As a young Angie Serrano walked onto the stage at Theatre at the Mount for her West Side Story audition, she was met with chatter and what appeared to be disrespect from the drama teacher at the time, Doug Smith.
“Doug Smith was in the very back of the theatre not paying attention as I got up to sing. I’m just standing there thinking oh my god he’s not going to even hear me,” Serrano said.
However, that all changed when Serrano began to sing her piece, “Memory” from Cats.
“Then I started singing, and as soon as I started singing he went like this [stopping his conversation] to the person he was talking to and started walking down the aisle,” Serrano said.
This memory, out of all the marvelous memories, is what stood out to Serrano as she prepares to return with a number of other alumni from across the years to Mt. Carmel where she graduated in 1989 to perform.
On September 6th, the Drama and Choir departments are hosting the second annual Bella Notte gala where primarily alumni, along with some present students, perform choral and theatrical performances.
Alumni go back as far as 1982 and are as recent as 2019. While the alumni all come from different parts of MC’s history, one thing is consistent- their abundant love for the Drama and Choir departments that helped to shape their high school experiences.
“Every now and then I walk into the theatre and it’s like I get a really weird trip down memory lane,” Serrano said. “I can remember where I was sitting in my theatre classes, I remember the corners I was practicing my scenes with my partners”.
One experience that particularly stood out to 2012 graduate Kristin Shamshoum was her first solo that Mrs. Martinez, the choir director, gave her despite her protests.
“She would really just drill into me and hound me on making sure that I could be confident because she knew that there was something in me that I was not willing to acknowledge at all,” Shamshoum said, “So if it wasn’t for that I never would have broken out of my shell.”
More than anything, the arts helped to transform these alums into who they are and what they want to be.
“I never ever in my wildest dreams imagine me wanting to be a teacher, and I feel that the experiences I’ve had have really led me down that path” Shamshoum said. “If it weren’t for the experiences I had at Mt. Carmel working with Theatre and Drama and then coming back as the Improv coach I don’t think I ever would have considered teaching”.
The importance of the arts is another strong belief that both alums share.
“I think it helps you discover who you are, and that’s anybody, actor, construction, lighting,” Serrano said. “It’s these things that you don’t even realize you’re getting and you end up getting them”.
Both Shamshoum and Serrano remain keenly apart of the arts here at Mt. Carmel with each contributing what they can. Shamshoum was the Improv Coach for four years having to step down this past January, and Serrano is the current President of Drama Boosters, a committee in charge of funding Theatre at the Mount’s productions.
With Bella Notte, the alumni are given another opportunity to give back to programs which have done so much for them.
If you are interested in attending the show, see the link below to purchase your tickets. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bella-notte-an-evening-under-the-stars-2019-tickets-66768649829