1) You’ve been in so many shows with us for Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings series; could you tell us which other shows you’ve joined us for?
Between Pacific Symphony’s Family Mornings series and Class Act, this will be my 9th show with Pacific Symphony. This is my second time narrating “The Nutcracker.” In a third one I was a dancing dreidel! I have also performed in “The Life of Aaron Copland,” “Halloween Masquerade,” “Endless Imagination,” “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” “Spooktacular” and “The Magic and Music of Harry Potter.”
2) Tell us about your arts-X-press experience! What was the most important takeaway or lesson you learned during your time?
My experience with arts-X-press was amazing! It was my first camp away from home. I loved being around so many other young people as passionate about the arts as I was. I met a few students who ended up at OCSA with me. We are still good friends. I would highly recommend all 6th and 7th graders apply to arts-X-press. It certainly made a difference in my life. And, no previous arts training experience is necessary!
3) How is OCSA going so far? What are you studying there, and how has working with Pacific Symphony informed your time at OCSA?
This is my 5th year at OCSA and I have loved every day there. I’m sad to think I only have a year and a half left there before I go off to college. The best part is, after all the musical theatre and acting training I have received there, I feel confident to both auditioning for any show and to applying to colleges.
I was fortunate to have performed with Pacific Symphony several times before I applied to OSCA. Those shows gave me the confidence to know I was ready to seriously further my training. It is hard to describe the exhilaration I feel every time I’m on stage listening to this world class symphony. My dream is to one day actually get to sing while they play!
4) Tell us about “Nutcracker for Kids” (which was just performed this past weekend) – what was your role, and what was the rehearsal process been like? What’s it like working with the full orchestra, led by Roger Kalia, with the Festival Ballet Theatre?
Along with Luke Bruderer, I am narrating the classic story of “The Nutcracker.” Luke is very professional, so the rehearsals have been quick, efficient and fun. Getting to work again with Roger Kalia alongside Pacific Symphony and the amazing ballet dancers is a dream come true! I have to pinch myself each time I’m on stage with them to make sure I’m really there! Truly, there is nothing in the world as exhilarating as being on stage with those sights and sounds swirling around me.
5) One final question: what do you think the importance of access to the arts is in education?
Access to the arts education for all is a mission I am very passionate about. I see firsthand daily how the arts changes lives for the better. Friends of mine at OCSA tell me their love for the arts has helped them through many rough periods. Personally, my confidence has soared and my love for theater grows each day. I think it is so important that last summer, along with a friend, we planned and implemented a 2-week musical theater camp for disadvantaged students at no cost to them. Our camp filled up immediately and we ended up with a waitlist. Kids came from all over, some taking several buses to get there, and we had few absences. Our camp culminated with the students performing songs and monologues for their families and friends. Several of our kids have asked us to help them with the OCSA application process. Next summer we are going to expand our program to try and reach more students around Orange County.
Yes, access to arts education certainly changes lives!
Pacific Symphony’s Family Musical Mornings series is generously sponsored by Farmers & Merchants Bank.