Competition for Airband is fierce. Every group wants to get in and compete at one of the biggest events at Taylor University.
If you are in an Airband, you already know the mounting pressure. If you are not, you might be wondering why your friends have disappeared off the face of the earth and aren’t discussing the specifics of their group.
To give each band an edge in their competition, many choose to hide their theme. According to senior Elizabeth Eckert, a member of Third West Olson’s Airband, not sharing the theme adds surprise, mystery and excitement. It bonds her team together when they treat their Airband like a secret mission.
As the weeks go on, keeping the Airband themes a secret becomes more and more difficult.
Every group is trying to figure out what every other group is doing. This is especially important while groups are forming one unique routine.
Keeping the Airband theme hidden is so important to some groups that they will create a misnomer theme. A popular response to throw off their competition is to say they are performing the Passion of the Christ.
While a secret bonds groups together and adds more tension to an already exciting event, most themes do, in fact, leak. The leaking usually ends up happening in some form or another before Airband is actually performed. If a theme leaks too soon, then it is more difficult to stay original.
“Keeping it hush-hush between sixty people just doesn’t happen,” Inter-Class Council (ICC) cabinet member Lucas Moritz said.
However, ICC has a new protocol to avoid the possibility of duplicate themes. Cabinet members will alert any groups that have the same theme without spilling which groups are performing what.
While group captains still have the freedom to keep their original theme, this will help future Airband groups to not worry about duplicate ideas and have a better chance of making it through auditions.
Each year, ICC gathers with Airband captains and sorts out their reservations to practice in Rediger Auditorium. They must then find six judges from the community without biases. These judges decide who the Airband winners are at the showings — one early showing for the community and another for the majority of the Taylor student body. ICC is also involved in running the event and coordinating with the competitors and judges.
With so many moving parts, this beloved tradition of keeping themes a secret often falls out of people’s priorities, especially when excitement is building during audition week. Oftentimes, a theme leaking doesn’t affect the performance due to the routines, music and costumes that have already been decided.
This doesn’t detract from each year’s effort to keep the competition strong but is a good reminder of the focus of Airband: a fun time for the students of Taylor University to compete together in a musical event.
People are always inventing new ways to throw off the competition. So while most of the preparation is over this spring, the mantra of keeping the theme under wraps is still alive and well across Taylor’s campus.