The Engineering Newsletter

Two Faculty alum move on in Skule™ Idol


By Jennifer Hsu

Even the heavy rain on Friday, October 9 couldn’t deter the 35 Skule™ Idol contestants from their chance to win an onstage performance with world-renowned soprano and Engineering Science graduate Isabel Bayrakdarian.

Skule™ Idol – a unique competition that celebrates the singing talents of Engineering students, alumni, faculty and staff – brought together an esteemed judging panel: pianist Serouj Kradjian, vocal coach Stuart Hamilton, Toronto Star entertainment columnist Martin Knelman, and Isabel herself.

Although all contestants were admittedly nervous, it was clear they were equally excited. Some came for the sheer opportunity to showcase their talents in front of the panel, others to simply meet Isabel.

“I’m auditioning today because I’m a huge fan of Isabel. Just the remote chance of singing onstage with her for 10 seconds was enough to bring me here today,” said Juris Svenne (EngPhys 6T2), who travelled from Manitoba just for the competition.

Juris, an Engineering professor at the University of Manitoba, sings in his spare time as a chorister for the Manitoba Opera Association. The degree of experience among the contestants ranged from third-place champion of the International Barber Shop Competition, to none at all.

After hearing all the great auditions, it was difficult for the panel to select just one winner. Every participant sang their heart out. At the of the day, Anne Bornath (EngSci 9T1) and Joseph Likushi (EngSci 8T2) will take the stage with Isabel on December 17 during the Engineering Science 75th Anniversary Celebration.

Anne was the very first contestant to audition, capturing the hearts of the judging panel with an emotional performance of "Sull’aria…Che soave zeffiertto" from The Marriage of Figaro. Joseph won over the panel with his lively and powerful performance of "Nessun Dorma" by Giacomo Puccini.

"Anne had a polished performance with a natural sense of Mozart elegance. Joseph is an exciting performer with a strong voice and lots of panache,” declared the Skule™ Idol panel.

To see firsthand the skills that helped cement the wins for Anne and Joseph, you are invited to attend the Engineering Science 75th Anniversary Celebration. The concert will also feature Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor Julian Kuerti (EngSci 9T9) and our beloved Skule™ Orchestra. Book now to avoid disappointment.

Go to Newsletter Home


Newsletter Archives


Did you miss out a past issue of the Engineering Newsletter? Revisit past articles and catch up on Faculty news on the Engineering homepage.

The Engineering Newsletter is a twice-monthly summary of key headlines, events and opportunities for faculty and staff in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. If you have questions or comments, please contact us:

Follow us on Twitter:

  All contents copyright © Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto.