2015 My CYT Story Competition!

It’s that time again! Has your life been impacted by CYT? Tell us how, and you might be the next “My CYT Story” competition winner! You’re officially invited to participate in the 3rd annual nationwide CYT Essay Competition, where one winner from each Affiliate will win a free registration to the 2015 National CYT EXPO in San Diego, CA from June 21-24th!

Competition Details:

  • In 500 words or less, tell us what CYT has done in your life
  • Submit your story to your local affiliate’s Artistic Director by April 1, 2015
  • Stories will be read anonymously by your affiliate’s Board of Directors and a local winner will be selected by May 1, 2015

For the sake of clarification/ultimate excitement: there will be one winner per participating affiliate (ask your local Artistic Director if you’re participating), and each individual champ will receive a free registration.

  • Each winner will be submitted to CYT Inc, from which a GRAND WINNER will be selected
  • On Opening Night of CYT’s EXPO, all winners will be recognized and a grand winner will be announced
  • The grand winner gets bragging rights, a feature on the National Blog, and a free CYT sweatshirt from the CYT store!

Happy writing!

2014 My CYT Story Winner - Aubrey Muffett (with Paul Russell, Heather La Forge and Sheryl Russell)

2014 My CYT Story Winner – Aubrey Muffett (with Paul Russell, Heather La Forge and Sheryl Russell)

Here’s a excerpt from last year’s winner, Aubrey Muffett from CYT Sacramento.

“No other community of brave, precious souls could have planted and grown me so securely in Him, all the while allowing me a chance and plenty of room for my once timid personality to unfurl. I have been more warmly accepted and firmly encouraged at CYT than any other group. CYT has helped me develop different characters on stage, but even more so my identity in Christ.”

Q&A with CYT Spokane’s Scott Worley

In continuing my obsession with interviewing CYTers around the nation, I recently spoke with CYT Spokane student Scott Worley. And in continuing my being so impressed with the caliber of people involved in CYT, Scott did not disappoint. Spokane is a lucky CYT Affiliate, indeed!

Ladies & gents, meet Scott Worley

Ladies & gents, meet Scott Worley

Let’s do a little get-to-know-you. Tell me your name, age, current location, and an interesting tidbit or two that we’d be surprised to learn.

My name is Scott Worley, I’m 19 years old, and I live in Spokane, Washington (I’ve lived here my entire life). Interesting tidbits…I have grown a beard, shaved my head, and been painted green for several CYT shows. And for Christmas the past four or five years, I’ve asked for a pair of red converse high tops. They usually last me a little over a year and so I get the perfect time span out of them and I wear them with everything no matter what I’m wearing.

An example of Scott being green...

An example of Scott being green…

I love it! Tell me your experience as a student at CYT Spokane. How long were you involved, and what were some highlights?

I’ve been involved with CYT Spokane sense the age of 11. I was in the cast of 10 shows and on crew for four shows. Some of the highlights have been meeting amazing people who I truly believe will be my friends for life. There also isn’t a whole lot that can compare to the feeling of singing your heart out to a sold out theater of 750 people at the breathtaking Bing Crosby Theater.

Friends

Any favorite roles or shows?

Some roles I’ve had the honor to play were the Beast and Shrek. But my all-time favorite roll was Jud Fry in Oklahoma!. The stretch as an actor I was able to experience was amazing! My favorite show, however, would probably be A Christmas Carol. We had a bit of a smaller cast for that one so everyone was playing several roles and we just had a blast doing such a exciting and fun show.

Not looking so scary as the Beast...

Not looking so scary as the Beast…

What was your go-to audition song?

“I’d Rather Be Sailing” from A New Brain. I was fortunate enough to be able to perform it for the I.E. Thespian Festival and qualify nationally for Solo’s.

I’m told you recently interned for a production of Peter Pan. How was that? What were some of your responsibilities?

That was an absolute blast! Some of what I did was block scenes, as well as fight choreography and assisted with character work and development.

What was the main part of that experience that you didn’t see coming? 

I really didn’t realize how big of an undertaking the whole process really is. As a director you are responsible for everything from the the casting of the show to the set design. I learned you need a solid vision as a director because while you do have a team of dedicated and amazing parent volunteers, they are all going off your vision for the show.

