Sewanee Idol raises $2,500 for Costa Rica outreach

Chi Psi dances to “Work From Home” by Fifth Harmony. Photo by Robert Mohr (C’21).

By Katherine LeClair
Executive Staff

Sewanee Idol, an annual talent show and fundraiser, raised nearly $2,500 this year for the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica. This independent school focuses on bilinguality and environmental education, and Sewanee has maintained a connection with them for nearly three decades.

Over Spring Break, a group of Sewanee students will participate in outreach at Cloud Forest. Kayla Deep (C’15) has helped organize this trip for a few years, and commented, “[Sewanee Idol] was such a bonding moment for us, and I’m so excited to bond with them further as we actually get to see the school we have raised money for.”

The hosts for the evening were Mary Margaret Murdock (C’19) and Garrett Lucey (C’19), the presidents of the Intersorority and Interfraternity councils. In the past, Sewanee Idol has been perceived as a Greek life event, with most of the acts contributed by fraternities and sororities. This year, the African and Caribbean Student Association (ACASA) co-sponsored the event to encourage participation from a variety of performers.

However, a sorority still took home the first place title. Snagging their sixth Sewanee Idol win, Theta Pi impressed Cravens Hall with their impeccable Britney Spears mashup. Members of the sorority dressed up in costumes from Spears’ music videos and danced to notable songs including “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “… Baby One More Time.”

Directly after their performance, judge Mac Bouldin (C’19) said, “You are the people to beat. You have always been the people to beat.”

The Ques of Omega Psi Phi, who received an honorable mention from ACASA at the end of the night, followed Theta Pi. Fraternity members David “Chief” Johnson (C’19) and Cam Caldwell (C’19) performed a complex step routine. A cameo from Assistant Director of Admission and former Que Curtis Johnson (C’14) resulted in cheers from the audience.

During their performance, the Ques occasionally took light hearted digs at other fraternities, asserting the superiority of their brotherhood. Playing along, one of the judges remarked, “Your coordination definitely topped Chi Psi’s.”

Chi Psi, who went home empty handed, certainly had a memorable performance though. Their rendition of Fifth Harmony’s “Work From Home” warranted a standing ovation from the audience. Across social media, many students in attendance asserted that “Chi Psi was robbed!”

Towards the end of the night, Dorcas Okese (C’21) moved the audience with her rendition of Adele’s “When We Were Young.” The crowd raised their phone lights, swaying along to the song. The judges showered Okese with praise, rewarding her with second place. Okese was the only non-Greek act to place that evening.

“I imagine that it is pretty intimidating to sign up for an act when you know that the program is dominated by Greek life,” Deep remarked. Next year, she wants to encourage a wider variety of groups to participate. “Imagine if SGA had an act, or HOLA, or the psych major seniors—you name it. I think that would give us a clearer picture of where Sewanee social life really happens,” she said.

At the end of the show, the hosts addressed all participants, applauding their bravery and skill. Murdock said, “This is my fourth and final Sewanee Idol, and I have never seen such talent and heart out there, so give it up for yourselves.”