Darkness blanketed the Sawyer Auditorium on Nov. 20. A standing-room-only crowd had gathered for the probate – an official presentation of newly initiated fraternity members.
At around 7:20 pm, nearly everyone in the audience rose. The darkened room was illuminated by a slew of phone flashlights as spectators began to record. The newest members of the Beta Upsilon chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc., entered the room. Uniformly attired in white dress shirts, red ties, black pants and matching vests, they strolled down the rightmost aisle. Each one of them wore a white mask that obscured his face. Cheers and applause ensued as the audience welcomed the new Kappas.
A total of 18 new members, or “Neos”, made their debut at the probate. DiCarlo Warren, a member of SGA, referred to the Neos as a “resurrection line,” since the chapter had been dormant for quite some time. “The chapter was dead before,” he tells the Herald. The Kappas had been absent from campus for four years, he said, due to “a situation that went wrong.”
Once onstage, all 18 Kappas linked arms with another, all with knees akimbo in a locked pose. One Kappa led a chant, initially unaccompanied. The new members of the fraternity then broke out into a rapid-fire, unison chant, shouting words that some audience members found hard to understand.
Soon, the only light in the auditorium was onstage, behind each newcomer to the Kappas. Each one came forward, dancing to a different R&B or hip-hop song. As the clip ended, each Kappa would crouch low to the ground, unmask himself, and finish with a shimmy. The crowd cheered when they recognized each face.
A combination of group and individual numbers followed. Kappas would break into song a cappella, sometimes joined by their line brothers. One standout routine occurred near the end of the one-hour show. Each Kappa, holding staffs painted to resemble candy canes, did a choreographed routine to R&B/funk group Cameo’s 1986 hit “Candy”.
The line strolled offstage and up the same aisle they’d strolled down earlier. It looked as if they were headed out of Sawyer Auditorium. But it turned out to be a clever fakeout: as soon as they heard a siren, the Kappas abruptly changed course. They rushed back onstage for a group dance/hype session before the show ended. When asked about how it was coming out on stage Warren explained, “It was live,” “I had a great time. It was very, very, very high-energy.” More energy and fun may be in store next year. “There’s a lot planned for the spring,” Warren says, adding that events and initiatives will be announced in the coming months.