Christiana Hicks, known on “The Voice” as Christiana Danielle, graduated from Huntington University last year. Students and faculty got a preview of her voice when she led worship at chapel as an undergraduate student.
She has advanced into the top 11 on “The Voice” as of April 28.
The university has been hosting viewing parties on Monday and Tuesday nights in the upper HUB since Hicks’s blind audition.
During the viewing parties hosted by the alumni office and Student Activities Board, students have had opportunities to win prizes through raffles and minute-to-win it games, as well as eat food, such as pizza, puppy chow and ice cream, sponsored by community businesses.
In honor of Hicks advancing to the top 12 and first live show, the university hosted a special viewing party in Zurcher auditorium on Monday, April 16.
Over 200 students and community members gathered in Zurcher to watch Hicks perform live with the goal of supporting her through voting on Twitter and “The Voice” app.
Before entering the auditorium, three sponsors — Sugar Mama, JJ Java and The Party Shop — had stands of free samples for viewers, such as cookies, hot chocolate and chocolate-covered candies.
The alumni office sponsored “team Christiana” t-shirts that were given to students as they entered the building. The shirts are black, have a silhouette of Hicks on the front, and “Team Christiana” spelled in gold, cursive writing.
One third of the auditorium was filled with students, faculty and community members from Hicks’s high school cheering her on during her rendition of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.”
While a student at HU, Hicks was a social work major and track runner.
According to senior Hannah Britton, she met Hicks at the fall event All Camus Off Campus, where they were both one of the few still fighting it out at musical chairs.
Britton explained how easy it was to connect to Hicks,
“Like, I just have this really deep love and respect and admiration for her,” she said, “and I think it was reciprocated, like, she always just made me feel so appreciated and loved.”
Britton was blown away by Hicks’s voice and worship in Joyful Noise. She said one of the things that stood out to her about Hicks was that she would never say a hateful or hurtful thing about anyone, even if she was frustrated.
“She still guarded her words and her heart, and that was so respectable and admirable about her,” Britton emphasized.
Robert Black, a current junior at HU, explained that Hicks was like an older sister to him.
He said Hicks is actually an introvert, so God has definitely been drawing her out of her comfort zone, preparing her for this moment.
Black said he spoke with Hicks a little less than a month ago, and that despite her seemingly immediate thrust into the limelight, she said she still has one simple, yet powerful, wish — to glorify God.
Carla MacDonald, professor of social work, said Hicks used music as her ministry, even as a student.
“Christiana was all about reaching others, especially those who didn’t know the Lord and faced challenges,” MacDonald said. “She has a unique way of combining her social work career with her musical talents.”
She said Hicks’s personality and talent go hand-in-hand to help her glorify God.
“Her gentle and kind spirit will attach others to her on an individual basis,” MacDonald said, “but her voice will bring the masses and the magnitudes to know her God and Savior.”