Students came to the Dogwood Room to support their residence halls on Thursday, Mar. 7 at 8 p.m. when the Inter-Residential Housing Association presented the first ever “Fairfield’s Got Talent.” As audience members were welcomed with pizza, Sweet Harmony, Fairfield’s women’s a cappella group, sound-checked in preparation to open the show.
Sophomore D.J. Ciampi, RHA’s director of community outreach, hosted the event. “Part of IRHA’s mission is to build community here, and I can sense that here tonight,” he said to the audience, which was made up of students who had come to cheer on the representative from their residence halls. Over the past few weeks, residence halls on campus have been holding preliminary talent competitions, the winners of which would compete in the show. Many of the students cheering in the audience had actually lost their respective competitions to the performer.
Co-Presidents of IRHA James Cotumaccio ‘20 and Ashley Kasperavich ‘20 served on the judging panel along with co-director of marketing Audra Connolly ’20.
First up was Clarissa Rotonto ‘22 from Gonzaga Hall performed “Bound To You,” by Christina Aguilera. “You’re just like Christina,” exclaimed Cotumaccio once the song had ended.Senior Sunny Hong from Southside followed with a charming rendition of “Yours” by Ella Henderson, uplifting the room with heartfelt lyrics such as, “If I’ve been feeling heavy, you chase me from the dark.” After the performance Connolly said, “You could really feel the emotion.”
Changing the mood, Madelyn Dutilly ‘22 from Jogues Hall then sang a compelling and emotional version of “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, a performance which earned her a tie for first place with the following performer, Lena Mazzo ‘21 from 40 McCormick Rd. who sang “A Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga. With a smile on her face and dance moves, Mazzo both captivated the audience and made them laugh a few times. “I’m very flattered,” said Cotumaccio after Mazzo ended her performance by walking up to the judges’ table and serenading him.
Next was commuter Deja-Lee Tam ‘22 , who sang “Never Enough” by the Greatest Showman cast. And finally, offering a change in pace, Aarushi Vijay ‘22 of Campion Hall closed the show with a reading of a poem she wrote titled “Bottles,” which left the audience momentarily speechless.
After a myriad of talented performers, the judges had a challenging task ahead of them. As the show ended and they began to put their heads together to tally up the points and decide a winner (or two), Ciampi said to the audience, “I hope we can make this a tradition.”
All performers received a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card, and once the winners were announced, Dutilly and Mazzo were given 25 dollar gift cards to any restaurant in Fairfield of their choosing.
“I started taking voice lessons when I was eight years old,” said Dutilly after her win. “I wanted to perform tonight when some of my friends in IRHA said I should try it.”
When asked about her song choice, she lit up. “I’ve loved that song and Sara Bareilles for so long. I even saw her in the musical she wrote,” she said, referring to “Waitress” on Broadway.
It was hard to reach Mazzo at first through the crowd of students that had surrounded her to express their adoration and congratulations. She gave out many hugs before having any moment to answer questions. “I sang in high school, and when I heard about the talent shows I was motivated to perform,” she said. “I love being on stage.”