The Diamond Anniversary
1964 was an important year. The Beatles took the United States by storm, the fight for racial equality was in full swing, and our military took its first shots in the Vietnam War. Here at Lipscomb University, a new tradition was born. It would become an annual event called Singarama. Singarama is a 2-day performance where the Social Clubs (Lipscomb’s version of Fraternities and Sororities) and other students sing, dance, and entertain. These shows are written, directed, and staged by the students. It’s a competition. The performances are judged on choreography, sets and props (visuals), vocals, entertainment, and the overall theme. The Majority of Singarama acts have their own band.
This year is the Diamond Anniversary of Singarama, celebrating 60 years. And the titles of the acts reflect that: Diamond in the Rough, No Pressure No Diamonds, and Shine Bright Like a Diamond. While the tradition has remained, some things have changed.
Coba Craig (B.A. 1965), a now-retired Kentucky real estate broker, came up with the idea of Singarama and directed the first show. At the time, he was a psychology major and the president of the student body. All six of Lipscomb’s social clubs performed and the Gammas ended up with the win.
The school’s yearbook declared “leadership plus cooperation equals Singarama.” It praised Craig and claims “[a] chapel ovation declared student appreciation for a job well done.”
In 1965, the rules changed. There was no longer a limit on group size but the acts were limited to 15 minutes. In 1966, Singarama expanded to two shows, one in the spring and another in the fall. The change had to do with a super busy spring schedule in 1967. In 1969, the teams were limited to singing and dancing only. According to an article from the student newspaper, The Babbler, “We are trying to get back to the original idea of Singarama to present the actual quality of singing instead of trying to aid the show with elaborate sets.”
In 1971, there were 18 social clubs on campus. They were split into 4 groups for Singarama. 1972 was the first time that non-social club (independent) students were able to perform in the show.
In 1973, one independent group staged 5 shows. The theme centered on popular vocal groups like The Fifth Dimension, Ray Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel, the Carpenters, and the Beach Boys. During 1974 the performances increased to 25 minutes. In 1978, a fourth performance was added and the theme was “Cities” including Hollywood and New York.
A Silver Anniversary
In 1981, campus-wide auditions for the hosts and hostesses were held. 1982 provided another opportunity for the Singarama winning team. The World’s Fair took place in Knoxville that year, and the winners based their show around the fair. In 1988, students chose a theme of “gifts” like gold and silver to celebrate the silver anniversary of the event. By 1988, there were four hosts & hostesses.
In 1991, the theme was the “Cornerstones” of American freedom such as equality, and truth. In 1998, for the 35th Anniversary, the teams turned their creativity to romance, mystery and adventure.
There were more milestones in the new millennium. In 2008, Singarama was moved to Otter Creek Church of Christ while the Collins Alumni Auditorium was under construction. In 2010, the biggest group of hosts and hostesses joined the show.
A Golden Anniversary
In 2013, Lipscomb held the 50th anniversary of Singarma with a theme of “Timeless… Yesterday, Today and Forever.” Laurie Sain, the current Director of Student Life Operations and Fanning Hall Resident Director, is no stranger to Singarama. She spent a total of 18 years ushering, selling tickets, and overseeing the wardrobe, before becoming the executive producer in 2016.
There were a variety of themes through the 2010’s. 2016 was Revolution. 2017 was Blast from the Past and 2018 It takes, 2019 Bring on the Family.
In 2020 Kelsy Campbell took over as the executive producer but unfortunately due to COVID-19, Singarama was canceled. The following year, the 2021 Singarama had to be staged online, none of the performances could be done inside, and everyone wore masks. After those strange two years, Singarama had lower attendance numbers. Director Kelsy Campbell is hoping everything will be back to normal for 2023, with full participation and a full house in Collins Alumni Auditorium.
Singarama is not only fun, it has become a training ground for musicians and performers. Country singer and songwriter Kelsea Ballerini acted as a hostess in 2012.
Mark your calendars for March 30th and April 1st
Tickets are $15 and are available online only. Tickets are not available at the door.