Conservatory seniors honored at annual Senior Showcase


Varsha Rammohan

A senior practices her routine prior to Senior Showcase. The showcase features all members of the Conservatory who have completed the Certificate program, which culminates in this final performance.

by Varsha Rammohan and Irene Yuan

Senior members of the upper school conservatory certificate program performed at the annual senior showcase last Friday.

This year marks the eighteenth anniversary of the showcase since the first one in 2002, where the inaugural certificate candidates graduated. Senior showcase honors the work and achievements of performing arts seniors who have chosen to join the certificate program through high school.

The Harker certificate program entails a comprehensive course of study in any of the following disciplines: musical theater, theater, dance, tech theater, instrumental music and vocal music. Certificate members are assigned a performing arts faculty member who works with them all four years to strengthen their skills and talents in their chosen field.

“It’s really them doing what they consider to be the culmination of all the years of work that they’ve done here with us as teachers and in workshops and in productions and so, to watch them up on stage—to see how much they’ve grown from when we first met them in eighth or ninth grade is really awesome,” said K-12 Performing Arts Director Laura Lang-Ree.

Before senior showcase on Friday was the Hammies, an annual award ceremony held to honor the 275 students in the conservatory, ranging from performers to technicians. There was also departmental awards for every discipline, along with a graduation ceremony after the showcase.

This year’s showcase also included the “Life in the Arts” award for the first time to honor alumni who have chosen a life in the arts. Both Gabrielle DeMers (‘03) and D.J. Blickenstaff (‘09) were presented with the award.

Senior certificate members who performed on Friday had been preparing for the showcase for several months. Performing arts mentors began talking to them towards the end of their junior year and held check-ins last December.

“I’m very excited, it’s a chance to show off what I’ve been working on,” said Raphael Sanche (12), who performed Hamlet by William Shakespeare. “I’m probably going to cry a lot because it is the end of my performing time at Harker, but I’m really excited to leave it all out on stage.”

Senior Timothy Wang danced to “Under Lover” by Infatuated Rose along with backup dancers Kai-Ming Ang (11), Alissa Gao (10), Christopher Gong (12), Vance Hirota (11), Joel Morel (11), Elaine Xiao (10) and Irene Yuan (9).

“I think dance is just something to get your mind off everything else,” said Timothy. “In this hectic first semester of senior year, I think I would’ve gone kind of insane without dancing. There were just so many times where I would put on some music and start dancing right next to my desk because I felt like I couldn’t write any more college essays.”

Senior showcase marked the end of these seniors’ performing arts career at Harker, recognizing and celebrating their dedication to their craft for the past four years.

“We’re just so proud of the class of 2019. It’s been a really, really special year,” said Lang-Ree. “They’re not only really talented performers, but super great, motivated seniors who have stuck with the program all the way through. They are to be commended and honored.”