Singin’ in Savage

Himansh Bhatnagar / IC

Himansh Bhatnagar / IC

Emily Jackson, Community Editor

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More than $18,000 was raised this year during the University of Toledo’s second-longest standing tradition.

Songfest, hosted by Blue Key National Honor Fraternity and Mortar Board National Honor Society, was held April 1 at 5 p.m. in Savage Arena.

The night of competition and cause included dance and vocal performances from multiple UT organizations, fraternities and sororities.

The amount of funds raised was the largest in Songfest history and will be donated to Hut Outreach, a ministry that helps build schools and provide free education to children in Haiti.

Samuel Duling, a fourth-year majoring in political science and economics and the president of Mortar Board, said his favorite part of Songfest was the presentation of the check to Hut Outreach.

“My personal relationship with the founders of Hut Outreach, in concert with the unparalleled efforts of our Rocket community to raise a record-breaking amount of money so they can build a high school in Haiti, warms my heart more than I can say,” Duling said. “I am beyond confident that the Hut Outreach team will use every single dollar to help the Haitian people and represent UT in the best light possible.”

Stephanie Elkins, a fourth-year majoring in professional sales and vice president of Blue Key, said that surpassing their fundraising goal was one of her favorite parts of the night as well.

“I also loved seeing everything come together into a beautiful night of raising almost double our original goal of $10,000 for Hut Outreach,” Elkins said.

Elkins, one of the Songfest emcees, was in charge of the event and said she had been planning the event with co-emcee Brandon Rosolowski since October 2016 to help in coordinating all contracts, group performances, director meetings and securing funding.

“It was my first and last time planning it,” Elkins said. “It was incredible to see the other side of things and how many pieces of the puzzle there are to make the event happen each year.”

Performances were split into three divisions — co-ed, men and women — and were judged based on vocals, creativity, choreography and several other categories.

Pi Kappa Phi was the winner of this year’s men’s division and the ladies of Kappa Delta took home the trophy in the women’s division.

The Catholic Student Association also won first place in the co-ed division.

Joseph Leech, a fifth-year civil engineering major and one of CSA’s Songfest directors, said that seeing all their hard work pay off was an amazing thing.

“My favorite part of songfest has been the friendships that have been made and grown throughout our time preparing for the performance,” Leech said. “Sometimes practices were stressful and resulted in some late nights, but I believe I walked away with a closer group of friends and some of my favorite college memories.”

Mary Bishop, a first-year pre-nursing major, said winning Songfest’s co-ed division was “freaking amazing.”

“I literally cried,” Bishop said. “It was my first time doing Songfest, but I did musicals, so it was nice to be on stage again.”

Kylie Koesters, a fourth-year pharmacy major and vice president of Mortar Board, said that while Songfest is a time to see each performer put their heart into something they love, it is, more importantly, a time to recognize what they as a campus are able to do to give back.

 “In just a few short months we changed the lives of those in Haiti forever,” Koesters said. “They’re getting a high school. Looking back, we’re all there for a common reason—to take the opportunity as students to give back just a little of what this great university has to offer.”

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Singin’ in Savage