Thank You Seniors: Celebrating Our Thespians

“I’m going to miss seeing my friends shine,” said Courtney Aicardi ‘20 as she anticipated leaving the Montrose stage. Courtney has performed in several Montrose musicals since sixth grade. She said her favorite show was Hello, Dolly! in which she performed during her freshman year. “There was a good dynamic,” she said, referring to the cast. She also reminisced about one particular part of Hello, Dolly! she loved to watch: Emily Nelson ‘20 as the crazy opera-singing lady, Ernestina. Courtney said, “Emily’s part was so hilarious and I looked forward to it.”

Courtney not only performed at Montrose in shows, a capella jams, and chorus concerts. She also takes music lessons and participates in singing competitions at the Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Stoughton, MA. Courtney plans to continue her musical and theatrical endeavors at Bryant University next year, where she will audition for the acapella group and perhaps a few musicals. Anyone who has witnessed Courtney perform can be sure that she’ll blow audiences away from any stage she walks on to.

What is one thing Courtney learned from her Montrose performing arts experience? “Self-confidence is the main thing,” she said. Referencing a particularly strong and sassy Treblemakers solo in Little Mix’s “Wings,” she continued: “If you’re singing “Wings” and you’re super shy, no one’s going to believe what you’re singing.” Fellow Treblemakers, chorus members, and musical folk, take Courtney’s words of wisdom to heart. We wish Courtney all the best in continuing to wow audiences at Bryant and beyond.

“I will miss the feeling on the Friday night performance. The euphoria of “I just did it and it was awesome” mixed with “I get to do it two more times!”  is a wonderful feeling, especially when all your peers feel the same way.”

Thus said Sarah Ling ‘20 of the feeling during a show weekend. Sarah leaves Montrose with years of outstanding roles in musicals, incredible acapella performances, and accomplished piano accompaniment. How did Sarah get involved in the Montrose theater world? “I loved singing. I loved dancing. So I had a natural inclination to do it.” However, middle school Sarah at first hesitated to stay late at school and force her older sister Elizabeth, then also a Montrose student, to stay late as well. Then showtime came. “I did the show and I loved it. So I did more.”

Sarah said her favorite Montrose musical was Fiddler on the Roof. “I was a drunk Russian Policeman dude thing,” she recalled. She said of the group of girls who played Russians: “Every time we practiced, we got to pillage a wedding. How awesome!” But on opening night, one Russian “in the height of our pillaging threw a pillow straight into Mrs. Sullivan’s face as she was playing fast Jewish-themed music. It was so funny how Mrs. Sullivan looked so surprised and [the actor who threw the pillow] looked so apologetic for a second. And then we kept pillaging the wedding like nothing happened.”

Sarah reminisced about the warmup which Montrose thespians do before every show: “I love my cast / I trust my cast / I love my show / I trust my show.” Sarah said that this warmup helped her “forego those stupid battles” of envying the “lead” of a show or thinking of a small part as less important. “Cause friends, that ain’t the point. Plus if you focus on that, how much are you actually caring about the show?”

Sarah will take her musical prowess and performing talent to Williams College next year. She revealed one dream for how she hopes to perform in college. “I’ve always wanted to play piano for a musical. Maybe I will try that. Get me out of the stage for a moment.” So if you’re watching a musical at Williams, check out the orchestra; you might see one Sarah Ling on the keys. We wish Sarah the best of both piano and any other performance she shoots for at Williams College.

“Live in the moment,” said Emily Nelson ‘20. She reflected on what Montrose theater taught her, and continued: “What happens is not based on what you think will happen; it’s what will happen. The best thing you can do is enjoy yourself and live in the moment and you’ll be able to respond.”

Founder of the Montrose Coffeehouses, Emily Nelson leaves Montrose with an expansive performing arts legacy. From the four musicals to four acapella jams to gala solos to chorus concerts, Emily has graced many a Montrose audience member with her voice and her charismatic stage presence. Outside of Montrose, she participates in two singing groups, does shows and competitions at Riverside Theater Works in Hyde Park, MA, and has performed twice for the prestigious Massachusetts Eastern District.

Emily cites Mary Poppins as the show from which she grew the most. “I realized the moment the show began, that my focus shifted from being nervous that I was going to mess up to trying to make sure the audience had the most fun, and I ended up having much more fun in the process.”

Next year, Emily will major in Music Therapy at Belmont University’s School of Music and Performing Arts. Emily has big dreams for college and afterwards, planning to perhaps start an organization which will help children through music education, which she said is, “so helpful for forming young minds.” She also will perform in at least two ensembles per semester as part of her major, and she’s even thinking of starting a band!

Montrose will miss Emily Nelson’s singing and acting in a big way. Sarah Ling said, “When Emily sings, the room vibrates. Physically. But her voice doesn’t just move rooms and stucco walls; it moves people, which is way harder to do. She is going into the right profession. She is going to do awesome things.”

Watch out for Courtney, Sarah, and Emily as they take on the performing arts world after Montrose, and wish them the best of luck! Not that any of these three need it.

Anna Sheehan ’21, Faith Editor