2009 Spring Fling returns to its lip-sync roots

Coiffed, cool, and choreographed, the acts at this year’s Spring Fling harked back to the origins of the all-staff party’s 13-year-old lip sync contest. The theme was Motown, and the music from that Detroit-based hit factory of the 1960s provided plenty of snappy, soulful inspiration for five very diverse acts.

Over the last several years, the Employee Activities Committee tried some alternate formats for the Fling, including a takeoff of “American Idol” in 2007. However, in a survey carried out by the EAC last year, respondents asked for a return to the lip sync—albeit with a few tweaks.

“People said they wanted shorter acts, with a theme and an actual competition,” says the EAC’s Kris Marwitz, who headed up the Fling planning along with Kristen Alipit. “So we thought, ‘Let’s give people what they want.’ Obviously it worked out well.” 

The soulful theme of the May 15 party extended to the dinner buffet presented in the CG lobby by Event Services. The spread featured a hearty array of barbecue chicken, pork, and tempeh, in addition to the usual veggies, snacks, and drinks.

See below for party pictures and video clips of each lip-sync entry. For more photos, check out the Spring Fling slide show.

Communications staff singing

First prize went to the Communicators for their stylized rendition of the Temptations’ “I Can’t Get Next to You,”  The group included Mike Henry (second from right, Government Affairs), and four Communications staffers (left to right): Carlye Calvin, Shilo Hall, Zhenya Gallon, and Bob Henson. Their dapper outfits and dance moves were inspired by a video clip of the Temptations performing the song in 1969.  The Communicators’ eye-catching blue ties were designed by offstage group member Linda Korsgaard. (Photo courtesy Joe VanAndel.) Watch the video.

Craig Hartsough singing with image of his donkey in background

Emcee Craig Hartsough (ACD) took second place by putting an equine twist on his solo version of the Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch).” The song was dedicated to the Hartsoughs’ donkey, Belle. “She used to be in the local church's nativity setup, so now she's been on both stage and screen,” says Craig. His pairing of lip sync and slide show of Belle won him second-place honors, although it also prompted HR director Bob Roesch to stride on stage unscripted and present Craig with a faux pink slip. Watch the video.

F&A staffers sing Michael Jackson song

The F&A Five grabbed third place with its medley of “I Want You Back“ and “ABC,” starring UCAR vice president Katy Schmoll (second from right) as a young Michael Jackson. The act originated as a President’s Council entry, but Congressional testimony and other pressing duties won out over bubblegum pop. Along with Katy, the final group included (left to right) Cheryl Cristanelli, Kristen Alipit, Kelly Coleman, and Tina Sedillo. Watch the video.

Tim Barnes does a mock commercial.

Craig also teamed with Tim Barnes (EO) for a mock commercial, presented on video, featuring Tim as Stevie Wonder. The ad spotlighted an album of “NCAR/Motown hits” that included such fictional smashes as:

            •  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (To Keep Those 100 mph Winds Away)
            •  What’s Going On?  (I Thought They Said It Would Rain)
            •  Signed, Sealed, Delivered (But As Of Yet, Unfunded)

Watch the video.

F&A Muppets sing "Proud Mary".

The Fling delved into surrealism with the fourth-place entry, F&A’s Motown Muppets, including (second from left) Bill Hammel as a ventriloquist and (far left) Megan Delaney as his puppet—brought onstage in a zippered bag. In their rendition of Ike and Tina Turner’s classic version of “Proud Mary,” the duo started out slowly, then broke into overdrive, accompanied by a set of furiously flailing marionettes operated by (left to right) Marion Hammond, Justin Young, and Kelly Box. Watch the video.

Meauville group from MMM and RAL sing.

Their act may have placed fifth overall, but for sheer volume, symmetry, and style, there was no outdoing the hairdos of Meauville (Motown in French), whose members were from ESSL/MMM and RAL. The group’s name was a tip of the hat to the French nationalities of four of its five members, led by Tom Auligne (MMM). Meauville shook their booties and Afros to the Nylons’ version of the 1964 Betty Everett hit “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss).” Pictured above are group leader Tom Auligne (MMM), Gregory Roux (RAL), Francois Vandenberghe (RAL), Chris Snyder (MMM), and Yann Michel (MMM). Watch the video.

The judges

The three judges:  Jennifer Frazer (COMET), Reta Lorenz (ESSL/ACD), and Mike Moran (ESSL).

Watch the videos:

The Communicators

Emcee Craig Hartsough

The F&A Five

Tim Barnes

Motown Muppets