Dartmouth Idol brings alumni to celebrate 10th anniversary

by Zach Cherian | 3/3/17 1:30am

Marking the competition’s 10th anniversary, the Dartmouth Idol Finals is poised to offer its most engaging performance yet. Tonight’s show will feature numerous former contestants and celebrity host Rachel Dratch ’88 of “Saturday Night Live.”

Regarding tonight’s competition, Brooke Bazarian ’20 said qualifying for the finals was exciting and unexpected.

“I just felt very honored and so ecstatic to be able to spend more time with the whole Dartmouth Idol team, because they’re a really incredible group of people,” Bazarian said.

Finalist Alyssa Gonzalez ’17, who tried out her freshman year but did not make it to the final round, is also proud of the progress she has made, calling it an incredible feeling.

“Just to know that my voice has grown so much since freshman year and to be surrounded by people who take their craft so seriously and are sharing it with everyone at Dartmouth — I just think that’s a great experience,” Gonzalez said.

Though Dartmouth Idol offers substantial cash prizes and a two-song recording demo opportunity, Gonzalez said she was more than happy just to have the chance to perform and does not view Dartmouth Idol as a competition.

“It’s just an opportunity to sing in Spaulding with a live band and backup dancers ... you get to do this huge production that you don’t really get to do very often at Dartmouth unless you do a mainstage musical,” Gonzalez said. “It’s my first and only chance to put all that together, so I’m really excited for it.”

The contestants’ practice schedule has ramped up dramatically this week right before the show.

Bazarian said that they had a four-hour rehearsal in preparation for the performance on Friday, something that was challenging to add to the already-packed schedule of a Dartmouth student.

“We’re basically just running the choreography, running the numbers with the whole band and practicing everything and trying to put it on its feet.” Bazarian said.

As part of the competition’s 10th anniversary celebrations, Bazarian also noted that alumni were going to be involved in the show.

“Because it’s the 10th anniversary, they’re bringing back previous winners to the show, so all the finalists are singing with someone who’s won in the past, which is so exciting,” Bazarian said.

Gonzalez noted that these alumni came to Hanover early specifically to practice with the current contestants.

Dratch credits her involvement in the show to Walt Cunningham, the director of Dartmouth Idol as well as Dartmouth’s Gospel Choir, who she met several years ago. Although Dratch said that she has done several events with Cunningham at Dartmouth in the past, this is one of her first events at the College in several years.

“He’s asked me to come back for various events, and I haven’t been able to, and so this one is the first one that worked out,” Dratch said. “But it’s all [Cunningham].”

As some of the finalists surely must be feeling, Dratch also admitted to being a little nervous before the show.

“I don’t really like standing up in front of large groups,” Dratch said. “I know that’s a funny thing to say as an actor, but we’ll see how that part goes.”

Dratch also noted the value of successful alumni returning to campus.

“I think it’s cool to have alumni come back, especially from fields that aren’t so widely pursued at Dartmouth.” Dratch said.

To this end, she will also be participating in a panel sponsored by the theater department and spending time with the Idol finalists.

“I am Dratch’s number one fan,” Bazarian said. “She’s my comedy idol. I really worship her, and I honestly have not even comprehended the fact that she is going to be standing next to me and going to be on campus.”

With a celebrity host, special guest alumni, a sold out crowd and, of course, the talented finalists performing, Dartmouth Idol’s 10th anniversary show holds promise.

The Dartmouth Idol finals will be held in Spaulding Auditorium at 8 p.m.