Eric Rowe – Staff Writer
Dordt senior Kelsey Tillema accompanied by fellow senior Sara de Waal won NC/DC 2014. Tillema sang “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles and “Rumor Has It” by Adele to secure the popular vote at the NC/DC finals in the B. J. Haan Auditorium on April 12.
Tillema and de Waal met their freshman year through their involvement in the Dordt music program. They were paired together as singer and accompanist for their respective vocal and piano scholarships.
“It was a crazy whirlwind,” de Waal said.
Playing and singing from sheet music was such a new experience for both Tillema and de Waal. Tillema had just sung for fun before joining Dordt’s chorale, and de Waal had always played by ear and for worship.
“We laughed about it a lot this year,” de Waal said. “We both knew how to play, but it was so different from what we did before.”
Tillema sang in multiple groups in high school and joined chorale on coming to Dordt. She had thought about singing more on campus, but she was always tied down with a nursing major.
“That’s why people are so surprised that I sing,” Tillema said. “I never had enough time.”
Tillema was not planning on entering NC/DC this year
“I had just gotten done with a night shift for nursing and noticed the deadline in an email,” Tillema said. “I couldn’t sleep and quick sent Sara a text. She replied, yeah great lets do it.”
The pair reunited and listened to music they both liked and thought that they could perform.
“Kelsey and I went into it with nothing to lose,” de Waal said. “It was chill and fun.”
Sara de Waal had been in NC/DC as a sophomore and junior as accompanist and then as a member of a band. This year she already had a band arranged.
“I had already committed to be in Society Garlic, but I wanted to do it,” said de Waal. “I knew she was good.”
de Waal ended up performing with both Tillema and Society Garlic in the finals of the competition.
Junior Aubrey Pasker played the drums for Tillema’s last song in the finals.
“We wanted to do ‘Rumor Has It’ by Adele, so we asked Aubrey,” said Tillema. “She made that song sound so great.”
Tillema and de Waal plan to split the prize money. Tillema plans to convert her winnings to “free fun money” and may acquire new clothes and a few new shades of lipstick.
Tillema is getting ready to graduate in two weeks and move back to California to work. Due to the way that Dordt’s program works, she is already a registered nurse.
“It was so cool that God brought us together freshman year,” de Waal said. ‘“I feel like we will be friends for a long time after. Music is like that. It brings people together.”