Ileana Lobkowicz / Gavel Media

'Sing It to the Heights' Contestant Tonye Ikoli Famously Sings His Way to Victory

Last Thursday night, the seats at Boston College’s Robsham Theater were filled with bustling students and family members ready to revel in the talented acts of the evening. Proceeds from the event supported the music program at St. Columbkille Partnership School–a Catholic elementary school in Brighton.

The event both opened and closed with a heartfelt performance by St. Columbkille’s children’s choir, several of whom helped to emcee the evening with John Walsh, CSOM '17, and Kaitlyn Solano, MCAS '17. Humorously, the three seventh-grade girls introducing the acts entertained the audience with jokes and fun facts.

“My favorite food was donuts until about an hour ago,” admitted one of the students, “[and then] I discovered the combination of grapes and yogurt.” It was her new favorite snack.

Three Jesuit judges critiqued the acts: Fr. Don MacMillan S.J., Mr. Eric M. Studt S.J., and Fr. Ryan Duns S.J. (who welcomed the audience with his memorable tin-whistle playing).

The competition was fierce. Ten competitors bared their souls on the stage, but only one could be deemed the winner. Each contestant performed unique renditions of songs, spanning from current ballads like Adele’s "All I Ask" to older classics like Al Green’s "Let’s Stay Together." Chet Faker, Ray Charles, and Sam Smith were among the other artists that were paid tribute.

The acts featured electric guitars and drums, soft piano accompaniment, funky mash-ups, and even a romantic duet, which instigated a collective awwww from the audience.

In third place was Chris Cheeseman, CSOM '20, who sang a soulful mash-up of "Stay With Me" / "Cold Water." In second place was a folksier mash-up of "Lean On" / "Gold," sung by Alex Moran, MCAS '19, and Nicole Rodger, MCAS '19. This particular mash-up was enhanced by guitar and drum-playing. And finally, the much-anticipated 2017 victor was freshman Tonye Ikoli, MCAS '20, who stole the audience with his passionate performance of “Famous.”

The inspiring contestants as well as the heart-warming presence of St. Columbkille’s student choir was a commemorative display of friendship, community, and sheer joy. The idea that music can serve as a means of bringing people together was at the forefront of the evening's excellence. It goes without saying that this year’s Sing It to the Heights was a true success in every sense of the word.

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