A Stellar Showcase: Celebrating Student Talent


Claudia Rosales, Staff Writer

As the academic year nears its end, it is an opportune time to recognize dedicated students’ incredible talent and determination. 

Students who have been enrolled in performative fine arts electives have recently completed their final assessment of the year. From May 16-18, three recitals were held after school: two days for piano students and one for dance. These end-of-year recitals provide an exceptional platform for showcasing the culmination of their hard work, practice, and passion. These performances also serve as a testament that dreams and goals are within reach with perseverance and effort, as this was a first-time performance for many students.

These classes—Piano & Electric Keyboard and Dance and Movement—have listed their final performances in their syllabus, with respective guidelines and rubrics so that students can begin planning their recital pieces. Both classes include skill levels that range from beginner to advanced; however, all content is inclusive. 

Sophomore Marisol Joya-Panzo is enrolled in both classes and completed both recitals within the span of two days. Wed., May 17, was her piano recital, and the following Thursday was the dance recital. She comments: “Honestly, I was nervous at first because it was back-to-back and I felt pretty overwhelmed.” Albeit stressful, she was able to complete both with fluency. Contributing to this is the fact this was her second piano performance, “I did actually have stage fright at first during my first piano recital and ended up forgetting the notes. But, for my second recital, I was less nervous and was able to bounce back from my slip-ups.” Piano & Electric Keyboard is a work-at-your-own-pace class. Students are free to choose their own pieces and the length they would prefer to play, as long as it is suitable for their skill level. Some students prefer a book to guide them, while others chose to learn through online video tutorials; Joya-Panzo chose Persian Market as her piece.

For dance class, students also had full creative control over their group members and songs. As choreography is the final unit, many groups have been creating their dances since early last month. However, preparations for recital pieces are usually made months in advance to avoid last-minute changes. Joya-Panzo continues on her experience with dance class: “I felt confident because I practiced this dance for a long time and knew it by memory, so I didn’t have stage fright.” Her dance recital was choreographed to Ariana Grande’s Bang  Bang and was performed alongside three of her peers. “I was much more excited for that recital because I wanted to show everyone what we have been practicing and felt super hyped about it beforehand, as well. It was such a fun performance!”

Behind the scenes, these recitals are the result of countless hours of practice, commitment, and sacrifices made by the students. Whether it is a pianist perfecting a complex piece, a dancer mastering intricate choreography, or an actor memorizing lines to bring a character to life, the effort invested is immeasurable. These performances are a testament to the indomitable spirit and resilience of Elkhart High’s own talented students.

As parents applaud their performances, let these students also celebrate their own perseverance, resilience, and unwavering commitment to their artistic pursuits. Joya-Panzo expresses that these recitals not only mark the end of an academic year but also mark the beginning of a lifetime of artistic exploration and growth: “If I were given the opportunity to perform again–of course, with enough practice beforehand– I would definitely take it because, despite my quietness, I found it fun to perform. It was an exciting feeling and I would like to relive it again!”