Performer Spotlight: Sentia Irakoze is singing her way into the spotlight and sophomore year


Photo by Sentia Irakoze

Freshman Sentia Irakoze, a talented singer, recently added acting to her list of credentials.

Tell us a bit more about your background in singing and music. 

Previously I’ve done two years of singing at the Leman middle school choir and currently I’m in Mixed Chorus.

Can you tell us a bit more about mixed chorus: how is the class different than concert choir, for example, or the other choir classes offered at WEGO? 

The school currently has four choirs, but women’s choral, sadly, isn’t going to be running next year, so we’ll only have three: Mixed Chorus, Concert Choir, and Chamber Choir. You start off with a Mixed Chorus usually, or depending on when you join you may go straight into Concert Choir. Chamber Choir is a choral honors class offered at the school where you get to expand your singing, and to get into it, you must pass an audition and at least have one previous year of choir experience. Unlike other electives, I think we really are to build that sense of community. Everyone is welcome, no matter how good or bad you are because there is always room for improvement – and our wonderful teacher, Mr. Fantozzi, is with us through it all.

You recently performed in the spring musical: was this your first experience with WEGO Drama, or had you been involved in the plays before? 

Recently I was in Little Shop of Horrors and played the character Crystal, one of our resident street urchins. It was my first production ever with the WeGo Drama here at West Chicago, and the experience is something I’ll cherish.

What was the highlight of the spring musical experience for you?

The highlight of the musical, and what I’ll remember the most, is my first dance practice. I was definitely surprised by the choreography and was stiff in the beginning, but finally being able to perform it on stage in front of an audience while singing was one of the best feelings ever, and [I] felt my improvement.

Sentia Irakose, Jazmin Wilkins and Daniela Luna perform in Little Shop of Horrors. (Photo by Mark Begovich)

What do you enjoy most about singing and performing?

The thing I enjoy the most is being able to connect with the people, not only on stage, but off stage as well.

You’re finishing your freshman year: what’s next for you in terms of choir and WEGO Drama? Will you continue taking choir classes, and if so, what? Do you see yourself acting in future productions?

Next year, I’m going to be continuing choir, moving up into Chamber Choir, which I’m excited about. I’ve also been considering doing the fall play, which I urge you all to do. The people in drama are amazing, so if you’re nervous, then come anyway. I was just as scared as you are now, but sometimes you just have to do it. You may get a role, you may not get a role, but you’ll still be part of the community, and an essential part of the team.

I’d hope to continue doing future productions, and am happy to see what’s in store because high school is only 4 years: might as well do what you can.

Who really mentors you in the arts?

There were so many people that helped me gain confidence and be able to sing and speak out, but a couple would be my fellow two urchins, Jazmin Wilkins and Daniela Luna, as well as Mr. Begovich and Mr. Fantozzi. These wonderful ladies really helped me build that foundation that I needed to act, and made me feel like I was really part of something and mattered. I can’t thank them enough for what they did; whether it was dancing or singing, they would always offer to help. I’m sad to see them go as they are seniors, but I’ll know they grow to do great things. Begovich and Fantozzi are the best people you could ask for to coach you. I’ve been with Mr. Fantozzi all year and I can safely say choir was the best class choice I made and it could be for you too. JOIN CHOIR!

And finally, favorite singer or actor and why?

To be honest, it’s hard to pick a favorite anything, but favorite current singer would probably be Bruno Major or Clinton Kane. I don’t usually listen to a lot of acoustic guitar or slow songs in general, but these two really have a special place in my Spotify playlist.