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A second home for theater kids

At CMT, students find peers passionate for performance

Sophomore+Katie+Briner%2C+left%2C+with+Ginger+Hurley+of+Santa+Cruz%2C+smiles+back+stage.+They+performed+in+the+musical%2C+%2225th+Annual+Spelling+Bee%22+for+CMT+in+March.
Sophomore Katie Briner, left, with Ginger Hurley of Santa Cruz, smiles back stage. They performed in the musical,

Sophomore Katie Briner, left, with Ginger Hurley of Santa Cruz, smiles back stage. They performed in the musical, "25th Annual Spelling Bee" for CMT in March.

Katie Briner/Special to Bear Witness

Katie Briner/Special to Bear Witness

Sophomore Katie Briner, left, with Ginger Hurley of Santa Cruz, smiles back stage. They performed in the musical, "25th Annual Spelling Bee" for CMT in March.

Julia Marquez de Silva, Staff Writer

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For Jack Swartz, sophomore, this program became a second home for him.

“There was a lot going on in my life at the time,” said Swartz. “It became something to look forward to during the school year.”

He’s looked forward to performing with his friends on stage during every production he has been in. Swartz has participated in 11 productions at CMT and is currently working on his 12th performance. The most exciting part for him during the show is when everyone onstage is doing their best.

“The harmonies are perfect, the energy is high, and everyone is happy,” said Swartz. “I look forward to it every show.”

Although many students rush out of school to go to sports or work, some students at Branham look forward to musical theatre at the end of a long day on campus.

Children’s Musical Theater San Jose is a nonprofit organization that teaches children and teenagers in the community about musical theatre. Like Branham, it’s are celebrating its 50th anniversary, with 364 productions under its belt and 50,000 performers having graced their stages.

Branham sophomore Katie Briner has been part of this program for eight years and has participated in 18 productions held by CMT. Theater has been a huge part of her life, and she’s been with the program since she was 6 years old.

“CMT is an amazing thing to be a part of,” said Briner. “It’s a really accepting community and I really enjoy it.”

The theater program is able to have this open acceptance due their policy that everyone who auditions gets a role based off of their abilities. They also have different productions based off  ages; productions held by the main stage are for older performers, while they have other stages for younger participants. Liliana Blechman, sophomore, enjoys the spectrum of ages that CMT offers. “I love having the little kids look up to me” said Blechman. “When I go to the main stage, it’s cool to look to someone who’s older also. It’s a good social experience.”

Just like Branham’s drama productions, CMT gives students the opportunity to connect with others who have the same interests and enjoy performing. In the process, they learn a lot about tools for musical theatre and how to work together with others by harmonizing and dancing.

“Everyone has an opportunity to perform, this helps improve their confidence.” said Briner.

 

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A second home for theater kids