Thursday, April 25, 2013
As I wrote last week, this past weekend was Alumnae Weekend at Agnes Scott. To be back in Decatur again brought back those feelings of home I wrote about last year after a similarly wonderful weekend in the ATL. While much of the weekend was spent eating doughnuts and watching college-roommate-extraordinaire-Emily’s dancer babies rehearse for Aladdin, Jr., one of the highlights was the Friday night Hub Sing.
Hub Sing /’həb ‘siŋ/ n. 1. An event at Agnes Scott College during which alumnae and current students sing school songs, Black Cat songs, and old American favorites. 2. A place of revelry. 3. A Scotty’s first introduction to rambunctious alumnae. 4. Free wine + singing = one of the best Agnes traditions.
I wrote my senior music thesis on Hub Sings, so needless to say, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the subject. As part of my research I looked in the library’s archives for old song books, which showed a kind of discouraging trend. In the older songbooks, songs were frequently added or subtracted; in fact, 60% of the songs in the 1921 Songbook are new songs that do not appear in the 1919 version. Recent songbooks show a decline in production of new songs, as almost all the songs contained in the 2007 Songbook appear in earlier songbooks.
In a ritual like the Hub Sing, one of the most important elements for the continuation of the ritual is maintaining relevancy. The most successful songs are the ones that bridge the generational gap by elaborating on collective experiences, like love for Agnes Scott, way too much studying, and the bittersweet feelings surrounding graduation. I worried that without new songs or a change to the Hub Sing format, the ritual couldn’t sustain itself. The current student body really needed to engage with the Hub Sing.
I am so happy to report that they’ve done just that! From compiling a new songbook to making buttons with favorite lyrics, I felt new life breathed into the Hub Sing this year. It may have had something to do with being out of college or being with some of the best people ever, but this Hub Sing was, without a doubt, the best one I’ve attended. Keep it up, Scotties.
For a more picture- and video-filled post, hop on over to Yippee! It’s MLE for Emily’s take on the Hub Sing.