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Singing event generates more than $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity of Effingham County
Chuck Bonds
Winner Chuck Bonds celebrates while getting a hug from fellow contestant Melissa Knowlton during Saturday’s “Angel Oak Idol” at the Mars Theatre. Bonds sang “If You Could Only See.” Knowlton’s tune of choice was “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD — Every participant in Saturday’s “Angel Oak Idol” sang a giving tune. Seven vocalists combined to help raise just over $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity of Effingham County. 

The money, including more than $1,000 in ticket sales, will go toward the construction of two houses in Guyton.

 Chuck Bonds was proclaimed the winner of the Mars Theatre event after collecting the most donations among the contestants. He also raised the roof with his rendition of Tonic’s “If You Could Only See.”

“That right there was the most amazing thing,” Bonds said.

A retired professional singer who works at Southern Motors Springfield, Bonds was thrilled about getting to perform on stage in front of his 11-year-old son, Cannon, for the first time.

“I don’t care if Donald Trump had been here,” Bonds joked. “Well, I do care because I am a Trump supporter, but it couldn’t have been any better.”

For winning the contest, Bonds was awarded the chance to have a music video produced for free by Railyard Media. Without hesitation, he passed that opportunity to fellow contestant Eli Castillo, who wowed the audience with an acoustic version of “Make It Rain.”

“Why not, dude? I’m blessed,” Bonds said about his kind gesture. “I lived that dream a long time ago (Castillo) is a young kid. He’s 17 years old. He’s got a dream.

“He ain’t been through the divorce. He ain’t been through the hard part of life, man. He ain’t been through life, man, so I want him to do whatever he wants to do with it.”

Castillo greatly appreciates Bonds’ generosity.

“I’ve always wanted to be a musician,” he said. I’ve always aspired to be that so I am just trying to work toward that goal,” he said. “The video could be a big help if the right person sees it.”

The other contestants were Melissa Knowlton, Catherine Altomore, Erin Fowler, Anthony Ashe and Chris Kasabian.