The Unseen Acts of Sing

Feb. 24, 1998

Performers in Baylor's All¡University Sing get considerable recognition for the hard work they invest in the annual musical. However, the stage crew may work as hard as any group, but gets the least praise.

The Waco Hall stage crew handles the audio¡visual and technical support for Sing. The crew's efforts often get overlooked, although they represent one of the most vital components in the production.

The crew supports many performances held at Waco Hall, but Sing is the most labor¡intensive job. The group of student workers usually work about 10 hours a week, but they may work more than 40 hours per week during the Sing performances.

Josh Gatell, assistant stage manager and an engineering major from San Antonio, said he loves the work although he had no idea what he was getting into when he accepted the job. Gatell directs all the backstage workers and maintains a script for each act to ensure each group gets the lighting and technical support it needs. One of the perks of working behind the scenes is having the scoop on the themes of each act, Gatell said.

"I know almost a month in advance about all the acts," he said. "It's funny, we all pick our own top eight and even first place. We try not to say anything, but we see the acts so much we naturally form opinions."

Debbie Svoboda, a student from Sugar Land, said although Sing responsibilities sometimes get tough, she enjoys the work.

"Sometimes people forget we're students," she said. "When things go wrong, we're not always sure what caused them. We put a lot of hours in, but it's fun." Svoboda said she and the crew sometimes sing along with the acts and even dance backstage.

Nina Fan, the audio crew director, plays a dual role in the show. She also performs with the Sing Alliance act. Fan said she loves both jobs so much she struggles to let go of one responsibility while doing the other.

"I need to let the crew do everything while I'm on stage," said Fan.

Daniel Eady, coordinator of special performances for the Office of Student Activities, serves as Sing coordinator. Eady ensures that all the acts run smoothly and encourages the stage crew as they must quickly set up the props for each group.

"As they practice setting up they can't believe they'll do it in two minutes," Eady said. He said he likes experiencing the show behind the stage more than watching it on¡stage.

"Being backstage spoils me because I'm a part of the show one hundred percent," said Eady, "I could never be in the audience again."

Gatell said the most demanding job backstage may belong to the guys known as the raildogs. They work on the platform above the stage and are in charge of moving the house curtain and backdrops, which Gatell said are pretty heavy.

"It takes a different breed to be a raildog," said Gatell.

Beyond the backstage crew, some students serve on the Sing Committee and work for nothing more than the Sing experience. The committee helps with a variety of responsibilities including timing the acts, escorting the performers on stage, monitoring the use of the practice hall, and supporting the needs of the judges.

As the curtain goes up on Sing 1998, the crew is ready for action. Butterflies aside, the show must go on. The audience gets to see the finished product resulting from hours of hard work both from the performing organizations and the behind¡the¡scenes stage crew.

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