Tiger Tunes culminates 40 years of history

Tiger Tunes is an event everyone across campus and beyond knows about and is one of the most exciting events of the school year. However, it didn’t start out as the stellar show it is today.

Forty years ago, the Ouachita Student Foundation (OSF) was looking for new ways to fundraise. Holly Garavel, former student director of the first Tiger Tunes, had visited Baylor University a few years before she became a student at Ouachita and watched their production of University Sing. Thinking back to this experience a few years later, she thought the “talented students [here] could do the same thing.”

Then, she and Carol Roper, a former OSF Advisor, visited another school in Ark. that was doing a similar event. They gathered old tapes and ideas from the school to bring back to the other OSF members as the school year began.

Garavel was able to convince enough people to believe in the idea and take a look at it. The idea was introduced to OSF in September and they went to their own clubs to sell it.

“Many clubs were interested from the get-go,” Garavel said.

Although, she did have to persuade a few of the groups to stick it out.

As soon as OSF and the clubs agreed, Garavel became a chairman of the committee responsible for planning Tiger Tunes and many of the members pulled it together in only two months with nothing to go off of other than Baylor’s University Sing.

“I remember feeling frustrated and a bit fearful that this idea would never work,” Garavel said.

Since Jones Performing Arts Center (JPAC) wasn’t even in existence, the event was held in what is now known as Jones Science Center in an auditorium made up of folding wooden chairs, a small stage and no technical aspect other than sound. There were only three hosts and hostesses (two males and one female) and a band who did all the music live. It was also less of a musical than it is today.

That year, many people purchased tickets and enjoyed the simple, yet exciting new event. Dr. Deborah Root, former member of the publicity team for Tiger Tunes, made posters, t-shirts and everything else she could to get the word out.

“There was great support,” Dr. Root said.

The winners from the very first Tiger Tunes were Baptist Student Union in first (now known as Campus Ministries), The Women of EEE in second, The Women of Chi Delta in third and The Men of Beta Beta in fourth.

The groups who performed have had their share of change as well. Alongside Baptist Student Union, Self (now known as Student Life) mainly consisted of juniors and seniors whereas now it consists of mainly freshmen.

The first Tiger Tunes changed Ouachita for the better. Over the years, there has been a tremendous amount of scholarships given out to the students thanks to the money it raises.

Tunes has grown exponentially in planning and professionalism which contributes to rising expectations but is able to fulfill those expectations each year.

Garavel returned to Tiger Tunes the second year to be a judge and once again for the 30-year reunion in 2010.

“I was amazed at its growth and prestige. I can still see some of those familiar Tunes [shows] come to life on stage with many friends,” Garavel said.

Dr. Root, has been to Tiger Tunes 38 times and will return for this year’s 40th anniversary.

To Dr. Root and Holly Garavel, Tiger Tunes has exceeded their expectations.

“It has far out-served its original purpose,” Garavel said.

Changes that have been made since the creation of Tiger Tunes include the lighting system, tickets being sold quickly online rather than through the OSF office as printed tickets, clubs being required to send their music in before they may use it and the hosts and hostesses being recorded instead of singing live on special numbers. This has required OSF to do even more planning and coordinating.

“I’m not surprised that it sells out and people keep coming back to see it,” Dr. Root said.

According to Alec Edmonds, President of OSF, the demand for Tiger Tunes is incredible this year. His job is give support to Jaret Webb, OSF Director of Special Events, and others taking part in putting together and performing in the show.

Since Tiger Tunes is a little different every year, expect some surprises on the JPAC stage. One thing new this year will be the system for the People’s Choice award. The Development Office started a program called Mobile Giving, which will give people the opportunity to pay two weeks in advance via mobile devices and will hopefully raise more money for student scholarships.

“I encourage you to come and see what we’ve added to the show this year,” Edmonds said.

OSF is excited to celebrate 40 years of the Outstanding Student Advancement Program (CASE ASAP) with the return of the very first hosts and hostess. Tickets sold out very quickly for three shows and the fourth is nearly full.

Last year, Tiger Tunes raised over $100,000 and this year, OSF hopes to raise even more.

Tiger Tunes takes a lot of time and planning. However, Jon and Emily Merryman, the OSF sponsors, have worked hard over the years to organize it well and pass it down to the special events directors. Jon Merryman helps the directors see the vision each year and encourages the members to execute the plan with enthusiasm.

“Get ready to hear and see Tunes from the past 40 years,” Edmonds said.

By McKenna Stephens, staff writer

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