Celebrating Performing Arts at CJ

There was no curtain call and no standing ovation but many of the performing arts students did receive accolades in recent weeks even though Chaminade Julienne’s doors remain closed.

“This year we gathered virtually to celebrate all of the wonderful accomplishments from the past year, recognize student participation and celebrate the many outstanding achievements of the Performing Arts Department,” said Debi Schutt, director of performing arts.

From musical ensembles to Shakespearian plays, Chaminade Julienne had 120 students participate in some facet of the rich performing arts program during the 2019-20 school year. Every student received a participation award and superlative and major awards were also presented to those who shined on and off the stage.

The Eagles performing arts excellence wasn’t simply recognized by the CJ community but by the larger arts community as well as CJ students garnered 25 awards in the recent Miami Valley High School Theatre Awards including six outstanding awards.

The cast and crew of “Little Women” received the Outstanding Musical Award with Chloe Proffitt winning Outstanding Lead Actress for a Musical and Natalie Mussin Phillips and Milayla Jette receiving awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical for the same show. Proffitt and Chi Ejinaka also received the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play recognition for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Outstanding recognition was also awarded to Libby Blackshire (stage management) and Mussin Phillips (featured musician).

“I am so grateful that there is a place for our students and productions to be recognized, it is a true testament to the hard work of our students and staff to be recognized in so many categories,” said Caitlin Bennett, drama and choir teacher. “While the end of the year was challenging with distance learning and the cancelation of so many events, this was a bright spot in being able to celebrate our students. I can't wait until we are back in the auditorium for rehearsals and performances.”

Performing Arts Department Major Awards

This year's traditional banquet took the form of an interactive virtual event. The staff and students gathered for a live event hosted by the department with chat available throughout — available for students and staff to congratulate students who were recognized. Pre-recorded video clips were integrated into the format that celebrated our seniors while award winners were announced live which captured the excitement of each moment. Students who were recognized included:

Stars on the Rise – Presented to two outstanding freshmen who have truly shined this year and exhibit a great deal of potential for the years to come – Olivia Cotton and Ian Stewart.

MVP – Presented to two students who have participated in multiple facets of performing arts during their years at CJ. They have consistently shown evidence of influencing others, being a positive role model, and accomplishing tasks and performance objectives at a high level while working towards a common goal. They truly are CJ’s "Most Valuable Performers" – Katherine Bishop and Kaitlin Stewart.

Legendary Seniors – “We truly believe that all of our seniors are legendary and each and every one of them is worth celebrating,” Schutt said.  “They have graciously shared their gifts and talents and have been integral parts of the accomplishments and growth over the past four years in our performing arts department.” Each senior received a participation award and a special senior gift to remember their time spent in the program. All 21 seniors were visited at home and presented with their certificate and performing arts blanket.

Legendary Senior – Presented to one truly remarkable senior who has been a part of the program for all four years, exemplified in spirit, leadership, and service, and who has shown significant growth in mastering their performing arts craft in multiple areas of the program – Elizabeth Blackshire.

National School Choral Award – This national award is given in recognition of singular merit, ability, and achievement, of outstanding contributions to the success of the school vocal program, and an unusual degree of loyalty, cooperation and high qualities of conduct, by the general consent of the music faculty and school officials – Sarah Benson.

John Philip Sousa Band Award – This national award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement and interest in instrumental music, for singular merit in loyalty and cooperation, and for displaying those high qualities of conduct that school instrumental music requires – John Muhl.

Superlative Awards

Most Improved

Eagle Pride: Keely Kocur          
Concert Band: Natalia Perkins     
Percussion Ensemble: Jalon Herring      
String Ensemble: Nicholas Sabbagh              
Liturgical Choir: Brian Niebrugge Andreu
Concert Choir: De’verell Williams
Phoenix: Ayen Mayen                          
Vega: Jack Leiher               
Fall Play: Rob Culpepper
Fall Play Tech: Elizabeth Hale  
Spring Musical: Madison Meixner
Spring Musical Tech: Aspen Grey
Improv: Libby Kohls

Best Spirit

Band: Anna Mussin Phillips           
Strings: Lainey Groll
Choir: Azhani Caesar
Drama: Emma Timmons

Performing Arts Leadership Awards

Freshman: Nathan Teague
Sophomore: Jasmine Acuna
Junior: Mikayla Jette 
Senior: Annie Castonguay

Performing Arts Service Awards

Natalie Mussin Phillips
Logan Widmor

For more information on participating in CJ performing arts for the 2020-2021 season, please email Director Debi Schutt.

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Published June 4, 2020