Summer arts

Students fill their summer with artistic explorations

They look like us. They talk like us. They walk among us. No, they’re not aliens. They are students at Minnehaha. These four students have something in common. They are all apart of elite arts programs around the Twin Cities that are either starting or continuing during the summer. They have exceptional talent and deep passions for what they do. These are their stories.

Drama, drama, drama. On the stage of course – that is freshman Emma Tyler’s forte. She has been acting for seven years at the Children’s Theatre Company and is returning this summer to perform in Rent on the Cargill Stage.

“Acting makes me excited and happy,” says Tyler. “It has also made me very aware of my personality. In acting, I’m always surrounded by people with huge personalities and I tend to look at theirs’ and try to see where mine fits in.” Even though acting makes her happy, it doesn’t come without its struggles.

“I have really bad focus when doing the first run-throughs,” she confesses. “I’m always too worried about doing the right thing that I don’t put my energy into becoming my character.”

It seems Tyler is not alone when concerned with doing the right thing when it comes to acting.

“I feel my greatest weakness in singing is consistency in breath and one-hundred percent tone quality,” says senior Andrew Graham.“In acting I don’t take enough risks because I’m afraid of being embarrassed of making the wrong choice.” Not only is Graham in the Madrigals here at Minnehaha, he has been involved in a musical theater program, Prelude, at MacPhail Center For The Arts since junior year. Looking back the past two years of participating in Prelude, one performance in particular stood out to him.

“The collection of talent at the Tenth Annual Concert [at MacPhail] was overwhelming,” remembers Graham. “All the group work was really enjoyable.”

Working together appears to be a consistent theme.

“Playing the music is fun ,but all the friends that you make there are really awesome because you all have a deep interest in music,” says freshman Sam McDonald. On a regular Wednesday, while the rest of the student body may be crashing at home doing homework, he heads to downtown Minneapolis to the School of Rock where he drums with a group of teenagers who are as passionate as he is.

“At the beginning of practice, we’re all given four or five songs to practice, twenty minutes each,” says McDonald. “At the end, we all come together and perform the best song of the day. Even though McDonald, has only been participating in School Of Rock since January, he’s been playing the drums since he was ten. His talent has been fostered at a young age.

“My dad sings,” sophomore Madeline Schuster says. “When I was little, we used to go around the house, singing songs together. We even do it now sometimes; he’ll play the guitar while I sing.”

Schuster was recently accepted into the All-State Women’s Choir of 2012-13 as a soprano. “I had to send in an audition tape where I sang a song and did vocal exercises,” says Schuster.

Schuster didn’t just go from singing with her dad to the All-State Choir –  a lot of hard work went into it. Schuster started singing in a church choir in second grade, then joined Partners and Praise Girls Choir in seventh grade, as well as private voice lessons. She joined Madrigals this year and is considering doing a another summer at the Minnesota Opera for a camp.

They look like us, talk like us, and in reality, they are us. Don’t we all want to find what “makes us really happy,” as McDonald said? Are we not striving to do what we have “always loved,” as Graham said? Can we agree that we want to soar in what “is really important to [us],” in Schuster’s words? And don’t we want to participate in something that, according to Tyler, “keeps [our] life together”? These students have…so why shouldn’t you?


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