The sounds of rhythm resonated through Lisner auditorium Saturday night as GW’s traditionally black sororities and fraternities performed for a nearly sold-out audience at the fifth-annual GW Step Show. About 1,500 spectators attended.
A lively audience ranged from Washington Redskin Lavar Arrington to a group of seven students from Thomas Jefferson Junior High School in Arlington, Va., who recently started their own step team.
Hosted by radio station 93.9 WKYS DJ Antonio and sponsored by the Nu Beta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the show was both a dance competition and fundraiser for the Center for Sickle Cell Research and the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fund for a monument on the mall. It raised about $3,000, members said.
“This is the fifth-annual show. In the past, half of the GW campus has
attended,” said Alpha Phi Alpha President Talib Hudson. “It is usually sold out. (The show) is one of the biggest step shows in the area.”
Hudson said the fraternity recruits members through events like the step show.
“We hold events and people see us, see what we’re about, and want to be a part of the fraternity,” Hudson said.
He said Alpha Phi Alpha was the first black collegiate fraternity in the country, and the fraternity is open to all races.
The evening began with singing of poet James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” popularly called the black national anthem. Step teams including students from D.C. and Maryland schools from Phi Beta Sigma, Omega Psi Phi, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Zeta Phi Beta, Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Phi Alpha alumni entertained the audience.
Freshman Libby McCaffery, a member of GW sorority Alpha Phi, said about 10 members showed up to display unity between her sorority and traditionally black-Greek organizations.
“We are all here as a sorority. It was brought up how segregated the black and white sororities are. We are interested in experiencing the kinds of events they put on because they’re different from the kinds of things we do,” McCaffery said. “The show was awesome. It was something that we wouldn’t normally be able to see.”
Other audience members gave the show good reviews.
“I was impressed with the quality of the show,” said Jason Kelley, an Alpha Phi Alpha alumnus. “Everyone seemed to be enjoying it.”
Ivan Johnson said he was at the show to support his girlfriend who was performing in the show.
“It’s good that everyone can come together and enjoy the show even though they are from different fraternities and sororities. It’s like one big family reunion,” Johnson said.
After a brief deliberation, the judges chose Omega Psi Phi as the best fraternity performer, and Alpha Kappa Alpha as the best sorority step performer. They also presented the sisters of Delta Sigma Theta with the overall best award for “stepping in unity.”