Performing Arts – by Isabel

I have been playing the piano since first grade and have had the same wonderful teacher since then. Her name is Oxana Harlamova and she has been an ongoing inspiration to me. I have performed in many piano recitals and playing the piano has always been an important part of my life. In 10th grade I entered the Golden Key Music Festival for the first time and received the Super Bronze medal which included a performance at Lincoln Center, New York. Last center I entered the same competition and won the Silver medal and played in a recital at Carnegie Hall. I have played numerous pieces and this summer worked with Oxana on choosing a program for my performance at the end of the semester. It has not been completely finalized, but I plan to play two movements from Le Tombeau de Couperan by Maurice Ravel. I also began working on the first movement of a piano concerto by Fredrick Chopin. These are very difficult pieces and are quite a challenge to learn. I am really enjoying working on these pieces.

In the summer before ninth grade I began taking voice lessons. I had always loved musical theater, but was advised to begin the classical technique. For the first three years I learnt with Judy Malis at the Bryn Mawr Conservatory of Music and covered repertiore in German, French, and Italian. I recieved the same Silver medal for voice in the Golden Key last year as I did for piano and also sang at Carnegie Hall. It was such an amazing experience. I switched voice teachers this summer and now learn with Lisa Willson. My reason for this was that Lisa teaches classical in addition to musical theater repertoire. I have had lessons twice per week this summer and have learnt an amazing number of new songs. My repertoire for this end of term recital is still unclear, but I talked to Lisa and we are working on it. I know that I want to do a mixture of classical and musical theater songs. I have previously been reluctant to perform at Westtown, but I feel more confident now.

This summer, I did two amazing performing arts camps. I have participated in Upper Darby Summer Stage for the past three years. This summer I had a very inspiring staff working on my show who gave me so many featured parts, and pushed my boundries. I am a member of the Shooting Stars which rehearses and performs year round as a musical theater ensemble. I also attended Broadway Dreams at the Kimmel Center and it was one of the most inpiring experiences I have ever had. I forced myself to sing in front of Broadway professionals in master classes and was rewarded with very helpful feedback. After these experiences I feel more ready to perform at Westtown and am even hoping to sing at one of the early community dinners.

I have been dancing since I was three years old, but only became serious about it two years ago. I take classes at the Rock School West and last year danced about 15 hours per week including ballet, jazz, lyrical, theater, contemporary, and am also a part of the Jazz Company that goes to competitions and conventions. I have already signed up for my current classes and will speak to my teacher, Nicole Harmon about learning a solo dance for the first time when I see her in September. Meanwhile, I have been taking matenince classes, and going over dances from last years showcase.

Looking forward to this opportunity to focus on music and dance!

-Isabel Springer

1 thought on “Performing Arts – by Isabel

  1. ispring23 Post author

    The beginning of school has been a little bit rough getting back into things. I have spent most of my time reviewing and polishing the work I had done in the summer, as it was slightly lost when I did not practice over vacation in August. Still, I am progressing and excited to be practicing again, and even had some interesting performance opportunities.
    My voice teacher brought me to sing at this small cafe for “classical music hour.” It was arranged very last minute, and I had no idea what to expect. When I arrived I was very surprised that there were less than ten people sitting in the audience, and most of them were college-age musicians also waiting to perform. I have only ever sang before for a very large group of people or just a few friends in an informal setting, so this was entirely new to me. I felt underprepared, inexperienced, and the nerves began to set in. I was going first and had to introduce myself. I really did not do my best. Afterwards, I was really upset, but I have come to realize that it was a good experience. My teacher had me to it to expand my comfort zone. She knows that if I do a college audition, it will be like this except worse. This has prepared me for the final performance for this project, and now I will try to perform as often as I can no matter the size of the group to get better experience and improve my performing.
    My second performance was much more enjoyable. I got to sing at community dinner at school. It was so much fun to sing a song a love and be able to share my performance with the community. The majority of people had never heard me before, and now they have a tiny taste of the bigger performance to come.
    I am excited to continue working and will be in contact with my dance teacher next week, as well as try to figure out a date.


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