Fundraiser raises money for music theatre trip


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(Jeff Smith/Staff Photographer)

Five students stood before a crowd in a small, dimly lit room Wednesday.

One by one, they sang, their voices radiating passion and determination to an audience of about 40.

The performance, “Broadway on Maple,” was a fundraiser organized by Central Michigan University’s Theatre Program Wednesday at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 206 West Maple St.

The students sang various songs with piano accompaniment and raked in $755 for a trip to New York from Feb. 24 through March 1.

Once they arrive in the city, the students will study under professionals, agents and casting directors within their career fields.

Annette Thornton, assistant professor for the college of Communication and Dramatic Arts, said theatre is extremely competitive and students must audition to be accepted into the program. Networking is important for success after graduation.

She said the students cannot wait to visit New York.

“It’s an extension of their education consisting of three days of workshops with professionals in the field,” Thornton said. “The goal of the program is for them to make professional contacts for when they graduate.”

Bay City senior Katherine Travis is focused on the networking element of the trip.

She has been a vocal performer since she was 5 years old.

“I’m most excited about one-on-one workshops with the people we’d essentially be getting jobs from in the future,” Travis said.

She hopes to start a career in opera and said the trip is a crucial part of her future.

Ypsilanti senior A.J. Patton said he would enjoy any career involved with theatre.

“I love performing straight theatre and musical theatre,” Patton said. “I love it all.”

He said the networking aspect of the New York trip is by far the most important element.

“We can find people here to teach us things, but the people in New York are the ones who are going to be casting us,” he said. “We need to nurture those relationships.”

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