Weeks of dance practice and learning lyrics had all led up to this night.
The groups stood anxiously in darkness behind the curtain waiting for the moment when they would take the stage.
When the curtain rose and the spotlight hit, sixteen groups of fraternities and sororities were prepared to do their best.
Spring Sing kicked off Western’s annual Greek Week Sunday night in Van Meter auditorium.
The theme this year was “Hip Hop on the Hilltop,” with groups singing and dancing to a variety of hip hop and pop songs.
“It’s one of the highlights of Greek life,” said Morgantown senior Brent Fields, a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. “The whole Greek community comes together. It’s really exciting.”
Many of the groups danced and sang to a mix of current hip hop hits and older rap songs, while some fraternities played the songs themselves on instruments.
Backstage, all was chaos as each group prepared for their performance. Props and backdrops smelling of plywood and paint were piled against the wall. Performers practiced their routines while getting last minute instructions from their choreographers.
Some of the participants were nervous, but the nervousness quickly vanished as they stepped on stage.
“It’s all right once the lights get going and you can’t really see anything,” said Somerset senior Seth Dykes, a member of Farmhouse fraternity. “You calm down a little bit.”
The auditorium was packed with Greeks and their family and friends who came to support and encourage the participants.
“I love it,” said Nashville junior Casie Ground. “I think they put a lot of time and effort into the dances and it shows with everyone.”
Farmhouse’s theme for their routine was Hip Hop on the Hilltop Country Style. They started their performance dressed in Hawaiian shirts and leis, lounging on towels as if on the beach.
They performed to Will Smith’s “Miami” before running backstage to quickly change costumes for their next song. The group finished off their set singing Nappy Roots dressed in overalls and Farmhouse hats, leaving the stage to a standing ovation from the audience.
Farmhouse won the competition for the fraternities, with Phi Delta Theta placing second, AGR coming in third and Sigma Phi Epsilon placing fourth.
The performances were judged based on choreography, props and creativity.
“I knew we were good enough to win,” Dyke said. “I just didn’t know how good everyone else was.”
Songs by Eminem and Run DMC were popular choices for the performances, as well as Nelly, Jay Z and the Sugarhill Gang.
Kappa Delta sorority used the TV show “Behind the Music” for their theme, showing how all genres of music influenced hip hop.
The KDs started out their performance in go-go dancer costumes to Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out” before the song shifted into Puff Daddy’s sample of the song.
A second set of KDs followed dancing to Jay Z’s “Hard Knock Life,” dressed as orphans in ragged, mismatched outfits. They finished by singing a hip hop remix of Western’s fight song.
But the KD’s couldn’t top the performance of Alpha Omicron Pi, who came in first for the sororities.
The KD’s came in second, with Phi Mu placing third and Chi Omega in fourth.
Richmond senior Laura Allen, an AOPi, said she wasn’t sure if they would win or not.
“The top three people were so good, I honestly had no idea,” she said. “I was very excited because we worked very hard.”
AOPi performed to songs by a variety of artists, including Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and Whitney Houston.
Some weren’t happy with the results, but each group could leave knowing they’d done their best.
“I wished we won for all the hard work we put in our practices, but I felt like we did our best,” Fields said. “We’re disappointed with the results, not with ourselves.”
Reach Jocelyn Robinson at [email protected]