Students set to display their talents at the NMSA showcase

Students set to display their talents at the NMSA showcase

New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA) students Tenzin Malaika-Huisman, left, and Lucia Ortiz perform on stage. The school is hosting its student showcase during the ArtSpring 2023 Gala at the James A. Little Theater in Santa Fe on March 16-17. (Courtesy of Insight Foto)

New Mexico School for the Arts (NMSA) is full of young and talented individuals. Scholars from each of the school’s departments will display their exceptional abilities at the annual student showcase on March 16-17.

The event, which usually takes place in May, will be held at the James A. Little Theater in Santa Fe, which is significant considering the obstacles the institute faced during the pandemic. In 2020, the curriculum was instructed remotely and in 2021 the performance was virtual.

“One reason we’re really excited is we haven’t been on a professional stage since 2019,” said Cindy Montoya, president of the arts institute. “Last year was our first time in three years to do a live performance, we did it here at the school in our new beautiful building, but it’s not the same as being on a professional stage.”

The music, dance, theater, visual arts and creative writing departments collaborated to form the event’s program and will work together on certain performances. For example, Montoya explained that the visual arts team designed the sets and costumes for the dancers for their “Bugbear” performance.

John Rangel, the music department’s chair, said, “It’s all the departments being reflected in the performance, which I think is really good for the kids to see also what else is happening.”

The program features an eclectic blend of mediums. The music department is slated for an orchestral performance of “The Lark Ascending” by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, a choir performance of “Son de la Loma,” a woodwind quartet rendition of “Tico Tico,” a vocal solo and a Vivaldi piece complemented by the choreography of ballet dancers.

The theater department will perform excerpts from “The Clouds” by Aristophanes, and creative writing students will offer readings accompanied by film.

All departments will come together to perform Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star.”

“It’s bigger numbers, so it takes a lot of coordination,” Rangel said about the program as a whole. He added about the students, “They’re going to start to feel … sort of a notch up in terms of the performance level and the space and venue, so it’s kind of exciting.”

On March 16 there will be two performances for family and friends while the March 17 showcase is part of the ArtSpring 2023 Gala, the institute’s largest fundraising event. Before the gala’s main performance, there will be a reception featuring NMSA’s funk, salsa and jazz bands, plus an interactive poetry pop-up offered by the creative writing students.

One of the main goals of the two-day event is to allow the community to interact with the gifted young artists at the school.

“We have little segments where students can talk about themselves and their experiences at NMSA,” Montoya said. “This is an opportunity for people to meet us as a school and as a performing school.”

Though there is a full slate of performances, both Montoya and Rangel agreed that the students are well-prepared for the event.

“The harder thing is the synchronization of all the departments and how things flow tougher into a performance,” Rangel said. “There’s really a diverse kind of program of music that they’ve been working on, and they’re in good shape.”

Departments get the chance to rehearse together, and the school even has classes that help with stage fright, so the students have plenty of experience leading up to the showcase.

“We want to bring the same amount of energy and professionalism and mastery to every performance,” Montoya said.

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