Warm up your singing pipes, learn your lines and grab your dance shoes!
Prince George’s Community College just launched its brand new Center for Performing Arts.
“The music department is so close-knit, like a family,” music student Kassidy Smith said.
Music students can study music literature, jazz ensemble or concert choir.
“The majority of students are extremely gifted,” music professor Dr. Angelina Shumway said. “They can play or sing by ear. I always tell them that’s a great gift to have, but just think about what you can do if you understand fully the music theory behind it and truly understand the fundamentals.”
The music department distinguishes itself with its equipment.
“We are the first community college in Maryland … equipped with all Steinway pianos,” Shumway said.
“The facility is amazing, the practice rooms are soundproof basically, and the education that you will get here will definitely transfer to a four-year university,” Smith said.
If theater is more your passion, you’ll have plenty of opportunities.
“We really have a range of students,” theater professor Peggy Yates said. ”We see a lot of students that have worked in high school shows, community productions or church shows. [It ranges] from very little experience to those who have had substantial experience but maybe had a family and got away from it.”
The new building boasts multiple performance spaces, from the black-box theater to the grand theater.
“The theaters are beautiful,” theater student Maya Catoe said. “To actually have the feel of being on a professional stage, whether doing monologues or scene work, is fun.”
The spaces routinely welcome traveling theater companies, most recently “The Color Purple.”
“That company [allowed] our students to see a dress rehearsal,” Yates said. “It’s a fabulous arrangement for touring companies coming through, but also for our students to engage with professionals.”
The students also put on their own shows, including “Bounce: The Peter Rabbit Remix” and “The Wiz,” featuring Helen Hayes Award winning musical director e’Marcus Harper Short and director Eric Ruffin.
“This is such a rich theatrical community,” Yates said. “Our students are benefiting from that.”
The new kid on the block is the dance department, which officially launches in January 2020.
“We have mixed levels,” dance professor Kevin Veiga said. “We have some very beginners, so students that have never had dance class. … Then we have students that have come from other studios.”
Prince George’s Community College explores ballet, modern, jazz, African and musical theater, taught in two dance studios.
“It’s very, very beautiful,” dance student Srekinah Brown said. “It feels good to be an artist and just have a great amount of space to do what you do and just be able to free-flow.”
In the end, it’s all about shaping the students as artistic individuals.
“We encourage personal growth, artistic growth and creative growth,” Veiga said. “The students will not only leave here as better technical dancers, they will also leave here as better individuals, better performers and have that creative energy to take it wherever they want to go.”