From left, twin brothers Jamir Connelly, ’19 and Jamal Connelly, ’19, performed together at Lehigh Idol on Thursday, Sept. 20, in Lamberton Hall. There were 17 musical acts and three were chosen to preform at the Capital Campaign Launch Concert in October. (Hannah Kravatz/B&W Staff)

Three Lehigh Idol winners to take the stage at launch concert

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Paint House, Burn it Down and Rhythm Method are the first ever Lehigh Idols.

These three musical acts were selected out of 17 on Thursday, Sept. 20, to be the openers of the Capital Campaign Launch Concert, on Thursday, Oct. 25. The headliner for the concert will be announced in early October.

Nick Christy, an assistant director of student engagement, said the show will be larger than any other show at Lehigh in recent history.

The idea for Lehigh Idol came from Christy and his colleague Aarsenio Perry, after they were approached by the Office of Advancement to help find student openers for the October concert.

Their hope in putting on the show was that it would incentivize Lehigh’s most talented acts to come out and perform.

“This event is different because, for me, it’s more of a competition,” Christy said. “It’s more of engaging students and really looking at their talents and kind of rising those up — giving them a platform to showcase how truly talented they are.”

Natalie Constante, ’21, a panel judge for the competition, said the acts were judged using a number scale in five categories: musicality, audience engagement, creativity, level of difficulty and overall performance. At the end of the competition, the results appeared to be uniform among the judges.

“I don’t know if it was completely unanimous, but I think we all very much agreed that those three were our top three,” Constante said.

The winners of the event were elated by the news.

Lawrence Koerner, ’19, is the drummer for the fusion brass band Rhythm Method. As a member of the Marching 97, Koerner is used to playing in front of large crowds.

However, Koerner said Lehigh Idol was the first time he and friends got up on stage as a band in a setting like this.

“I’m really excited,” Koerner said. “I saw the other acts today and I was just blown away. I was like, ‘Wow, all of these people here are really good.’ They really deserve it. So, I am just glad to be playing with them.”

Although only three acts won competition, the other acts were able to gain other things out of the experience.

Joey Recupero, ’20, who goes by the stage name Ponyboi, performed an original song he called “Late Nights.” He said he wrote the song about an ex-lover and he had been using music as a way of expressing his emotions creatively.

“It’s something that not a lot (of) people know I do,” Reupero said. “It’s something that not a lot of people get to see, so if there is a platform for it, you best believe that (I’ll) be there.”

Christy said this idea of providing students with a place to express themselves is what makes events like these so interesting. Win or lose, every act had an opportunity to pour their hearts out on stage.

“There is so much talent on this campus and it doesn’t necessarily always come and take center stage because there are so many other things going on,” Christy said. “So really, this is an opportunity to showcase what Lehigh offers and what are students are capable of.”

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