For one day during Homecoming week every year, Wescoe Beach is transformed into a colorful palette of murals chalked by students.
Rain didn’t put a damper on this year’s competition—wet conditions forced the event to be rescheduled from Tuesday to Thursday, but creative Jayhawks still showed up to chalk designs depicting this year’s Homecoming theme, “Ghosts of Jayhawks Past.”
Participating organizations were assigned a square on Wescoe Beach and given four hours to create their masterpiece. Artistic talent was on display with spooky scenes, plenty of pumpkins and ghostly Jayhawks making appearances.
A panel of judges selected this year’s winners:
1st place, Student Life: Student Union Activities
2nd place, Student Life: KU School of Engineering
3rd place, Student Life: KU Dance Marathon
1st place, Greek Life: Alpha Chi Omega and Sigma Alpha Epsilon
2nd place, Greek Life: Kappa Alpha Theta and Sigma Nu
3rd place, Greek Life: Sigma Kappa and Delta Chi
Students didn’t let chilly weather and Game 2 of the World Series sap their school spirit as they gathered Wednesday evening for the annual Jayhawk Jingles competition at the Adams Alumni Center. While the crowd feasted on free food from local favorites Johnny’s Tavern and Torched Goodness, nine sorority-fraternity teams got psyched up to showcase their talents and honor this year’s Homecoming theme, Ghosts of Jayhawks Past.
The competition is one of Homecoming’s most entertaining traditions and encourages students to exercise their creativity by singing, dancing and performing skits. This year’s teams truly embraced the Halloween spirit, dressing up as ghosts and zombies and spinning their own lyrics to popular tunes such as “Thriller” and “Ghostbusters.” One team even sketched out a hilarious Scooby-Doo comedy routine, complete with villainous Oklahoma Sooners who had captured Baby Jay.
Judging this year’s competition were Alumni Association National Board Members Shelle Hook McCoy, d’73; and Don, c’61, m’65, and Carolyn “Kay” Cromb Brada, c’61, who had the difficult job of determining which teams would take home top honors.
Winners in the Greek life category were:
First place: Sigma Kappa and Delta Chi
Second place: Kappa Alpha Theta and Sigma Nu
Third place: Alpha Chi Omega and Sigma Alpha Epsilon
Delta Lambda Phi and LOTUS (Leaders of Tomorrow, Unbreakable Sisterhood) took first place in the student life category.
Click here to view the photos on Flickr, and watch our short video of Jingles below.
Like many close friends, Sara Stotts and Julie Thies Dunlap can finish each other’s sentences. They also finish each other’s songs—much to the delight of audiences who have seen their irreverent musical, “MotherFreakingHood!” (Maternal Discretion Advised), which makes its Kansas City debut May 29-June 14 at the Goppert Theatre at Avila University.
The two began creating music—including Rock Chalk Revue productions—as Kappa Alpha Theta sorority sisters and roommates at KU. Like true collaborators, each credits the other for their successful partnership.
“I’m not a singer,” Dunlap says. “Sara’s a phenomenal singer. I can play the piano and barely carry a tune to get my idea across to her. She’s really fantastic.”
Stotts, d’95, a physical therapist in Chicago, has performed with comedy troupes, including The Second City and Annoyance Theatre. Improvisation helped her hone her comedic skills, she says, but Dunlap “helped me find my funny bone. I was a lot funnier after I met Julie. Before her, I was boring.”
Dunlap, c’98, hatched the plot for “MotherFreakingHood” following Stotts’ 40th birthday party, when Stotts’ husband, Bill Vellon, booked a comedy band to perform. The party triggered Dunlap’s creativity. “I started thinking about when we were roommates, doing Rock Chalk Revue. We wrote stuff all the time,” she recalls. “I thought we should make a show about motherhood, so I called Sara and suggested we write this musical and make it about three moms—and she didn’t call me back for probably three months. I thought, ‘Well, I guess we’re not going to do that.’
“I had written a couple of songs just for fun, and Sara finally called me one day and said, ‘OK, I’m in. I’ve written three songs, and I’m ready. Let’s go.’ So we did.”
When they began the project, Stotts’ children, Steven and Lauren, were 3 and 1, and Dunlap, who lives in Lawrence with her husband, David, c’92, m’96, was guiding her four children through grade school while writing a weekly column for the Lawrence Journal-World.
After sharing songs and ideas long-distance and holing up at hotels in Lawrence and Chicago for weekends of writing, the two finished the musical (originally called “Mother%$!#hood”), and it sold out in fall 2013 at the Lawrence Arts Center. Their work caught the attention of producer Seth Eckelman and Moonshine Variety Co., which is staging the Kansas City premiere.
The show tells the stories of three mothers, Rachael, Angie and Marcia, whose children range in ages from infants to teenagers. “We had very few rules, but one of them was that everything had to be funny,” Dunlap explains. “There cannot be anything sad and nobody dies in the show. Motherhood is stressful enough; you don’t want to go to a play and cry about it. And it had to be truthful—and I mean the truth in your head. The truth you might not even tell your best friend.”
For the musical’s Lawrence debut, Dunlap directed and Stotts played Marcia, the oldest mom in the show who is surprised to learn she’s having a “bonus baby.” Now the two are watching director Heidi Vann and new actresses interpret their work for the Kansas City production. “It’s really fun to see their instincts and their chemistry,” Stotts says. “It’s not like I didn’t know the show, but they brought things to the songs that I didn’t expect.”
The two friends hope a successful Kansas City run will lead to performances in Chicago.“The ultimate goal is to see this do for moms what ‘Menopause The Musical’ did for menopausal women,” Dunlap says. “It is a voice and an anthem and a celebration—and we want it to take over the world.”
KU’s 102nd Homecoming celebration will take place Sept. 21-27 of this year, and we thought it would be fun to share photos and stories from past Homecomings to help get alumni, students and fans excited. So, we’re participating in the internet meme Throwback Thursday, a popular trend on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram where users post old pictures of themselves.
Inspired by 1962 Homecoming theme “Television Advertising,” Kappa Alpha Theta sorority members decorated the lawn in front of their house. Decorating fraternity, sorority and residence hall lawns had been a long tradition of Homecoming at this point.
Unfortunately, the KU football team lost the Homecoming game to Nebraska, 16-40.
Check back next week for another look at KU’s rich tradition of Homecoming! We’d love to see your Homecoming pictures and hear your stories. Submit them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tag your pictures with #kuhomecoming on Twitter or Instagram.