Introducing the 2023 SING! Coordinators

Lianne Ohayon, Caroline Stansberry, and Rayen Zhou were recently chosen as coordinators for Stuyvesant SING! 2023.

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By Alifa Azad

Preparations are underway for this year’s SING! performances, which are set to begin in the first week of March. The coordinators this year for the annual student-run musical competition are senior Lianne Ohayon, junior Caroline Stansberry, and sophomore Rayen Zhou. Coordinators work closely with their own Slate and crews, as well as the administration, faculty, the Student Union, and one another to ensure that all SING! performances are successful.

Senior SING!: Lianne Ohayon

Senior SING! Coordinator Lianne Ohayon’s SING! experience dates back to before coming to Stuyvesant, through participating in her sleepaway camp’s SING! performances. Having been both SophFrosh and Junior SING! Coordinator in the past two years, Ohayon chose to participate in SING! after falling in love with the magic of the SING! experience. “I think it’s incredible how much we can all do working together,” Ohayon said. “[SING! is] such a vibrant community.”

Though the SING! season has just started, leadership positions have already been decided, and more plans for the show will be finalized in the coming weeks. “In-person rehearsals start once we get back for [the] second semester, and then it’s full force until the show,” Ohayon said. “We’ve been working on our script and [...] are looking forward to making a lot more progress in the next few weeks.”

The theme for this year’s Senior SING! is “Seven Deadly Sins,” and Ohayon looks forward to making the show bold and electric while drawing inspiration from previous SING! productions. “We’ve been looking a lot at past things because each one has their own kind of background story to them, plot line, props, ideas,” Ohayon said. “[We’ve been] drawing inspiration from all the SING!s in the past and kind of letting their creative energy kind of seep into our minds when we’re creating our visions for the show.”

While Ohayon has her senior SING! responsibilities, she is also tasked with the challenge of ensuring that performances across all grades are a success. “I really wanted to get a broader view of the SING! experience and be able to work with so many different crews on many different projects and mesh them together,” Ohayon said.

Additionally, though Ohayon has to handle tight deadlines, she remains optimistic. “I’m really hopeful that everything’s going to run really smoothly and is going to be really great,” Ohayon said. “Though the timeline is a challenge, it keeps us motivated to really accomplish the task [to] the best of our ability.”

While Ohayon expresses excitement for the production to come, she is also saddened to experience her last SING! at Stuyvesant. “SING! is the highlight of my Stuy[vesant] experience, has been since my freshman year, and I’m really excited [...] that we can close things off with a bang,” Ohayon said. “It’s sad to have to start closing the SING! chapter. It’s bittersweet, a lot of mixed emotions.”

Junior SING!: Caroline Stansberry

Junior SING! Coordinator Caroline Stansberry was first exposed to SING! through her older siblings’ participation in the shows. “Both my older siblings went to Stuy and they were both involved in SING! in some way,” Stansberry said. “My parents told me it was almost completely student-run and I thought that was crazy because whenever I would see [the shows], I would think they were equivalent to real, professional productions.”

Currently, Stansberry is in the process of determining leadership positions and distributing responsibilities in a way that combats problems she faced in previous years. “[Last year] we didn’t have a dance director, which we might have this year because I think that’ll be pretty important and make things run smoother,” Stansberry said. “Last year [...] I had one producer in charge of budget, but this year, I’m going to have two just because it was a little overwhelming for the producer last year.”

Stansberry is also in the process of envisioning how the show will correspond with the junior theme, “Camp.” “The vision is fuzzy for the show right now,” Stansberry said. “[The Slate and I] have a general plot line that we’re thinking of giving the scriptwriters.”

However, one major challenge is managing the vast amount of crews. “Because there’s just so many directors, it becomes difficult to communicate with all of them [...] That’s what I think is one of the hardest responsibilities, keeping all the directors on track and following the rules that I laid out for them,” Stansberry said.

Stansberry also hopes that the competitive nature of SING! won’t obstruct juniors from having a fun experience. “Can we just forget the competition for a minute [and] enjoy all our hard work culminating in this beautiful production? I got on Facebook and people are already posting that junior SING! is going to win [or] suck,” Stansberry said. “I just hope it’s more of a fun season and less of [it being] super stressful [and] competitive.”

Looking past the challenges, Stansberry is excited for the SING! season. “Each year is so different. Even though I was coordinator last year, and I’m going to be coordinator this year, they’re not going to be the same,” Stansberry said. “It’s going to be different people, a new SING!, and a new environment. And new rules, hopefully. A brand new experience.”

Soph-Frosh SING!: Rayen Zhou

Rayen Zhou is this year’s Soph-Frosh SING! Coordinator, having started his SING! journey last year as a producer. “Last year was my first experience with SING!,” Zhou said. “Being a producer taught me a lot about the detailed intricacies of SING! and how to oversee a production.”

With “The Royal Court” as the theme for Soph-Frosh SING!, Zhou hopes to find performers with unique skill sets to enhance the production experience. “As we make a return from hybrid SING! and the other challenges brought by COVID, I hope that this year's SING! will be more elaborate and represent a wider range of student interests and talents,” Zhou said.

One of the main challenges Zhou faces is coordinating multiple grades. “As coordinator, I am responsible for basically everything related to Soph-Frosh SING!, from plot development to director selections to overseeing day-to-day operations to budgeting,” Zhou said.

While directing an entirely student-run production can be difficult, Zhou believes that he can overcome any unexpected challenges with the support of his team. “Being a first-time SING! coordinator is somewhat stressful and there are high expectations. However, I am lucky to have an extremely supportive Slate, as well as the other coordinators to turn to if I am in need of advice,” Zhou said.

Despite the many potential challenges, Zhou believes that SING! will ultimately be extremely rewarding. “Universally, I believe that all SING! participants can agree that staying after school and coming in over weekends and breaks to work with their crews fosters a close sense of community and friendship,” Zhou said. “It is this sense of unity and determination within crews and between the various crews that I hope to foster this year.”