Walking into the Kaleidoscope on a Saturday night wouldn’t typically be a buzzing and loud atmosphere, yet on March 25, it was a completely different story.
Students went from one group to the next chatting and encouraging their friends, who would soon grace the stage of the Lenfest Theater in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center for the 35th annual Airband competition.
Some ran backstage, armed with zany props, including fake swords and sequined outfits. Faculty judges milled around as well. “It feels so festive and musical,” said Terrence Williams, an assistant dean of students, director of diversity and inclusion, and an Airband judge.
There is truly no simpler way to put it.
There were six acts, all comprised of members of various student organizations, waiting to take the stage that evening for eight-minute musical acts. Kimmie Walters ’18, an Airband committee member, said, “It’s really cool to be on the committee and plan something like this with smart and talented individuals. Airband is a great way to be part of the community.”
It was evident that other students were excited as well, because as soon as the doors opened, the theater immediately filled up and reached capacity after about 15 minutes.
The show kicked off with a trailer that gave an inside look at Girls Rock Philly, an organization to which all of Airband’s ticket profits would be donated. Girls Rock Philly is a nonprofit organization whose mission is “dedicated to empowering girls, women, and trans and gender non-conforming people from the greater Philadelphia region through music education.”
When the show began, Sam Pope ’19, Ang Upright ’17, and Erin Farrell ’17 were hosts for the evening, cracking jokes and singing between acts. The Ursinus men’s and women’s swimming teams, Phi Kappa Sigma, the Phonathon staff, Kappa Delta Kappa, Seismic Step, and the Resident Advisors all participated in acts that ranged from a High School Musical medley to “Step Boot Camp.”
Halfway through the show, Pope brought Carla Rinde, director of career and professional development, to the stage to give thanks for all that she had done for Airband and to celebrate her retirement. Rinde started Airband as a student at Ursinus and 35 shows later, it has become one of Ursinus’s most popular annual traditions.
“When I brought this here 35 years ago, I had no idea it would become what it would become,” Rinde said.
Each group received an award, with Seismic Step winning the Carla Rinde Award for Overall Best Performance. By the end of the night, Airband raised $1,455 for Girls Rock Philly.
Despite it being my last year at Ursinus, I had never attended Airband. I had, of course, heard about the great acts each year and the particularly funny skits, yet I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attend. Yet, Walters was right when she said the show is a great way to be part of the Ursinus community.
Only at Ursinus could you get up on stage with a few of your closest friends or fellow members from your team or club and bravely act out a comedy skit, dance, or do both. Only at Ursinus would the theater be packed with students laughing, clapping, and often dancing along. —By Leighnah Perkins ’17