The schedule for Orientation Weekend is packed with activities that get the incoming class excited for new beginnings at St. Mary’s. The annual Airbands show, held on Friday, August 29 at 8 p.m. in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center, was a fun, lively event for both new students and the orientation leaders. The OLs put on a series of musical skits for the audience, incorporating dance, comedy, props, and costumes. While some orientation events take on a more serious tone, these performances were a lighthearted way of introducing the new students to life at St. Mary’s.
The OLs take preparation for Airbands seriously and schedule plenty of practice time before the night of the show. Dedicated groups of students work within a general theme for each act and choreograph their routines. Rehearsals often last late into the night during their training, and the effort they’ve put in became obvious during the performance. These acts gave the OL’s an opportunity to showcase their creative potential and sense of humor. “We’ve all worked really hard on this,” said junior Marty Shay on his second year performing in Airbands. “We were very proud of how it turned out.”
The attendants had clearly been looking forward to Airbands: the crowd was already excited upon arriving, and began dancing in the bleachers before the OL’s had even taken the stage. The enthusiasm in the room was infectious as MC’s Matt “Matty Ice” Hilbert, Orientation co-chair, and Brian “B-Pizzle” Pelkey, an orientation leader, kicked off the show. The skits ranged from a spoof on high school stereotypes to a journey through a student’s crazy dreams when she falls asleep in class. A “Throwback to the 90s” act, in which OL’s sported plenty of denim while dancing to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song and hits such as ‘N SYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” and TLC’s “Waterfalls,” was a crowd favorite. Another performance that drew plenty of cheers revealed what each major at St. Mary’s was really about, with biology students dancing to “Circle of Life” from the Lion King soundtrack and psych majors in lab coats chasing mice. Other acts included a summertime themed skit, a humorous timeline from preschool to college, and the seven deadly sins “SMCM style.”
Other groups on campus also participated in Airbands. SMART, the Sexual Misconduct: Advocacy and Resource Team, informed students about changes in their program and encouraged attendants to save the number for their 24/7 hotline. After the MCs gave out some basic fire safety guidelines, a group of RA’s performed a related skit. Peer Health Educators also made an appearance to let the audience know about their new programs and upcoming events.
With hilarious performances, a great variety of music, and plenty of freebies for the audience, the first years were impressed with everything their OL’s had put together for Airbands. “My group said they really enjoyed it. There was a lot of great energy,” said junior Sam Hirsh. “The next day, they told me, ‘Man, you can really dance!’”