Thank You Seniors: Inaugural Performing Arts Banquet Honors Our Seniors


Adam Richins

A scene from Clue, a cast favorite

Roughly a month ago, seven of our beloved seniors took their final bows on the Montrose A&A stage during the all school musical production of The Sound of Music. Personally, senior roses have been a significant event throughout the productions I have been a part of, something incredibly special I look forward to year after year. In previous years, on closing night of the all school musical, after bows and “hello”s to people who came to watch and the costumes came off, during the cast party each senior would be recognized. One rose for every show they were involved in for the time, dedication, and love that goes into a Montrose performance, a tried-and-true tradition. A little over a month ago, we learned that senior roses would not be presented on closing night of The Sound of Music, but instead at the inaugural Performing Arts Banquet, an event that celebrated all of our achievements, but especially our seniors. 

The banquet was filled with many recognitions and awards. Grace was offered by Theresa Marcucci ’23, and then Mrs. Derendorf spoke, recapping A Capella auditions, Speech tournaments, and of course, the shows. She also shared a mission statement crafted by a new Performing Arts Advisory Council for the Performing Arts Program. “Through the nurturing of creativity, experimentation and respect for the efforts and ideas of others, the program: Fosters an environment conducive to the personal, intellectual, character, faith and leadership development of every student. Models theater as an organic, collaborative creative process that values not just the end product, but also the process of how the work is done. Appreciates the transformative power of art and beauty as it transcends music, storytelling and performance. Cultivates lifelong skills such as communication, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving.”

Many different people were recognized (all of them are listed below!), including students who earned distinction in programs outside of Montrose, Treblemakers Senior Tributes, Clefhanger awards and voted-on Speech awards. At this point in the night, The Sound Of Music children were supposed to perform “So Long, Farewell,” but some technical difficulties occurred (don’t worry, we did hear them later in the night!). Next came the awards for each show this year, starting with Mrs. Juge introducing Clue, the upper school play. In addition to essential details of the show like introducing Clue as “a crazy whodunnit loved by high school performing arts departments as a primer in farce and portraying caricatures of the beloved board game characters,” Mrs. Juge also mentioned: “for the record: our Thursday night dress rehearsal remains one of the most fun tech week rehearsals I’ve ever been a part of.” 

After Mrs. Juge gave out the Clue awards, she introduced Mrs. Rios to give out Newsies Jr. awards. She pointed out that “traditionally done by a mostly male cast, [Newsies Jr.] stretched our student actors to become aware of their stage presence,” and that the choreography “required discipline from all of our members.” She added that Newsies Jr. posters would be signed afterwards, a real surprise because we had been waiting since the cast party back in December with names at the top of half the posters! Then, she invited Mrs. Juge back to the podium to hand out The Sound of Music Awards. The Sound of Music “[attracted] the largest audience in Montrose Players history” as a classic beloved musical. In addition, it “was a labor of love for our cast and crew,” my favorite detail being “our ensemble [taking] up learning difficult polyphonic songs in Latin.”

Next came the senior roses. Unfortunately, some of the seniors who received senior roses did not receive them in person, but all were received in spirit. Some seniors were only involved in one show, for example, Meredith Baker ‘23 felt compelled to audition for The Sound of Music because “just the fact that it was The Sound of Music […] the message behind it, the script, just everything about it.” Caroline Shannahan ‘23 also returned for her second show of The Sound of Music in senior year because “everyone loves The Sound of Music songs, they’re classics!”

Even seniors who did shows only in middle school, like Isabel Oquendo ‘23 who did five shows in middle school, reminisced on memories. Isabel said: “The whole group is just connected and you’re working towards the same thing, and everyone’s doing their own part, but you’re doing it together.” 

A memory that sticks with Ava Russo ‘23 (who received six roses) is that even though she “wasn’t in Clue, […] one time [she and] Mrs. Juge’s husband stayed after during dress rehearsal so they could have live reactions and that was really enjoyable.” She affirmed that in Montrose productions, “[you are] able to make connections with girls who [are] in grades that [aren’t your] own, especially in middle school.” 

