BY REMI SCHWARTZ
When senior Derek Altiery-Rodriguez isn’t serving as Operational Sergeant Major of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC), he likes to fulfill his love of music and perform as a member of the Bay’s chorus.
Like Altiery-Rodriguez, many athletes at the Bay participate in the arts as well.
“I have always been interested in acting and singing,” Altiery-Rodriguez said. “I love being able to listen to a song and hear the techniques they use.”
Altiery-Rodriguez said music serves as a great outlet for stress that may come about from his position in JROTC.
“I enjoy music primarily because it’s a platform where people from all walks of life can come together to create something cohesive and appealing to the eyes and ears,” Altiery-Rodriguez said.
As another member of the Bay’s chorus, lacrosse player Antonio Gasparolo said that he feels that the program has made this year his best one yet.
“I have been in American Musical Theatre (AMT) and recently joined Chorus this year, which I love,” Gasparolo said.
He said that every person makes the program special in his or her own way.
Gasparolo said the performing arts consist of a welcoming community. He also said that the diversity of the group makes each performance better.
“This is my first year in the Bay’s Chorus, and I wish I joined my freshman year,” Gaparolo said. “I have learned a lot and I can now read music and sing in tune.”
Like Gasparolo, Altiery-Rodriguez said he has learned to not take himself so seriously and he has found a new confidence he did not have before.
“I was very shy until I joined performing arts classes, ” Altiery-Rodriguez said. “I think chorus has brought out the best version of myself, and I can’t imagine life without it.”
Altiery-Rodriguez said he has made memories beyond compare, which no sport would have given him.
“I performed in an event called Candlelight with some of my closest friends and it created the feeling of accomplishment and recognition,” Altiery-Rodriguez said. “Being praised with all the applauses and kids coming up to you is something I will always remember, plus you lose any stage fright that you had.”
Gasparolo said he enjoys playing comedic roles, using different accents or impersonations to portray his parts. He said that it would get you out of your comfort zone until the stage fright or any fear of performing is gone.
“At first when I joined, I had terrible stage fright. Over the years it went away and I learned to become more open to others all because of acting,” Gasparolo said.
Chorus teacher Tina Gill said that athletes bring a lot to the program, understanding that practice makes perfect in sports and music is no different.
“They work hard and give each song their all,” Mrs. Gill said. “They make sure they get it down and they are always up for a challenge.”
Mrs. Gill said that the athletes in chorus are no different than any of the other students in her class due to the hard work each individual puts in.
“They have so many opportunities ahead and the talent is fantastic,” Mrs. Gill said. “We are like a family and the bonds we all make with each other is amazing.”
Although Gasparolo enjoys the opportunities, he said juggling sports and music programs isn’t easy. He said that chorus and AMT aren’t as time constraining as lacrosse, but he still manages to be a part of all three while doing something he loves.
“Even though I’m heading to college, this is not the end of my music career because I would love to participate in more shows in the future.” Gasparolo said.
Gasparolo has performed in Seussical The Musical, Beauty and the Beast, Pippin, Candlelight, chorus winter concerts and Slice of Broadway over the last four years.
“All I can say is I wish I joined chorus sooner,” Gasparolo said. “Music has made me who I am today and even though sports is huge in my life, performing is just special in so many ways.”
Altiery-Rodriguez said that performing has made him a better person. He is more outgoing and ready to take on challenges such as college.
“Going to college is exciting, but stressful at the same time leaving your home and family,” Altiery-Rodriguez said. “But knowing how to cope with “stage fright” will help my future.”
Gasparolo said the arts have changed him as a person in ways that he can’t explain. He also said that the things theater has taught him will stay with him.
“I learned to be myself and have fun and use that to make the best out of everyday,” Gasparolo said. “Being in the performing arts changed me, and I couldn’t imagine my life without music and the people I met along the way.”
Gasparolo said that music has encouraged him and has brought out the best in him.
“Music is truly an escape and people can learn a lot just by getting involved,” Gasparolo said. “It’s very hard to explain how music helps you, but it just does.”