The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
Publisher, Sun-Telegraph 

'A Night of Music With Kechi'

America's Got Talent Finalist On Stage Sept. 11 to Benefit PlainsWest CASA


September 8, 2021 | View PDF

Kechi Okwuchi was a normal teenager in Nigeria. She was born in 1989 and in 2005 her life changed. Her life changed when she became one of two survivors of an horrific plane crash that killed 107 people. She was traveling between Abuja and Port Harcourt when the commercial flight crash-landed at Port Harcourt International Airport.

At one point, official reports said all on board the plane had died. She suffered third degree burns on more than 65 percent of her body.

She moved with her family to the United States to be closer to medical professionals who could take care of her needs. During this time, music became her escape, her mental and emotional therapy. The love of music grew to the opportunity to compete on America's Got Talent.

Okwuchi explained to Howie Mandel that while lying in a hospital bed with bandages from head to toe, music was her escape. She said she had more than 100 surgeries due to the injuries and burns suffered in the plane crash.

PlainsWestCASA is bringing Okwuchi, known just as Kechi, to Sidney for a concert and motivational talk. Her story is of not giving up, and of living each day to the fullest. In July of this year, she did a story on her recovery process, including “before and after” photos showing how extensive her burn scars are.

She did the comparison so others can marvel at God with her, she said in an earlier interview.

Her mother talks about hearing the news of the plane crash, and then of there being no survivors. She thanked God for the 16 years she had Kechi. She called her father who asked if there were any survivors.

He said if there are any survivors, Kechi is one of them. A short time later, she received a call that Kechi was alive and was calling for her.

She will be sharing her story with Sidney Middle and High School students, and with the audience Saturday.

Her music sings from the depths of her soul with the ballad sounds of someone who truly understands how music can tell a story, and her story is one to be told.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $50 for the Golden Buzzer VIP tickets. The VIP tickets include a meet and greet pass and photo with Kechi. Tickets can be purchased through the PlainsWestCASA website at


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