February 6, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 71  

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Idol offers attitude, powerful vocals and passion

By Lori Mastronardi
Gazette Staff

Dave Picard and Tim Toplak/Gazette
A PREVIEW TO DON’T TELL MAMA. Western Idol winner Angie Gachui (middle picture, left) and other Mama performers prepared for the upcoming cabaret revue with a brief performance in the UCC atrium.

After visiting every on-campus residence and affiliated college, and listening to over three hundred auditions, Western has crowned its first Idol.

Considering her initially humourous approach to the competition, third-year political science and sociology student Angie Gachui was surprised to learn she had clinched the Western Idol title.
“It started off as a joke. I was joking around saying ‘Hey, I could get on stage to perform, win some money.’ Plus, I’ve never been to Calgary, so why not?” she says.

Gachui impressed judges with her powerful performances of songs including Peggy Lee’s “Fever” and Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet.”

“They enjoyed my performances, which pleased me,” Gachui says. “It’s one thing to please the crowd, but the judges are a bit harder to win over.”

Luckily for Gachui and the other contestants, the Simon Cowell attitude was absent from the air. “[The judges] weren’t really critical. There was a lot of encouragement, which just pushed me to want to ‘wow’ them a little bit more during my next performance.”

Although her musical prowess could likely lead to a successful career, Gachui is primarily concerned with completing her degree. “I’m not too sure where [Western Idol] will take me. I had never envisioned myself launching a full-out career.

“I do get quite a few opportunities to perform in various shows. But hey, if there’s a way that it can become a side career, why not?” she adds.

Gachui has a distinct style; she enjoys singing at church, prefers neo-soul gospel music and likes to indulge in a sporadic taste of R&B and jazz. Although she was able to experiment with her voice during the competition, Gachui could never envision herself in the standard pop-idol image.

“The mainstream stuff is way too commercial for me and a lot of it I feel is an insult to good music,” Gachui shares. Rather, if she did pursue a musical career, she would much rather follow the gospel/neo-soul sound. “That’s where my heart is... I’m opposed to manufactured artists. I just think that people should be able to have a style that they are comfortable with,” she says.

Gachui has been involved in numerous musical productions: London Musical Theatre’s Kiss Me Kate, The African Students Culture show and the upcoming Don’t Tell Mama. “And once in awhile, I do a cameo appearance on CHRW [94.9 FM]; my friend has a show. He sings a beat and I either freestyle or use a cover over it.”

And how does the Western Idol manage to balance her plethora of commitments? “I don’t [go to] sleep too early. And more often than not, the rehearsals are on weekends and in the evenings. It’s been a bit tighter since Western Idol, but I’m managing.”

Despite her busy schedule, Gachui, humorously labelled the “poster child” of the production, showcased her talents this past Wednesday in the University Community Centre atrium in a preview of Don’t Tell Mama. Her performance generated a small crowd of adoring fans, all eager to obtain autographs from the Western Idol. But don’t worry — her star status has not translated into a Kelly Clarkson-esque ego; rather, she responded to her fans with genuine enthusiasm.

Not sure what to expect from the cabaret review? Angie confidently offers an answer: “Attitude... powerful vocals... and passion.”

If you’d like to get an autograph while you still can, attend Don’t Tell Mama: A Night at the Cabaret on Tuesday, Feb. 10 at The Wave.

Song selections of an Idol

What were Angie Gachui’s song selections?
Gachui was able to experiment with her voice through the following songs:

Alannah Myles
“Black Velvet”

“Kiss From a Rose”

Peggy Lee

Whitney Houston
“I Believe in You and Me”


Who placed in the top five?

Five Western Idol contestants were recognized for their distinct talent:

Western Idol
Angie Gachui

Nick Cino

Amanda Fenton
Mandy Cole
Jen Dell’Unto


Who judged the competition?

A range of judges were chosen to select Western’s first Idol:

Canadian Idol Contestant
Tyler Done

University Students’ Council VP-student affairs
Matt Huether

Singer/guitarist/keyboardist of The Heard Mentality
Michael Windover

Master’s music student, vocal major
Amy Shepherd


How were the contestants judged?

In order to ensure a fair selection process, the judges based their decision on the following scoring criteria:

Vocal Skill
Scored from 1-10

Stage Presence
Scored from 1-5

Originality of Presentation
Scored from 1-5

Scored from 1-5

Remember these guys?
American Idols Ruben Studdard and Kelly Clarkson?
Canadian Idol Ryan Malcolm?
Well, Angie Gachui may soon be on their supa-star level.
She’s conquered Western. Next up: the world.



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