Preparing for the stage: seniors study arts at MacPhail

Seniors, Luke Guidinger and Annie Dillon, perfect their singing and acting at the MacPhail center for Music through the guidance of trained coaches and peers.


Bella Szarzynski

Prelude, an intensive drama program at the MacPhail Center for Music, has given senior Luke Guidinger the confidence he needs for inning and has helped him tremendously with skills like stage presence.

Elsa Beise, Staff Wrier

Every Saturday afternoon from 2-5 PM, seniors Annie Dillon and Luke Guidinger are at the MacPhail Center for Music learning skills in singing, acting and auditioning. By participating in the program, both students have taken a progressive step toward their futures.

Both students love singing and performing because they convey messages and shine light on important issues in today’s society. “[Singing] is what I love to do. Being up there and sharing with the audience; it’s an interesting way of communicating,” Dillon said.

Guidinger especially appreciated being able to raise awareness on the topic of the death penalty while performing in last year’s fall play at BSM, Dead Man Walking. “The main reason I do theater in general is because I want to convey certain messages,” Guidinger said.

Prelude is a serious and beneficial program that teaches many performing skills including a course on music theory. “[The program] has a lot of singing and acting and kind of integrating the two,” Dillon said.

Both Dillon and Guidinger heard about the program through BSM Class of 2013 graduates Lexi Johnson and Danny Faber. “I’ve always been hearing about it and this is the first year that I decided to just go for it,” Dillon said.

While Dillon started the program just this fall, Guidinger has already been part of the group for two years. “I found out my voice teacher was one of the directors. He encouraged me to do it, so I did,” Guidinger said.

Both students had to complete a thorough application process.“We had to submit an application that was filled with information about our past theater experiences, and we had to write an essay about why we wanted to do prelude,” Dillon said.

Dillon, who is in the midst of deciding what exactly she wants to do with her theater talents, knows that she would love to work as a professional performer but is also thinking about studying music education. “I am interested in music education, so if that’s more of a career path that I end up wanting to choose in college. I want to have that option open,” Dillon said.

Dillon knows that the theater world is an aggressive field that is not always easy to find work. If she does end up working as a professional performer, Dillon will not be lacking in skills and techniques thanks to the Prelude program. “It’s really hard to break into the [musical theater] business. It’s not like most jobs,” Dillon said.

Guidinger, on the other hand, has his eyes set on becoming a professional performer and is only interested in performing on the stage. “If I would do something more along the lines of not acting, I would go with directing. But, I mostly want to be a performer,” Guidinger said.

Prelude has given Guidinger the confidence he needs for his singing and has helped him tremendously with skills like stage presence. The program has also assisted him with preparing to work in the professional theater world where perfection is expected. “[Prelude] has helped me, not necessarily be perfect, but be as perfect as I can be,” said Guidinger. Both students plan to continue refining the skills they need to successfully navigate a competitive world of opportunities.