University of South Carolina

A juggling act: Making December memories at the Koger

By Megan Sexton,,803-777-1421

You think your life is hectic during the holidays?

Listen to a sample of Steve Borders’ schedule for December, which includes juggling commencement and convocation with performances of the Nutcracker and other holiday events at the Koger Center for the Arts.

Take Dec. 14, for example. Two performances of the Columbia City Ballet’s Nutcracker for children will take the Koger stage at 9:30 and 11:15 a.m. Then it’s time to sweep up the snow and set the stage for the USC College of Nursing’s convocation at 2 p.m. Next it’s a reset of the stage for the holiday ballet classic, performed that night at 7:30.

A few days later, the university’s doctoral hooding ceremony is set for 1:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. The Nutcracker finishes its run the day before, so the staff will work until about 11 p.m. Sunday night cleaning the stage before arriving back at 8 a.m. to set up for commencement.  Next? Rip it out to set the stage for “West Side Story,” which opens three nights later.

But Borders, the technical director of the Koger Center, isn’t complaining. Instead, he and the other Koger Center staff members do everything they can to make each event special.

“We try to create an intimate and refined experience,” he says. “Each event has its own distinct flavor. We want to make sure people leave events with a ticket stub and a lasting, positive memory of the Koger Center and the university.”

For commencements and convocations, that means everything from varying the types of receptions in the lobby and changing how graduates process to adding a brass band and reconfiguring the seating of the platform party.

“We try to give the audience members a memorable experience,” he says.

Borders knows plenty about the operations of the Koger Center; he is one of the original employees.  Borders was hired in 1988, soon after receiving his media arts degree from Carolina. He was charged with helping to finish the Koger Center, putting up the orchestra shell and installing the sound system before the arts center opened in 1989.

 “I had no idea how long I’d be here,” he says. “I was very young when I started and have kept going and going. I graduated from here and I feel like it’s my part to give back to USC.”

Along with Borders’ work at the Koger, the sounds he helps create are familiar to hundreds of thousands of Gamecock fans. For the past 25 years he has been the man behind the sound system at Williams-Brice Stadium. He even created the rooster crow heard at the stadium and around campus, blending together several recordings of roosters to perfect the sound.

“I try to give the football stadium a one-of-a-kind sound system, doing everything we can to enhance the game-day feel,” he says. “When you’ve got ESPN and CBS saying you’ve got the loudest stadium in country, you’ve got to be proud of that.” 

News and Internal Communications

Posted: 12/13/12 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 12/14/12 @ 12:25 PM | Permalink