‘Collage’ celebrates arts, looks to future through song and dance

Who will take over when I leave?

For music theatre majors, this question was answered at “Collage,” a program of Broadway song and dance held Sept. 23 and 24 in Yeager Recital Hall.

The annual performance featured the university’s music theatre department, welcoming first year students who will continue the department’s commitment to the arts.

It marked one of the first times new students in the program worked with the upperclassmen, and served as a bonding experience for the department.

“It’s kind of this kick start for the year, coming together for the first time, performing with the brand new first year students,” senior Alexa Magnotto said. “I remember when I was a first year, sitting on the sides and watching everyone perform. You get to see what’s going to happen for you in the next four years and how you’re going to be able to participate in something that happens every single year.”

In addition to older students embracing the new freshmen, “Collage” showcased student work. All of the numbers are selected, choreographed and directed by students, with the help of director and faculty member April Hill.

“‘Collage’ is a revival of Grand Night, (a senior musical revue) and we repeat most of the same numbers and replace the seniors that have graduated,” she said. “But this is entirely student-run. I facilitate certain things but it’s student directed, which is great.”

Coinciding with Family Weekend, “Collage” encouraged families to experience the music theatre department.

“There’s lots of community love coming together and lots of parents coming to see their kids perform at Elon, some for the first time,” senior Kennedy Caughell said.

Catherine McNeela, performing arts professor, announced several new alumni who had recently got  professional jobs at the beginning of one performance.

“The program has definitely grown,” Hill said. “We have students performing on Broadway and theaters all over the country and even internationally. It’s a busy, difficult program, but it really pays off for the students.”

In the closing number seniors reflect on their departure from the Center for the Arts.

“It’s interesting and very surreal,” Magnotto said. “The last song was written by two graduates, Dan Gibson and Chris Staskel, and the lyrics are very true to our lives right now. It’s great because we’re the first class that has been able to perform it for all four years.”

Whether they were joining “Collage” for the first time, returning to the stage or taking that final bow, students created a memorable occasion.

“It’s definitely community building,” senior Katie Chung said. “It’s the first time we get to sit in a rehearsal with our entire department, and it’s kind of cool for the freshmen to see what’s coming, and for the seniors to see this is what they’re leaving.”

The freshman class joined the upperclassmen on stage for the first time of the night when they sang the final song ‘I Will Turn to You,’ which served as a passing of the torch from one class to the next.

“The last number was in one word magical,” freshman Daniel Bevin said. “I could not hold the tears from coming every show. The words ‘what I thought was yesterday is already four years past’ really resonates with me having just been a senior and starting my new journey here as a freshman. Every moment has the potential to pass in front of our eyes before we even know it and I am going to try my best to never take one single second for granted.”

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