3 Summit High School students earn high scores at Colorado Thespian Conference | SummitDaily.com

3 Summit High School students earn high scores at Colorado Thespian Conference

International Thespian Festival awaits them in June

Summit High School senior Mikaela Clark performs the song “Me and the Sky” at the Colorado Thespian Conference last month. It was Clark’s third time at the conference, and her third time receiving the superior score.
Caroline Hesford/Courtesy photo

A trio of Summit High School students will be headed to the International Thespian Festival at Indiana University in Bloomington in June. The three all received superior scores — the highest possible — at the Colorado Thespian Conference in December.

Over 5,600 high school students from Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico attended the Denver conference. It was the first time sophomore Julissa Espinoza participated in the competition, even though she has been doing theater since she was 6 and was aware of ThesCon from her sister.

She mistakenly thought the event was later in December than it actually was, so she had to scramble and found the song “Nothing” from “A Chorus Line” to perform.

“For me, it was really nerve-wracking because I had approximately two days to learn and actually prepare that song,” Espinoza said. “So, I was petrified.”

Yet, Espinoza’s jaw dropped when Summit High School drama teacher Caroline Hesford told her about score.

Meanwhile, it was the third time at the conference for senior Mikaela Clark and junior Maggie Fisk.

Clark has performed a musical piece all three years. She did “I Could Be Jewish for You” the year prior and “Gimme Gimme” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie” before that. Wanting something different than comedic or romantic songs, she performed the track “Me and the Sky” from “Come From Away.”

The musical follows what happened in Gander, Canada, after the Sept. 11 attacks, and the song is performed by Beverley Bass, who was the first female captain of a commercial plane for American Airlines in real life.

“This piece is about growing up and becoming a mother, and it’s more serious, but it’s definitely not a romance song,” Clark said. “It’s about finding yourself.”

The 2020 conference was virtual, and the students were excited for it to be back in person again. In addition to the competition, they especially enjoyed the chance to take classes at the convention again. For instance, Clark was able to do mime work and learn choreography from Broadway actors in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical.”

“It’s really cool to be in person because you get live feedback from professionals in the industry who can help you find your strengths and weaknesses and work with them,” Clark said.

Both her and Espinoza did voice classes, as well. All were grateful for the opportunity to further hone their passion, and Espinoza called ThesCon a life-changing experience.

“The community there is absolutely amazing,” Espinoza said. “Everyone there is so loving and so caring, and the trust you gain there is amazing.”

Summit High School sophomore Julissa Espinoza performs the song “Nothing” from “A Chorus Line” at the Colorado Thespian Conference in December. It was her first year attending the Denver event.
Caroline Hesford/Courtesy photo

Fisk was the only one of the three to do a piece from a play, opting for a monologue from “Shakespeare for my Father” by Lynn Redgrave. It was recommended to Fisk by Hesford, and the subject matter struck a chord with the student. The play is about Redgrave’s relationship with her father and mourning his absence.

“It was a good mix between lighthearted and dramatic,” Fisk said. “It was definitely a challenge for me to be able to portray those emotions in an authentic way.”

Fisk handled the challenge well, as she was one of roughly 20 students out of all competitors to be picked to perform on the main stage of the Bellco Theatre. The showcase has all of the selected students do their same pieces to close out the multiday convention.

“It was really amazing to meet all of the other talented high school kids who made it to the main stage,” Fisk said.

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