Knife juggling, choreographed dancing, kung fu moves, and a musical theatre medley: excerpts from the world's most diverse variety show? Not quite. Last Saturday marked the 20 Annual Mr. Fraternity Pageant at Carnegie Mellon University. HSS sophomore Tim Dimond of Sigma Phi Epsilon placed first, MCS sophomore Benjamin Neenan of Beta Theta Pi was first-runner-up, and HSS sophomore Basil Carr of Pi Kappa Alpha was second-runner-up. Mr. Phi Kappa Theta, Tepper senior Michael Barella, was named Mr. Congeniality.
Mr. Fraternity is a fundraiser held every year in honor of Karin Johnson, a Kappa Alpha Theta sister who died of an acute asthma attack in 1984 during her sophomore year at Carnegie Mellon. The pageant is held in memory of Johnson, with all of the proceeds benefiting the Karin Johnson Fund and the Central Ohio Breathing Association. This year, Mr. Fraternity raised approximately $5,000.
The evening was run entirely by sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta, chaired by SHS junior Marciela De Grace, assisted by MCS junior Andree Bouillot. Nicole Saulnier, CIT graduate student and president of Carnegie Mellon's Kappa Alpha Theta chapter, was the elegant Mistress of Ceremonies, who worked throughout the evening to ensure that everything flowed together properly. Faculty and staff judges, who were crucial in deciding which participant took home the Mr. Fraternity crown, were Carrie Doonan from MCS, Amy Burkert from MCS, Karen Stump from MCS, Carol Wilhelm from Housing Services, Rowshan Palmer from Student Affairs, and Don Slater from SCS.
The evening started off with the beachwear competition, which was the audience's chance to see about as much of each of the contestants as possible. HSS senior Alexandra Stewart, CFA senior Jennifer Perreira, and CIT senior Morgan Dileo emceed the event. Mr. Kappa Sigma, HSS senior Dan Walsh, strutted onstage in a black patent leather Speedo, to the raucous cheers of the audience and his fraternity brothers. Not to be outdone by him, Mr. Pi Kappa Alpha, Basil Carr, followed wearing a teeny Speedo, and clutching his appeal to the ladies and warm-hearted men: a tiny beagle puppy named Rocko. Some of the participants went all-out with their costumes.Dimond was rolled onstage in a shark cage, with one of his brothers dressed as a very realistic shark and the prerequisite Jaws music playing in the background. Neenan hopped onstage in a hilarious albeit constricting mermaid costume, with one of his brothers dressed as a fish standing next to him for moral support.
The beachwear competition was followed by the togawear competition. CIT senior Ann Schcelokova, architecture fifth-year Candie Yoon, and HSS fifth-year Stephanie Busi narrated as each of the participants showed off how well they could reconstruct sheets and cloth into fashionable Greek-wear.
Following the togawear competition was the highlight of the evening, the talent contest, which was presented by Tepper senior Lauren Maloney, HSS senior Julia Pavia, and MCS senior Jenny Chan.
HSS first-year Alex Andrews, Mr. Theta Xi, slid onstage in his underwear to mimic the dance from the film Risky Business. Carr performed some martial-arts moves on some unfortunate pieces of wood, snapping them in half with his bare hands and feet, before SCS/MCS senior Brian Thompson, Mr. Alpha Epsilon Pi, performed an amusing medley of songs from the hit Broadway show Avenue Q. To the delight of the audience, Walsh juggled some terrifying-looking machetes, Mr. Sigma Nu, CIT sophomore Dave Urban, performed some intimidating break-dance moves, and Mr. Sigma Tau Gamma, CIT senior Randy Sinott, attempted a daunting task: performing the National Anthem while shoving as many marshmallows as he possibly could into his mouth. Dimond accompanied himself on guitar while singing his self-written "Clorox Bleach Medley," an upbeat, spoken-word style compilation of several well-known rap songs such as Ludacris' "What's Your Fantasy," 50 Cent's "In Da Club," and Sir Mix-a-Lot's "Baby Got Back." Neenan also performed a medley of sorts, as he and some of his Beta brothers danced to a variety of songs to represent the rise and fall of a romantic relationship. Due to problems with sound, which were present throughout the show, the audience unfortunately had trouble hearing some of the performances. One such performance was a saxophone solo by Mr. Kappa Delta Rho, CIT sophomore Anthony Bruno, who could barely be heard over his band.
The contestants had their chance to show how well they cleaned up in the formalwear event, which featured each contestant strutting their stuff across the stage in a tuxedo with an escort from one of Carnegie Mellon's sororities. CFA/HSS senior Jessica Rosenberg and HSS senior Alexis Polakoff introduced each contestant. Once each contestant had walked the proverbial runway, they all convened onstage for the question and answer session of the evening. When asked "If you could be any car or animal, which would you be and why?" Carr replied, "A Mercedes, because they're classy, and I'd like to think I'm a classy guy."
During the pageant's intermission, the audience had the chance to cast their vote for the 2005 Mr. Fraternity, although the panel of judges had the final say. The audience's votes accounted for 20 percent of the result.
When the intermission ended, the winner was announced. Laura Drogowski, a Kappa Alpha Theta alumnus, and architecture senior Coleman Rusnok, a SigEp brother who won Mr. Fraternity last year, presented the crown to Tim Dimond, Mr. Sigma Phi Epsilon. With a packed audience and thousands of dollars raised to benefit the research of asthma, the evening was a huge success.
Editor's Note: At the request of a contestant, we have removed a photo from this article.
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"Scotty doesn't know, Scotty doesn't know," sings Mr. Phi Kappa Theta, Michael Barella, during his talent performance.
Mr. Sigma Phi Epsilon, Tim Dimond, entertains the crowd in Rangos with his performance of a humorous medley of rap songs on his guitar.
Mr. Beta Theta Pi, Benjamin Neenan, and some of his Beta brothers lip-synch and dance to a medley of songs.
Mr. Kappa Sigma, Dan Walsh, struts his stuff in his cowboy-beachwear outfit.
Mr. Kappa Delta Rho, Anthony Bruno, plays "The Pink Panther" on his saxophone.
Coleman Rusnok, Sigma Phi Epsilon brother and Mr. Fraternity 2004, performs during the Mr. Fraternity 2005 intermission.
Mr. Sigma Phi Epsilon, Tim Dimond, is assisted by some of his brothers during the togawear competition.
Mr. Sigma Nu, Dave Urban, poses in his beachwear outfit.
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