Trisha Tran ‘23, who received four roses, mentioned that “Big was so funny […] we were all very lively even though the end was towards the Covid pandemic […] it was very collaborative.” She’s going to miss the hugs of Montrose theater and was not the only one to mention the bed from Big breaking halfway through because “the bed breaking was a moment; the improvisation of Emily Nelson is iconic.” 

Theresa Marcucci ‘23, who received 11 roses, remembered that “during the Crucible we would watch High School Musical: The Musical: The Series in the little vestibule outside the bathroom. That enhanced the experience.” She also noted: “for me, who’s not going to be doing anything with theater in the future […] doing theater here allowed me to really do it […] even if I didn’t get a big role it was something I felt like I could be a part of. I know theater here is different from everywhere else; I’m really grateful for these opportunities.” 

Elyza Tuan ‘23 received 14 roses and added: “[she] never thought high schoolers noticed [her] in middle school, but as a high schooler [she] does notice them.” She can’t wait to come back and see what we do in the future and watch the talent of the current middle school! A favorite memory of hers was “a core memory, lying face down in the backstage A&A floor with Theresa Marcucci, like, sobbing to the “Day After Tomorrow,” — literal tears.” 

The most roses awarded were 16, to Elizabeth Barrett ‘23. Out of all the shows she was involved in, one that sticks out was Hello Dolly, because “it was in 6th grade and I got to meet people in all the grades,” but her favorite was probably Matilda because “[she] liked the dancing and stuff…it was kind of chaotic.” 


After senior roses, Mrs. Derendorf gave (in my opinion) one of the most heartful dedications to Mrs. Amanda Russo. If you aren’t aware, Mrs. Russo is involved behind the scenes of much at Montrose, especially when it comes to the Performing Arts Program. As put by Mrs. Derendorf: “[with] her ever-present question, how can I help? — this person has given her heart and soul to this program and I know my words fail in expressing the full extent of our gratitude for all she has done.” 

The Performing Arts Awards are not specific to individual productions, and there are five: the Montrose Player Award, the Excellence in Acting in the Upper School award, the Middle School Performance Award, the Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater award and the Tech Award.

The Excellence in Acting in the Upper School award is awarded for superior acting skills, true leadership qualities, and for fostering a real esprit de corps among her fellow performers, received by Lucy Bachiochi ‘23 and Anna Maria Fasse ‘23. Lucy Bachiochi’s most memorable show was “Clue […] because we were able to bond a lot and it was just a lot of silliness.” Clue was definitely a close show, with everyone shedding layers doing the chandelier scene “over and over.” She also pointed out Mrs. Juge’s influence on her experience in Montrose theater. “All the actors know they can trust when she’s telling [them] what to do, because she can see it from a perspective they can’t […] and the casting fits so well! With casting for Montrose she puts people in places and it’s like ‘hmmm, I wouldn’t have seen it like that’ and by the end you can see she just knows, she [sees] the potential the whole time.” She’s very excited to see what comes next, especially “the kids in The Sound of Music, I hope they can continue theater!” 

Anna Maria Fasse’s favorite show was Alice Through The Looking Glass because “it was one of those shows that really cemented in my mind that I would do acting for college and beyond, it was definitely a show that sparked my imagination.” Her takeaway from Montrose productions: “it doesn’t matter what role you have, even a small role can be made to be something that has a lasting effect on the audience or even on the person who has the role.” One piece of advice she has looking back is “to have fun with it, if you’re nervous you have to know that your cast is behind you no matter what will happen, everything will happen the way it’s supposed to, you just have to relax and let the fun story play out.” She enjoyed the opportunity of the banquet to celebrate Performing Arts! 

The Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater is based on a high level of creativity, courage, tenacity, and carefulness in service to others and to her community, received by Elizabeth Barrett ‘23. One thing Elizabeth learned in Montrose theater is that “even if you get a role and you think that […] you can’t do that at all because you’re not old, or fat, or a man, you can! It’s not just about appearances and what you look like based off typecast […] you can do anything!” A memory that sticks out to her is that one infamous scene from Clue where we did the chandelier over and over and over and “everyone was just going crazy” (shoutout Mrs. Juge’s earlier comment). Clue was definitely “a really great bonding experience,” something echoed by almost everyone I spoke to! 

