‘Singing for Shriners’ competition to raise money for charity


In an “American Idol”-style singing competition, nine fraternities and sororities will take the stage tonight to compete against each other in an effort to raise money for charity.

Theta Chi will host for the second time, “Singing for Shriners,” an “American Idol” styled singing competition to help raise money for Shriners Hospital for Children, a non-profit hospital located on campus that treats children with orthopedic conditions from birth to the age of 18, regardless of the family’s financial abilities. Since 1985 Shriners has provided specialized care for children throughout the state of Florida and South Georgia through their orthotics and prostetics, physical and occupational therapy and wheelchair department and medical staff.

“Singing for Shriners” will consist of elimination styled rounds of competition, in which a hand-picked lineup of judges, decided upon by both Theta Chi and Shriners, will evaluate each group’s performances.

Among the judges will be Alicia Argiz-lyons, Shriners’ director of development; Julie Williams, a current Shriners patient and avid singer; and David Dittman, a father of a Shriners patient and a Board of Governors member from Egypt Shriners.

Each group will have five minutes to perform their chosen song, mash-up or personalized song and groups will be judged on performance, crowd favorite, best attendance and best overall.

“Some people have written special songs either to dedicate to Shriners Hospital or to specific children in the hospital that they know of,” Sean Hollingsworth, the internal philanthropy chair for Theta Chi and a junior majoring in criminology, said.

Carolina Meneses, a freshman majoring in mass communications, who will perform in a group of five girls from Kappa Delta, said her group has been practicing for a month.

“We’re really excited to see the reaction of the crowd because one of our songs is really popular right now,” Meneses said. “So it’ll be exciting to see everyone’s reactions to that.”

Theta Chi is looking to turn “Singing for Shriners” into an annual event and have it continue to be their spring philanthropy. A few members are looking to become Shriners themselves.

“Anytime we reach out to Theta Chi for special events, if we need extra volunteers or just support from them they are always ready and willing to jump in and help,” former Shriners patient and public relations specialist Jamie Santillo said.

“We always strive to have the kids reach their full potential and it is a family-centered type of care,” Santillo said. “We don’t just treat the patient we treat the whole family.”

The event is not specifically for the Greek community and is open to all including USF students, as well as Shriners patients, families, and employees.

The event takes place at 7 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center Oval theater with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds raised will directly benefit Shriners.