Greeks sing, pledge to raise $500,000 for cancer institute

By Gretchen Andersen

Painted blue from head to foot, John Dougherty waited behind a stage in the Fitzgerald Field… Painted blue from head to foot, John Dougherty waited behind a stage in the Fitzgerald Field House Friday night.

Doughtery, a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity, was trying to be a genie.

“Nah, I’m not nervous,” he said. “The paint isn’t constricting me at all … I can still dance,” he said, laughing.

Doughtery and his fraternity brothers were preparing to sing and dance with sisters of Delta Zeta sorority as part of an Arabian-themed performance.

They were some of the 240 greek men and women who participated in Greek Sing. About 2,000 students, faculty and family members attended the event, which the greeks designed to promote awareness of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

It was part of Greek Week, a series of events designed to help the fraternities and Panhellenic sororities raise money to fulfill their pledge to raise $500,000 for the Institute over the course of five years. Their deadline comes at the end of the semester. The greeks collected $1,000 in donations for the institute during Greek Sing. Cominsky said she did yet not know how much the greeks had raised overall, because they were still counting the money from other donations.

Blue-painted Stephen Paolini, along with Dougherty, took part in Sigma Chi and Delta Zeta’s winning performance of “A Whole New World,” which had an Arabian Nights theme. They incorporated a camel and a duet with a ballerina dancing across the stage. Paolini said he also wasn’t nervous because, “We’ve prepared for a while.”

Sigma Chi and Delta Zeta were happy with their win.

“It feels awesome. This is the second year in a row we’ve won,” said Rachel Mahoney, a sister of Delta Zeta. Delta Zeta also won in 2009 and 2007.

Greek Week Chair Alex Lash and Greek Week Overall Vanessa Cominsky emceed the event, for which the field house was transformed into an America’s Best Dance Crew-like set. Two large camera screens sat on either side of the stage, and DJ Karazmatik, also known as WPTS Hip Hop Director Corey Mizell, provided music. Audience members danced and grooved with their hands in the air as Mizell played songs such as “Intergalactic,” by the Beastie Boys, “Run this Town” by Jay-Z featuring Rihanna and Kanye West and Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.”

Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, the winner of the 13th Annual Steel City Step Show, danced to open the show.

The pairs of Panhellenic sororities and Interfraternity Council fraternities performed for 10 minutes each, according to the competition’s rules. The dance must be consistent with the costumes, songs and theme. The rules also say that only 12 women and 12 men may be on a stage at once, dances can last no longer than 10 minutes, and that clean music and dances should include at least one male and one female vocalist.

Mizelle, Student Government Board Adviser Joyce Giangarlo, Assistant Director of Cross-Cultural and Leadership Development Ron Gray, and Manager of Development for the Cancer Institute Norma McGowan judged the performances based on dancing, singing, sets and theme.

The fraternities and sororities chose a variety of themes for the event.

Eric Kane of Delta Tau Delta fraternity said he didn’t mind pretending to be Captain Hook for the night for their Peter Pan themed event.

“I like Captain Hook. I’d rather be him,” Kane said.

Each pairing chose its own theme.

“Greeks are very excited and motivated to win,” said Joe Ayala, Greek Week Overall. “Many Greeks start thinking about this in the fall.”

The Greeks found out their pairs back in October through a selection process based on rankings and GPAs. Some sororities and fraternities have held tryouts to determine which of their members would perform in Greek Sing.

As the months passed, pairs tried to perfect their choreography, costumes, set design and singing. From January until the final night, many pairings have held intense practices.

Matt Bierdon, a dancer for Phi Delta Theta fraternity, said that their practice schedule stepped up in the past week. For the six days before the competition, they practiced five hours or more each day, he said.

He still enjoyed the experience.

“It’s great to hang out and meet these people you are working with,” Biedron said.

The practice paid off for Biedron and many of the other greeks. All the pairs brought laughs, cheers and whistling from the crowd, such as when Alpha Delta Pi sorority, Triangle fraternity and Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity danced to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”

Chantz Anderson, who was part of the Delta Chi and Sigma Sigma Sigma vampire themed performance, sang a solo from the True Blood theme song “Bad Things.”

He said he “wasn’t scared at all. I did this last year, and you can’t see the crowd because it is mostly dark anyway.”

Cominksy said she was very pleased with the event. “It was the best Greek Sing I have ever seen. All the acts were amazing and the talent that exists in these organizations is something to behold,” she said.

Winners of the night were:

1st Delta Zeta and Sigma Chi

2ndAlpha Delta Pi, Alpha Epsilon Pi and Triangle

3rdSigma Sigma Sigma and Delta Chi

Best Set- Kappa Delta and Sigma Alpha Epsilon

Best Singing- Kappa Kappa Gamma, Sigma Alpha Mu and Zeta Beta Tau

Best Choreography- Alpha Epsilon Phi, Lambda Chi Alpha and Phi Kappa Theta

Most Original Theme- Delta Phi Epsilon and Phi Delta Theta