The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

April 8, 2012

Danville teen to sing on ‘Today’ show

DANVILLE — A 30-second song on national television could change Christian Cunningham’s life.

If not …that’s OK. The 16-year-old is happy just to get the chance to sing Tuesday on The Today Show.

Cunningham, a sophomore at Danville High School, has been chosen as one of nine singers to compete in front of Kathie Lee and Hoda. He flies to New York City on Monday, and will return after the show.

“I’m really excited. I’m nervous,” he said Saturday, adding it’s his first time flying, as well. “Whatever happens, I’ll take advantage of the opportunity and hope for the best.”

Even if he doesn’t win, he said, he’s grateful for the national exposure.

His parents and a former music teacher, however, are confident the young man will advance in the competition.

His father, Derrick Cunningham, said, “We’re proud of him. He’s come a long way.”

Although his son is only 16, his voice sounds like Luther Vandross’, he said, referring to the late singer/songwriter.

Retired music teacher Marty Lindvahl agreed, saying, “If you close your eyes, you think a 40-year-old man is singing — his voice is that rich.”

Lindvahl got the ball rolling when she was watching The Today Show, and saw they were looking for young people, ages 9-16, to compete in a format similar to the TV show, “The Voice.”

The first person she thought of was Cunningham, adding, “I knew they would be super impressed.”

After getting permission from Derrick and Alicia Cunningham, she videoed the teenager singing a cappella at the home of Dr. Randal Ashton and also at St. James United Methodist Church. He sang “Superstar” by Vandross.

The video had to be submitted by March 30. Last Thursday, Lindvahl got a call from New York that Cunningham had been chosen from thousands of audition tapes. All expenses are paid for on  his trip.

“I’m just tickled to death that they saw something in his voice,” she said, adding she got the news on her birthday. “I’m pretty super-excited.”

On Tuesday, the young people will sing a song or two, and, like in “The Voice,” Kathy Lee and Hoda will have their backs turned. If they like what they hear, they’ll turn around.

Derrick Cunningham said his son did well on the video, but he’ll do even better in person, when the natural sound of his voice comes through.

If he’s chosen, the teen will go back at the end of April and the finals will be at the end of May.

His son is a keyboardist and singer at the New Life Church of Faith. The teen also sings in the Show Choir at school, and has performed at local events. He also auditioned for “The Voice” in March in Chicago, but didn’t advance.

The younger Cunningham, who said he’s a gospel singer at heart, is relying on his faith to get him through the next few days. “God has his hand on me,” he said. “Wherever God takes me is where I’ll go.”

Cunningham noted he has a lot of people in Danville who support him.

Lindvahl agreed, saying, “He’s a wonderful kid, inside and out. He has a lot of people who love and support him in Danville. He’s just a deserving kid.”

Not only is he talented, but he’s very humble, she said.

Lindvahl is confident about the young man’s future, adding, “I think we’ll look back and say, ‘We knew you when …’”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Group to help Mission

    July 30, 2014

  • Police, Fire Reports

    July 30, 2014

  • Fire Calls Firefighters responded to the following calls:Monday, 11-11:04 a.m. — An unintentional alarm activation at 1714 E. Fairchild St.Monday, 1:01-1:10 p.m. — A medical call in the 1200 block of Cleveland Street.Monday, 3:59-4:16 p.m. — A carbon monoxide i

    July 30, 2014

  • YMCA offers new college, career program DANVILLE — The Danville Family YMCA plans to launch a new college and career readiness program during the 2014-2015 school year called YMCA Achievers. YMCA Achievers is a college and career readiness program offered at more than 1,400 YMCAs across th

    July 30, 2014

  • DATS begins East Main discussion DANVILLE — The Danville Area Transportation Study, along with the city and The Lakota Group, invite the public to join them in a new way to help imagine the future of Danville’s East Main Street Corridor. An online virtual public engagement forum has

    July 30, 2014

  • EU adopts tough new sanctions on Russia BRUSSELS — Shocked into action by the downing of the Malaysian airliner and the resulting deaths of more than 200 Europeans, the European Union approved dramatically tougher economic sanctions Tuesday against Russia, to be followed swiftly by similar

    July 30, 2014

  • Mideast Israel Palest_Morr.jpg Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel on Tuesday unleashed its heaviest bombardment in a 3-week-old war against Hamas, striking symbols of the militant group’s control in Gaza and firing tank shells that Palestinian officials said shut down the strip’s only

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Starved Rock Closed T_Morr.jpg Starved Rock trails still closed from storm damage UTICA — A majority of the 13-mile trail system at Starved Rock State Park in northern Illinois remains closed because of significant storm damage that happened four weeks ago.The park is waiting for an emergency contract to be awarded for tree remova

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three arrested in Rothery robbery DANVILLE — City police have made three arrests in connection with a brazen armed robbery Tuesday morning in downtown Danville.The robbery was reported just after 10 a.m. Tuesday at Rothery Jewelers, 147 N. Vermilion St. City officers and county deput

    July 30, 2014

  • Police Report Incidents reported to police include:DanvilleSunday:Battery in the 100 block of South Buchanan Street.Monday:Burglary in the 1300 block of Lape Street.A woman arrested for domestic battery in the 100 block of North Logan Avenue.Deceptive practice in

    July 30, 2014

E-edition
Spring 2014 Photos


Buy these photos and more via Smugmug

AP Video
Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Broken Water Main Floods UCLA "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH)
Must Read