Saddle up for Chant Rock


Crowds jam-packed the HTC Recreation and Convocation Center to raise money and awareness at the second annual dance competition known as Chant Rock.

This year’s theme was “Give Cancer the Boot” and all money spent to attend Chant Rock, a part of the University’s Relay for Life program, was donated to the American Cancer Society.

To go along with the theme of the event, many organizations presented themselves with a focal point of country music, dances, and other aspects of the genre. There were various organizations who performed original dance routines for the crowd to enjoy.

Senior biology major Marissa Mansfield said she was impressed by the amount of effort each team put in for their performance.

“I love how some groups branched out from the usual country songs and had their own theme for the competition,” Mansfield said.

The seven groups that took the stage were all combinations of fraternities, sororities, university recreation, and the PGA Golf Management program. Each group had unique styles and had parts in their routines that gave everyone a chance to shine in the spotlight.

After all the organizations performed, the judges deliberated and eventually chose the winner of the Chant Rock event. The students from PGA Golf Management and the University Recreation organization won the competition and accepted their trophy.

Taylor Balint, a sophomore communication major and member of Gamma Phi Beta at CCU, said she was happy with the turnout this year and congratulated the winning team.

“It literally had me crying like a big baby because they did such a phenomenal job,” Balint said. “I felt like the emotion was through the roof. It was very touching.”

This year, Balint passed her goal of $5,600 and raised $6,732.82 in honor of her mother, Jennifer, who died just a day before her 18th birthday on May 7, 2021.

She described her mother as the most “beautiful, self-less, inspiring and strongest woman” Balint has ever met. While her mother was battling cancer, Balint said she always had a smile on her face. Her mother’s courage, she said, gives her a reason to continue to live her life after the loss.

She said her grandfather Michael, who is currently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, gave her another reason to fundraise in Relay for Life. A donation of just 50 cents meant a lot to her to surpass her expected goal.

“It literally left me speechless. My jaw was on the floor,” Balint said about seeing how much money was raised.

She said she plans to continue raising money for Relay for Life in the future and possibly work with the American Cancer Society to bring the cause to her hometown. Balint encourages students who have lost a parent to cancer or are facing a similar situation to reach out to her.

“I don’t want, especially someone my age, to feel what I did, watching someone I love and care about go through that,” she said.

Team members spoke in a video during the performance about the people they danced for and were happy to win the competition knowing their loved ones were with them.

CCU alumni and fitness instructor Kayla Stewart said it was a special moment for her to dance with her teammates and felt like it was an honor to be a part of the event. She said it meant everything to help raise money to help find a cure for cancer.

“For me personally, I’ve watched close family members and friends battle it,” she said. “I’ve also lost both of my grandmas to it.”

Stewart said when she heard her team was announced the first-place prize, she was in shock. She said she felt surreal and proud to bring energy toward an event that supported a good cause.

“Being out there in front of friends, family, and CCU was extremely special, but being alongside my team members meant the world to me,” Stewart said.

As performers competed for the Chant Rock trophy, there was a panel of judges that featured some familiar faces that students may know from campus. At the judging table was marketing professor Matthew Gilbert, dance director of the Chanticleer Girls Dance Team Lady Dance, and head football coach Tim Beck.

Between performances, the DJ would play fan favorites such as “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Sweet Caroline” to keep the crowd engaged. Announcers would also remind the audience about the goal for Relay for Life and how much the money would mean to anyone who was affected or has a loved one affected by cancer.