12th annual Sewanee Idol raises funds for Costa Rica Outreach

Sambhav Bansal (C’23) and Dheer Snehal Avashia (C’23) perform at Sewanee Idol. Photo by Rob Mohr (C’21).

By Claire Smith
Executive Staff

As Sambhav Bansal (C’23) and Dheer Snehal Avashia (C’23) sang a Hindi song, Cravens Hall was lit up with flashlights and students pulled out their phones to sway to the music and cheer on the duo. From Hindi songs, dancing numbers, Beyonce dance evolutions, and 80s workout routines, Sewanee students were treated to a variety of exciting acts at the 12th Sewanee Idol in Cravens Hall on March 5. 

Sewanee Idol is a fundraiser for the Costa Rica Outreach Trip, which allows Sewanee students to partner with the Cloud Forest School in Monteverde, Costa Rica to “help maintain the ecological diversity of its campus, as well as provide a comprehensive educational experience to its students,” per the Office of Civic Engagement webpage. For five dollars, students could support their favorite act in Sewanee Idol while also supporting the Costa Rica trip students’ fundraising goals. The students involved in the outreach trip, along with trip leader and lay chaplain Kayla Deep (C’15), also performed their own dance routine to “Cheerleader.”

While Idol is a fundraiser, it’s also a competition- one that many organizations commit to with full force. The panel of judges was composed of student leaders Nellie Fagan (C’20), Richard Pryor (C’20), and Oz Pliego (C’20); Jo Greesly (C’19) of the Office of Civil Engagement; and Coordinator for Student Activities Sam Young, who gave comments to the acts, occasionally playing Simon Howell and giving a cheeky comment or flashing a “NO” sign.

Acts ranged from highly coordinated and choreographed routines to sillier acts that focused more on fun and engaging with the crowd. The Bollywood Babes, Yousra Houssain (C’22) and Judith Marklin (T’23), performed a Bollywood dance routine complete with whirling, glittering saris. Other notable acts were PST’s step show, ATO’s motivational workout routine, and PKE’s rendition of Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”

The top three acts were, in third place, Chi Psi; in second, Kappa Delta; and in first place, Alpha Delta Theta.

Chi Psi performed an 80s workout routine to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” and demonstrated an impressive level of coordination. KD roused the crowd with a Harry Potter themed number, donning gowns and dividing themselves into the various Hogwarts houses. They also impressively incorporated gymnastics and ballet into their routine, much to the delight of the judges and crowd.

ADT won the event with their routine on the evolution of Beyonce. The sorority wore all black and performed a highly-coordinated and choreographed routine. Their dance started with a slower dance to Destiny Child’s “Say My Name” and moved on to Beyonce’s later hits, hitting the classic “Ladies Dance” and ending in a dramatic flair with “Formation.”

Mary Emily Morris (C’22) choreographed the routine, mostly pulling directly from Beyonce’s performances but also incorporating her own experience as a cheerleader and dancer. She and the ADT dance group added a story line to their routine, using the evolution of Beyonce’s music to reflect changing life as a student moves through four years of college life. “Winning … was so amazing,” said Morris, “and I really want to say thank you to everyone that supported us, donated to the outreach trip Sewanee Idol was for, and the other amazingly talented groups that performed against us!”