SAI Gives the Gift of Song

Image Courtesy of Sigma Alpha Iota: Eta Mu Chapter Facebook

Image Courtesy of Sigma Alpha Iota: Eta Mu Chapter Facebook

Grace Mittleman, Staff Writer

The Women’s Music Fraternity, The Sigma Alpha Iota, Eta Mu Chapter recently gave a brilliant Sing-Along performance to Camp Sunshine: a program that provides summer and winter camp activities to children with life-threatening illnesses.

For this service event, the Eta Mu sisters performed Halloween-themed songs for Camp Sunshine. There were arrangers, emcees, vocalists, instrumentalists, and video editors.  The most astonishing part about all of this is that this event was completely virtual.

I asked, the Service Committee Senior Chair of Eta Mu, Natalie Kowalski, what inspired this?  “Because of COVID-19, SAI had to reevaluate how we do community service. In the past, we’ve had some partners for asynchronous service, including Camp Sunshine where we provided item donations,” Natalie writes, “However, I felt that there was opportunity for a deeper involvement in the program.  I contacted them about recording a sing-along for them, thinking that it would be a children’s song sing-along. However, some of their executives expressed that they wanted to update their website so that children that are at-risk of catching the virus can stay inside and have activities to enjoy from home. They asked if we could record a Halloween-themed sing-along. I thought it was a great idea, and we went from there.”

The whole process took a little over a month to complete.  Sixteen sisters of the chapter participated to make this work come to life. “Camp Sunshine’s higher-ups requested a five-song sing-along, and their one request was that Baby Shark was included in the setlist,” Natalie writes. “The five songs that we used were Baby Shark, Monster Mash, Ghostbusters, Purple People Eater, and Witch Doctor. I sent out an interest form to our chapter, and asked that people include what roles they’d like to fill. Based on the results of that form I delegated tasks to everyone. I tried to make sure that nobody was fulfilling more than two or three roles. Once each arranger completed a song, I’d send the song out to the performers with specific performance instructions. The instrumentalists would record a backing track, and the vocalists would record with the backing track. These recordings would all be sent to Caroline, our video editor, and she’d put them together.”

The Halloween Sing-Along was a huge success! The Eta Mu Chapter, with the help of the lovely drummer, Hannah Sternberg, worked together to create a fun musical event for Camp Sunshine. The chapter hopes to be considered for Sigma Alpha Iota’s Service Project of the Year for their hard work.

“I feel that the event was a success in a lot of ways,” Natalie writes, “The majority of the chapter was involved, the recordings were fun and high-quality, some included props and costumes, and most importantly, the leadership and campers at Camp Sunshine were incredibly happy with the outcomes. I hope that Eta Mu plans events like this in the future!”

The Sigma Alpha Iota: Eta Mu Chapter gave the gift of music in this crazy time we’re living through, and I’m sure the Halloween Sing-Along made a bunch of families smile. No matter how apart we may seem in our homes during COVID-19, the arts always have a way of bringing us together.