Student Senator sings karaoke after meetings

Every week Senator Colton Ashley invites fellow senators to join him at The Plus for live karaoke


Photo by Andee Erickson

Senator Colton Ashley dressed as Elvis Presley and singing his music with live karaoke band Jenny and the Jets at The Plus on a Monday night after a Student Senate meeting.

The Student Senate meeting Monday night ended earlier than usual after senators passed the constitution for the Women’s Hockey Club.

However, the meeting wasn’t adjourned until Senator Colton Ashley gave his weekly announcement inviting senators to join him at The Plus for live karaoke afterward.

Most weeks, 15 to 20 senators show up to watch Ashley sing an Elvis Presley song, Senator Mathew Riedel said. It’s a tradition that started in March when Riedel and former Senator Sam Milewsky invited Ashley to The Plus after a meeting one night.

The live karaoke band Jenny and the Jets was performing that night, and Ashley said he sang Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Mind” with the band and they encouraged him to come back. In fact, the band refers to Ashley as “Elvis Jr.”

Often times Ashley even gets into full Elvis costume, Senator Rachel Eckwright said.

Ashley said he grew up hearing Elvis Presley’s music from his Grandma, but didn’t think much of him until he went on the Civil Rights Pilgrimage in spring of 2014 and was surrounded by Presley paraphernalia on Beale Street. Although Ashley said he didn’t make it to Graceland, he learned to appreciate Elvis and the influences he’s had on other musicians, such as The Beatles.

This week Ashley took the stage to sing “Burning Love” while four senators gathered in front, dancing and shaking maracas.

Senator Ryan Bell said he attends because there’s food and it’s fun to watch their fellow senator perform. The senators shared half-off appetizers when Ashley wasn’t singing.

Each Senate meeting, Ashley said he invites everyone to The Plus — even though they already know what’s coming — because it’s a chance for senators to get to know one another outside the office.

“After Senate is over we don’t see each other until the next business matter,” Ashley said. “I would love to see other senators here, whoever wants to come, because it’s a good time.”

Lately, Senators have been busy with midterm exams and essays so the turnout was less than usual this week, Riedel said, but he hopes to see President Jake Wrasse and Vice President Jordan Mabin make an appearance one night.

However, this week during karaoke Wrasse said he was reviewing $4 million worth of funding, and when the day is done and he’s not tending to his duties as President, full-time student and nationally ranked forensics competitor, he tries to catch-up on his sleep occasionally.

“Even if I hadn’t been doing that, I prefer The Beatles to Elvis anyway,” Wrasse said.

Vice President Mabin said he uses his time after meetings to catch up on important obligations he neglected during the busy day. For example, eating, doing homework and sleeping, Mabin said.

“Jake’s a well-oiled machine. Me, on the other hand, I need sleep,” Mabin said.

The next Senate meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday Nov. 16 in the Dakota Ballroom. Following, Jenny and the Jets will be performing live karaoke from 8 to 11 p.m. at The Plus.