The hosts and hostesses of Tiger Tunes are notorious for captivating and amazing the audience with their skill, creativity and aesthetic.
How do these students pull off such an impressive performance while managing full class schedules in college? Well, there is a lot more preparation and organization that goes into this role than what the audience sees on the JPAC stage.
Tiger tunes hosts and hostess auditions occurred last semester in the Spring. The audition process required outstanding musical performance from hopeful hosts and hostesses, including good vocal performance and dance ability.
From the audition process, eight hosts and hostesses were selected. The 2019 hosts and hostesses are Cross Brandon, Carlin Campbell, Clay Mobley, Stuart Sowerbutts, Mallory Cain, Jhonika Wright, Abby Shourd and Ashlynn Lockhart.
These students began rehearsals for Tiger Tunes months before other students participating in group Tunes shows did.
“We come back a week before school starts and we have a host and hostess retreat where we take a couple of days to learn all of our music,” hostess Jhonika Wright said.
The group started in August with the basics of learning the song lyrics and gradually added more complexities to their rehearsals, such as musicality, choreography, and stage placements.
“We start with just working music and assigning solos and parts, then move on to choreography and staging later. It gets more comfortable and fun as time goes on and we become closer,” hostess Ashlynn Lockhart said.
Full-time rehearsals have continued each week since the group arrived to start rehearsals in August.
“We get together about 2-3 times a week to run all of our music and on the days we’re not singing that’s when we’re learning choreography,” Wright said.
Hosts and hostesses put in many hours a week to achieve a perfected yet seemingly effortless performance, upwards of 20 hours a week, but they all agree that the long hours are worth it and even enjoyable because of the friendships they have formed.
“This process has been so fun and has been such an experience. It required a lot of hard work and effort to get to where we are for the show, but each rehearsal we’ve had has been so fun and exciting that I forget it’s even work. Growing closer together with the other hosts has been the best part of it all,” host Benton Brandon said.
A lot more than vocal and dance training is necessary for a successful performance, however. Hosts and hostesses also must develop a cohesive, eye-catching wardrobe for each song in the performance and for group pictures to promote Tiger Tunes weeks before the show begins.
The process of selecting outfits that compliment all eight hosts and hostesses requires teamwork, patience, and expertise. Hosts and hostesses rely on the help of Emily Merryman to get a good idea of what exactly their outfits should look like, what clothing items they can use that they already have, and what pieces they need to go shopping for.
“Emily Merryman has Pinterest boards with general moods and aesthetics for each number. We pull a little from our own closets, but the shopping trip is really fun to find outfits that fit the theme and go well together. It’s great having 7 other people to hype each other up and encourage one another on our outfits,” Lockhart said.
After taking Merryman’s advice, enduring a long day of shopping and boosting each other’s confidence, the group is excited about their outfits and the fond memories they created in this unique process.
“The costumes are incredible for everyone! The process felt a little hectic; however, it was yet another bonding experience for this group, so of course we had lots of fun! Seeing each other in our costumes together for the first time was a huge realization that this all isn’t a dream. Everyone looked and felt amazing, as if we were ready to take the stage right there,” Brandon said.
Once their wardrobe is finalized, hosts and hostesses have a photoshoot to promote their performance at Tiger Tunes.
“The photo shoots are fun and goofy. A bit of trial and error until we all look coordinated and together,” Lockhart said.
With obtaining such a role as unique as this one, hosts and hostesses commonly find certain elements of the role surprising or not exactly what they had anticipated at the beginning.
“I didn’t anticipate the amount of individual rehearsal and discipline this would take,” Lockhart said.
For all the hosts and hostesses, they are walking away from their long Tiger Tunes preparation process with an abundance of fond memories of camaraderie with their fellow hosts and hostesses.
“I never thought we’d become as close as we have. We’re such a chill group, but everyone is so funny and so much fun to be around. We all just work so well together, and we get so excited for rehearsals so we can see each other and just hangout,” Wright said.
Brandon encourages any prospective hosts and hostesses to audition, even if they are uncertain of their qualifications or if they will enjoy the role.
“This group knows how to cooperate, collaborate, and work together to make beautiful music, which made it really easy on me when we were rehearsing! Audition for it even if you don’t feel like you will get it. Each and every host and hostess are unique in their own way and bring something different to the table,” Brandon said
By Sara Patterson, news and opinions editor