By Hayley Festeryga, Bandology co-op student
Every musician experiences an extremely important moment: the moment when they fall in love with music for the first time. This moment can carry us through the hardships we face in our lives and on a career path that is often deemed difficult and unreliable. We can think back to that moment that belongs solely to us, when music truly touched us and it became crystal clear that music needed to be a part of the rest of our lives.
When I was seven years old, I attended a local production of Seussical the Musical in support of a family friend who was participating. By intermission, I knew that musical theatre was what I needed to do. I already knew that I loved to sing, and I had been taking piano lessons for a few years, but nothing seemed so perfect for me as musical theatre. Two years later, I was in my first musical. At a local community performing arts studio, I was in the ensemble of a production of Anne of Green Gables. It was the beginning of something new and incredible that would affect my life considerably.
I continued to participate in shows with that theatre company, participating in the productions Cinderella and Mary Poppins. I also took part in my elementary school’s production of Into The Woods, with music by one of my favourite composers, Stephen Sondheim. Although my high school hasn’t produced any musicals, I have participated in a number of plays at the National Theatre School Drama Festival.
Being without musical theatre for a few years, I often wondered if it was truly all that I had thought it to be. I was losing sight of the moment, my moment, that launched me into my passion in the first place. That was until my grade 11 drama class took a trip to Niagara on the Lake to see Holiday Inn at the Shaw festival. I didn’t know much about it other than that it was based on a movie with Bing Crosby which came out in the 1940s. I knew I would enjoy it, but many of my classmates were doubtful.
As the lights went down and the overture began to play, I was as excited as always, and by intermission it had happened again. The curtain went up and the cast started singing and I had my moment all over again. Not only was I reminded that performing is my passion, I was reminded why. That show had mesmerized two rows of grumpy high school students who were bored from a long bus ride and electrified them. Music theatre touches people in such a beautiful way. That is why I fell in love with it and that is why I knew it was what I wanted to pursue.
It is difficult to imagine my life without musical theatre. By now, it has become such a large part of my identity that most people who know me know that it is by far my greatest passion. Musical theatre is unequivocally unique in the sense that it combines three mediums of storytelling. I love music, acting and dance, but when brought together the three create an artform unlike any other that touches your heart and electrifies your spirit.
I would never have been able to get to where I am today without the amazing teachers and mentors who helped me along the way. The skills and lessons I have learned through music theatre have been invaluable and have benefited me greatly. Music holds a great importance in my life, and I owe it all to those who came before me, who taught me and guided me on my way. Musical theatre has the potential to touch us all, and though we may not realize it, it can be transformative in the way that it lifts you up and opens your eyes.