This is Convocation: The singing professors

Johanna Pugh

There is something to be said about witnessing professors—professors who are usually seen lecturing, instructing and directing—belt out a song and dance in front of an audience of students.

This is Convocation.

Convocation is an annual assembly Sacramento State’s theatre and dance faculty conducts to inform students of the year’s upcoming events and to encourage them to get involved.

This year’s presentation was held on Sept. 5 in the Playwrights’ Theatre in Shasta Hall. It followed the lead of past years by opening up with a musical number.

“It’s amazing seeing your mentors perform,” said senior theatre major Rachel Mogan, 23. “It’s something that no other department does.”

The faculty members each waved signs labeled with the department’s upcoming productions for the year. This included the two fall plays, “The Heiress” and “Water by the Spoonful,” and the year’s dance showcases, as well as the spring theater productions.

“I think it’s probably one of the weirdest experiences,” said theater major Dechelle Conway, 20. “I watched it last year for the first time, and it was crazy but amazing. It’s like, ‘these crazy people are teaching us?’”

Each professor had their solo moment and there was a lively, refreshing spirit in the way they joked onstage.

English major and theater minor Miranda O’Connor, 20, laughed as she recalled the musical number and said it was a good moment to see teachers singing and dancing.

“It kind of showed them in this real, fleshed-out form,” O’Connor said. “They work hard, they know what they’re doing, and they’re just as excited as we are.”

Not only does Convocation enthuse current theatre and dance majors and minors and acknowledge them for their hard work, it also serves to welcome new students to the department.

O’Connor, who just transferred in this semester, found the whole experience very encouraging.

“It made things more accessible,” O’Connor said. “They basically told us: these are the opportunities, this is how to get involved, we’re here for you.”

During a pause in the performance, student organization representatives from Dance Alliance and Dramatist Society took to the stage to express their mission statements and reach out to their peers.

The dance faculty members who could not attend had a previously-recorded introduction video projected for the students. This was all followed by pizza and a chance to mingle with students and staff.

“I think it kicked off the start of the year,” Conway said. “It makes me excited for everything that’s going to happen.”

Theater and dance professor Ed Brazo had a limited number of hours to teach his colleagues choreography, and stage craft instructor Ron Reisner designed the lighting for the presentation in a mere 30 minutes. It was a collaborative effort that demonstrated the high level of creativity and commitment the faculty has.

“I was already excited, but seeing just how excited they are sparked it more,” O’Connor said. “It made me super happy and bubbly for the rest of the day.”

This convocation was just a glimpse into the dedicated and enthusiastic environment the students will be working in this semester.

“They try really hard to make a connection with the students through this convocation,” Mogan said. “They entertain us and show us what they got. It’s inspiring to see.”