As December came and passed, I was very upset to have had a Green Christmas, but I never imagined my wish for snow would leave us with record setting negative temperatures in January, 39 inches of snow in February, and a winter storm in April. While I was happy that my fairy tale winter-wonderland was here, I did not anticipate what else winter would bring. My emotions are easily affected by many things – I cry during movies and if I see a cute baby or puppy – but I had never felt the effect of winter bringing me down. With so many days of snowstorms or temperatures below -30⁰F, we were stuck inside for a good portion of the winter and we were getting restless. Every single one of my housemates is so supportive, and we are really great about talking to one another about things we are struggling with – this winter was no different. We reached out to one another to make sure everyone’s needs were being met and came up with creative solutions to fight against the darkness of winter. Some of us went to the gym together, Bex shared her sunlamp, we watched feel-good shows (like Kitten Rescuers and Great British Baking Show), we made yummy treats, and more. But my favorite thing we did was prepare for the spring retreat’s LIP SYNC BATTLE! The way creative projects in our house usually work is that one person comes up with a great idea and the rest of the house continues to build upon it with “but we can take it even one step further!” or more like 6 steps further. Here’s how this one went down:
Someone comes up with a cool idea:
In the fall, before we all started hibernating for winter, we hosted a 21st Night of September party in honor of Earth, Wind, and Fire’s song, “September”. Complete with a 70’s and 80’s themed playlist put together by Dylan and costumes that we found at Goodwill and by shopping in each other’s closets. In October we also hosted a community night watching Rocky Horror Picture Show in preparation for the Rocky Horror Drag Ball that we would attend together. These are two of our fondest memories of the fall since we did some really unique and fun things all together. So, when it came to deciding on what to do for Lip Sync, “September” and “Time Warp” were two of the songs thrown out at first.
“But we can take it further”
As we were all trying to decide which one to do, someone came up with an idea even one step further. Why choose between two when we can just create a mash-up? Thank goodness for Dylan who stepped up because he’d done a mash-up before and already had some even ideas on how to make the music flow smoothly.
A little bit of silence accompanied pensive looks and half-smiles as we all began envisioning the performance we would eventually put together. Then, another suggestion was thrown out: “So I’m sensing a theme of time, what if we started with a calm song and then transition into our songs?” Some ideas were bounced around, but we collectively decided to do “Time After Time” to confuse the audience before transitioning into the goofy house that we actually are with the more upbeat songs.
The preparation begins
A few days later, I’m finishing the work day and my phone “dings” with a new GroupMe message in the Redeemer House group chat. I open it up and a giant smile spreads across my face – Dylan finished the mash-up! I listened to that song probably 4 times before the work day was over! At our “family dinner” we talked about logistics of the performance, how to wow the audience and what we wanted to do with the different components. It was decided that we would stand still for “Time After Time” and act extremely awkward. Then as Time Warp music begins, look confused as to why our song turned off but then get into character as the verse started. Without any specifics, we set off to memorize lyrics and prepare for our first rehearsal.
“Let’s take it even one step further!”
A last minute trip back to my childhood home in Chicago meant only one thing: that I had access to the 10 tubs of dress up in my basement which I KNEW included graduation robes. Frantically, I proposed yet another step further. We could wear these during the first song and rip them off to unveil our fun Rocky Horror and 70s themed clothes! Four days later I returned with a giant bag filled with choir robes and other random articles of clothing that went with our funky themes, including my grandpa’s old golf pants. After 30 minutes of playing dress up and laughing at how ridiculous we could look, we began rehearsal to figure out exactly how we would pull this off. We grabbed our lyrics sheets and began choreographing each section. To speed things up for you, we had more ideas built upon each other, including wearing sparkly makeup and ending the song with a soul train of LVCers. You’ll have to watch the video to see the magic unfold.
Planning the Lip Sync Battle was a blast, but it was even more than that, it helped bring us out of the winter blues and bond as a house. At Redeemer house, a statement that starts like “Okay, this is probably too much…” means we are about to get really creative and show off how important it is to celebrate other’s ideas and passions (it’s amazing how much love and support you can feel just because your parents refuse to get rid of their kid’s childhood toys). My house is incredible, and I could not imagine going through this year without them.