Arts, On Campus

Will Supple, St. Columbkille at the Peak of ‘Sing it to the Heights’ 2016

After a litany of performances from some of Boston College’s most sensational singers, Will Supple, MCAS ’19, took home the evening’s $300 grand prize, marking the second year in a row that a freshman has won the annual singers competition.

Casual attendees might have thought they had stumbled into the wrong auditorium when they saw the sea of parents recording their 2nd or 3rd grader performing on the stage. They might have been shocked when told that, yes, they were in fact at the Emerging Leader Program’s 12th annual Sing it to the Heights. But once they were told that all the proceeds from the evening went to St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton, the band of elementary school students probably started to make a whole lot more sense.

This year’s Sing it to the Heights got off on the right foot with performances from the Columbkille Junior and Senior Choirs and an accordion number from Sing it to the Heights judge Fr. Ryan Duns, S.J. If the Columbkille choirs weren’t adorable enough to win over the crowd, their solo performers yanked the audience members out of their chairs with awe. Of all the artists who graced the stage, the Columbkille choirs were the only acts to garner a holistic standing ovation from the Robsham audience. As modest as he was in introducing himself and his accordion to the crowd, Fr. Duns hushed the crowd with his unique performance. His fingers flittered across the keys with unparalleled grace and fluidity, proving that, although it might not be the most popular instrument around, the art of the accordion is still a mastery worth practicing.

[aesop_gallery id=”113699″]

After these performances came the main line-up for the evening. While all of the contestants gave the crowd impressive performances, there were some exceptional performances that are especially noteworthy. The first contestant, Tyler Coyne, CSOM ’17, performed a medley of Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight” and Walk The Moon’s “Shut Up And Dance.” While these two songs might seem like they’d clash when put together, Coyne’s mash-up seamlessly weaved in and out of the two pieces. Using a looper along with his acoustic guitar, Coyne was able to account for more than the few sounds and riffs necessary to keep these two songs together, deeming the song an instant crowd-pleaser.

The performance by Will Bolton, CSOM ’17, couldn’t have possibly gone unnoticed. Bolton, garbed in a polka-dotted suit with a tiger-skin guitar, sauntered onto the stage and asked the audience to stand and dance along to his song. While, to Bolton, this might have seemed like he was including the crowd, it was apparent that the crowd felt that his asking them to participate felt very artificial. Bolton performed very well, even singing his own song. He could have gotten the reaction he was looking for if he had just let the crowd find their groove in his song naturally. His directly asking the audience to participate, on the other hand, felt intrusive and hindered his performance.

At the end of the performances, the audience was asked to vote for its favorite artist over text. This was the first year they’ve done the voting for Sing it to the Heights like this and, on the whole, the system actually worked pretty well. After the voting came a speech from the headmaster of Columbkille, thanking the audience for its donations, and another performance from the Columbkille band. Wynnm Murphy, MCAS ’18, last year’s Sing it to the Heights winner, performed a captivating closer for the night.

Then the crucial moment of the night struck—the winners were finally announced. Coming in third place was Khari King, CSOM ’19, who gave the audience his own mash-up of Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” and Ne-Yo’s “So Sick.” Again, while these songs might not naturally mix at a first glance, King’s smooth R&B vocals and range brought the two together in a beautiful way.

Next up, in second place, was Maverick Lydon Shay, CSON ’19, who belted out her cover of Demi Lavato’s “Stone Cold” to a dazed, stunned crowd. Robsham was jolted by her beautiful high-tempo closing, leaving the audience trembling in awe of Lydon Shay’s passion.

Finally, the 12th annual Sing it to the Heights winner was announced. Supple took home the $300 grand prize with his rendition of Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey.”  Supple’s zangy, tangy, blue-grass vocals brought down the house with applause and non-stop cheers, and rhythmic claps from the audience and judges alike.

Supple might have taken home the $300 dollars (and probably a few phone numbers), but the real winners Thursday night were the kids from Columbkille, both literally in the audience and in the hearts and minds of the attendees. Their performances had the audience on its feet consistently, endowing the bright young faces with a serious sense of accomplishment and pride rarely seen at that intensity.

Featured Image by Savanna Kiefer / Heights Editor

March 3, 2016

The Heights is an independent student newspaper that relies partly on donations to continue its award-winning coverage of Boston College and beyond. During College Media Madness, consider supporting the 501(c)3 nonprofit.