Students + Campus

9 facts everyone should know about Spring Sing at UCLA

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If an ambitious TV showrunner wanted to draw together the funnest elements of “Saturday Night Live,” “Glee” and “The Voice” into one solid hit, well, it’s already been done.

This Saturday night, the UCLA tradition of Spring Sing will light up Pauley Pavilion with thunderous applause, hoots, cheers and howls of laughter. At this annual student showcase and competition — held since 1945 — the multi-talented singers, dancers, musicians and comedy skit players are the stars.

Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey of The Who will be on hand to receive the George and Ira Gershwin Award honoring them for their impact and contributions to the music industry. Student participants will also be competing in ten categories. To help celebrate this much-loved campus tradition, sponsored by the UCLA Alumni Association and the Student Alumni Association, here are some facts you should know about Spring Sing.

 

1. Spring Sing grew out of a 1940s tradition when fraternity groups competed for the title of Champion Serenaders of Sorority Row.

UCLA
Early Spring Sing stage.

 

2. How to successfully ask for a date to Spring Sing.

 

3. Angela Lansbury, Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald were all Spring Sing honorees. Ray Charles in 1991: “This is such an honor for me.”

Ray Charles
Wikimedia Commons/Victor Diaz Lamich
Last concert of Ray Charles at the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal in 2003.

 

4. This year's Tony Awards nominee Sara Bareilles performed solo for the first time in front of a large audience at Spring Sing in 2002.

CBS
Sara Bareilles at Kennedy Center Honors in 2015.

 

5. Ronald Reagan, then an actor, served six times as Spring Sing master of ceremonies.

Los Angeles Times Photographic Archives, UCLA Library Special Collections
Ronald Reagan warms up with the Delta Zeta quartet before the show in 1957.

 

6. Hollywood Bowl became the home of Spring Sing when an open-air theater on campus was demolished to make way for the UCLA Medical Center.

UCLA
Actor Fred MacMurray on stage at Spring Sing in the Hollywood Bowl in 1963.

 

7. For months before Spring Sing, student groups seek out corners of the campus to practice their routines.

 

8. Blood, sweat and tears go into the making of Spring Sing each year.

 

9. This year's Gershwin Award isn’t the only place at UCLA where Daltrey and Townsend have been recognized.

In 2011, Daltrey and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin dedicated the UCLA Daltrey/Townshend Teen and Young Adult Cancer Program to meet the unique needs of teen and young-adult cancer patients — from improved diagnoses to a special environment that offers them peer support and a sense of belonging.

 

Related:

21 high notes from UCLA’s long musical tradition
12 performances from UCLA student a cappella groups

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