The Montrose Player Award is given annually for extraordinary contributions to the performing arts department, and personal and professional qualities (usually to a graduating senior), presented to Elyza Tuan ‘23. I had a very long and enjoyable conversation with Elyza about her involvement in Performing Arts (to Mrs. Baker: again, I’m so sorry for being ten minutes late to chem, I had a good reason I promise). Elyza has a lot of favorite shows (they were all just so good). She concluded: “Les Mis was my dream show […] I would die to do it again, but omg Clue has to be my absolute favorite, hands down best production I’ve been in, best dynamic.” Clue was a common answer, and when asked to explain a little further, Elyza clarified that “everyone had a chance to shine, you would stand back and watch and be like ‘that person is just so good’ […] it was an emotionally tumultuous time for me and Clue was a safe space for me.” She also mentioned: “what makes Montrose unique is that afterwards, friendships get stronger. I’m really so lucky that’s the case […] it deepened the best friendships I have now, which I don’t think would have been that strong without Clue, and also after the cast party I will never forget the hug Lucy Bachiochi gave me because that is the best hug ever.”

 The Performing Arts Banquet was a lot of things, but it had many elements to honor our seniors’ achievements. Many seniors were involved at some point in their Montrose career, and while the number of shows done does not correlate with effort or dedication, many of them have given a lot to the Performing Arts Program at Montrose. In a lot of my conversations, there were common themes, mainly that the relationships formed in productions are uniquely close, but also the Big bed breaking, Clue shenanigans, and the potential of the Performing Arts Program for the future. We’re going to miss them next year, but we can’t wait to see them flourish in college and come back to visit and watch future Montrose shows! 


School-Sponsored Events and Competitions: 

Sorina Yeghian ’26 did a fabulous job at the English Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition! She competed as a semi-finalist on March 4th at Mt. Ida College and advanced to the finals. 

 2 seniors, Elyza Tuan, and Trisha Tran made it into the Senior District Choir and All-state Choir, AND 3 middle schoolers, Ellie Fujawa, Maria Noronha, and Ellie Poulos made it into the Junior District Choir. 


Clubs and Activities:

Speech Awards

MVP Award: Anna Hvidsten ‘23

Unsung Hero Award: Chaitanya Arora ‘23

110% Award: Hansini Gundavarapu ‘24

Most Improved Award: Natalia Petruzziello ‘26


Montrose Player Awards:

Upper School Play- Clue Awards

110% Award: Theresa Marcucci ‘23

Unsung Hero Award: Lucy Tierney ‘28 and Allie Knight ‘28

The MVP Performer Award: Lucy DeMeo ‘24

The MVP Tech Award: Isabela Pap ‘24


Middle School Musical- Newsies Jr. Awards

110% Award: Kelly Ladino ‘27

Unsung Hero Award: Anna Rose Marshall ‘28 and Cara Knight ‘28

The MVP Performer Award: Clare Olohan ‘29

The MVP Tech Award: Amelia White ‘25 


All School Musical- The Sound of Music Awards

110% Award: Lucy DeMeo ‘24

Unsung Hero Award: Sophie Farr ‘25

The MVP Performer Award: Elyza Tuan ‘23

The MVP Tech Award: Amelia White ‘25


Senior Roses:

Meredith Baker 1

Sarah Oheagbulam 1

Ruby Yuan 1

Caroline Shannahan 2

Trisha Tran 4

Isabel Oquendo 5

Anna Proscia 5

Ava Russo 6

Lucy Bachiochi 7

Theresa Marcucci 11

Elyza Tuan 13

Anna Maria Fasse 14

Elizabeth Barrett 16


Performing Arts Awards:

Excellence in Acting in the Upper School: Lucy Bachiochi ‘23 and Anna Maria Fasse ‘23

Middle School Performance Award: Izzy Niebuhr ‘28

Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theater: Elizabeth Barrett ‘23

Merit in Technical Theater: Isabela Pap ‘24

Montrose Player Award: Elyza Tuan ‘23


By Amelia White ’25, Ask Alice Editor and Social Media/Tech Editor