Members of the Ouachita Student Foundation (OSF) had no idea what would happen when they decided to host the first Tiger Tunes in 1979.
Hosts and Hostesses Stewart Kelly, Callie Chancey, Ben Reeves, Brandon Stokes, Cory Epps, Kelsey Kearney, Aubrey Elliot and Cortnie DeVore perform a song during the drews rehearsal of Tiger Tunes 2010. photo by Callie Stephens
From the first show that year to the 32nd show this year, “Tunes continues to meet the challenge of providing an entertaining showcase of creativity and talent among the student body,” said Dr. Deborah Root, professor of communications.
Root, a member of OSF from 1979 until 1981, said the original concept for Tiger Tunes was modeled after a similar event at Baylor University.
“Carol Roper, who was sponsor of OSF, and some senior members went to Baylor to see their all-campus sing,” Root said. “They came back excited about the possibility of a similar show at Ouachita, so thus began Tiger Tunes.”
The first Tiger Tunes had shows from social clubs on campus, plus shows from the Baptist Student Union and the freshman class. The students held two performances, one on Friday night and one on Saturday night. Three hosts—two men and one woman—also performed.
Because of a lack of technology at the time, a “combo” featuring a piano, guitar and drum set performed all the music live.
“It definitely wasn’t like the digital music they have today,” Root said.
Susan Atkinson, administrative assistant to the dean of humanities, was a freshman the year of the first Tiger Tunes and participated with the EEEs the second year. She said the show was “much simpler then.
“Most of the costumes were homemade, and the choreography was much simpler,” she said. “I don’t remember the beaus being there, either.”
Mitchell Auditorium was the venue for the first production. Root said tickets were about $4 each.
Jones Performing Arts Center (JPAC) is the venue for this year’s production. Tickets are $16 and $18, and are sold out. Performances are Thursday and Friday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday night at 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Each performance will feature seven shows and will last about two hours. The 8:30 p.m. show on Saturday will be broadcast live at www.obusignal.com, beginning at 8 p.m. Overflow seating will also be offered in Verser Auditorium for those without tickets to the 8:30 p.m. show.
Show themes for this year include: Beta Beta as hillbillies, Campus Ministries as inmates, Chi Delta as tooth fairies, EEE as “ring by spring,” Eta Alpha Omega as doctors, Kappa Chi as aviators and Tri Chi as White House secretaries.
Callie Stephens, a senior mass communications major and co-president of OSF, said Tiger Tunes “takes a ton of work from everybody involved.
“We have to have coordination from all the clubs that are participating, the faculty, the JPAC crew, OSF — everybody,” she said. “OSF’s fundraising and finance committee does a silent auction at OcTiger Fest and the Saturday Tunes performances. Sarah Henley is doing the programs. We have the T-shirts and we have to set the budget, which has to appropriately balance the quality of the shows and the amount of money we give for scholarships.”
Joey Licklider, JPAC manager, said he and his crew have been working on Tiger Tunes since the beginning of the semester.
“I officially start work on Tunes around the middle of September,” he said. ”Then the two weeks leading up to the show involve more detailed work and the night time JPAC rehearsals.
He said the hosts and hostesses began work last year.
“I also have been working with the hosts and hostesses since last semester, when they were selected,” he said. “In August they came back to campus a week early to start learning their music and choreography.”
Root said she is unsure what the future of Tiger Tunes will hold.
“We can’t really add any performance nights because that would be conflicting even more with academics,” she said. “As the years go by, we have more and more alumni, and more and more of them want to see the shows. We are in our second generation of Tunes participants. There’s no simple answer. I think the online audience will continue to grow.”
Root said she is surprised to have seen few themes repeated over the years.
“And the few themes that have been repeated, the shows are different,” she said. “I think it shows the creativity of our students, being able to come up with that many themes over 30 years.”
Root said she has had a couple of favorite themes.
“The year Campus Ministries were monsters was great,” she said. “That was an excellent show with excellent choreography. Also the EEE skeletons, they had black body suits with white paint, and they performed under a black light, so you only saw the skeletons moving on the stage.
“The Kappa pirates, the Sigma Alpha Sigma road barrels theme, the Kappa bowlers, the EEE toy soldiers, the Tri Chi crayons — those have all been memorable.”
By Tanner Ward, Signal writer