance in Flight exists to provide a safe environment in which emerging dancer/ choreographers can cultivate creativity, physical expression, and teamwork in a professional performing atmosphere. Dance in Flight began in 1993 with 10 students performing in front of a modest crowd in the small Lindhurst Theatre. Every year since, the grassroots, student-run production has grown in size and scope. With sold-out performances every year, Dance in Flight has become a campus favorite.