And the second thing that really caught me off guard was the thing you are constantly told when in CYT but never fully grasp until you see the full picture –  how much the parent volunteers really do for a show and for us all. A show would crumble if it was not for the parents giving their time, energy, resources, and GAS for these productions. So to all CYT parents everywhere, thank you for everything you do. You are really changing lives with the work and time you are putting into your CYT.

You attended the 2014 CYT EXPO. Best three days of your life?

I did attend this year, as well as the one before and they were both awesome! Not only did I get an original CYT tie out of it from the good Dr. LaForge herself but met a lot of amazing CYTers and had a blast! It seems like another one of those sayings you always seem to hear but it is oh so true – a CYT’er is a CYT’er no matter where they are from.

Modeling the CYT tie!

Modeling the CYT tie!

What are you currently up to and what is your future looking like?

Right now I am in my first year of college and am involved with community theater around Spokane, as well as teaching Drama 101 this winter semester at CYT. Down the road I am working towards getting a degree in Secondary Education to become a high school Social Studies teacher and will hopefully direct a CYT show of my own some day!

So awesome! Thanks for humoring me and all my questions. Best of luck Scott!

Spotlight on CYT North Idaho student Kalla Mort

Sigh. I just love CYT students. I recently got a chance to speak with CYT North Idaho student Kalla Mort and she’s a gem of a human. In the below interview, we discuss her various roles, her favorite CYT moments, and what she’s up to now. Enjoy!

How did you first get involved with CYT?
A family friend of mine invited me to come see her in Snow White. And after, that I auditioned for Jungle Book and was hooked from the start!

As you know, CYT is one huge pseudo-family that loves to spread the love to actual family members. Are your siblings or parents involved? 
I have three siblings – two older sisters and a younger brother. My older sister Kelsea was only able to do a few shows before graduating, and my brother Bryson only did one show. My mom always loves being a part of the Make-Up Committee. She loves being around all of the CYTers and being able to connect with them on their level!

Kalla at her sister Kelsea's wedding!

Kalla at her sister Kelsea’s wedding!

What has surprised you the most about the world of theater?
Probably the instant familial bond you have with your fellow actors. Even outside of CYT, the family aspect is there. I never realized you could find a group of “misfits” and imperfect people who still love and support each other like a family would.

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CYT Alumni Jason & Danica Russell want to share the ABC’s of Activism

Jason and Danica Russell are not just CYT alumni, they’re CYT lifers. Jason is the son of CYT co-founders Paul and Sheryl Russell, and Danica was a CYT student starting at the ripe ol’ age of six. Their journey began 30 years ago on the CYT stage with a best friendship (and dance partnership)…fast forward to today and they’ve been married for 10 years and have two kids.

russells

Jason is the Chief Creative Officer at Invisible Children, a non-profit organization that exists to stop a brutal rebel group of abducted soldiers in central Africa (the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA) which is overseen by the warlord Joseph Kony. Danica is the jack-of-all-trades wife/mother/writer/artist/first lady of Invisible Children who dabbles in anything and everything creative.

They’ve spent the last decade devoted to their “firstborn child” Invisible Children, teaching people to fight injustice by taking action (cc: KONY 2012). They’re now applying all they’ve learned and writing a children’s book aimed at anyone who wants to get involved and give back, but feels overwhelmed about where to start.

They say it best on the book’s Kickstarter page:

We wanted to write this book for our own children, Gavin Danger & Everley Darling, as a way of explaining to them what we believe is worth fighting for, while teaching and empowering them to do the same. That they may realize: We are doing our best as parents – to give them the world, and we are doing our best as people – to make that world something worth having.

Take a look at their project page and consider making a pledge to support their efforts. And then watch the video below and join me in hoping they adopt us all.

The journey from CYT student to CYT director (sorta)

You guys. You’re about to meet an extraordinary gem. Caleb Craig is a former CYT San Antonio student, and current intern director for CYT San Diego‘s production of The Addams Family. I recently had the pleasure of speaking with him about CYT life, college life, and future life. Lucky me!

Here's Caleb, ladies & gentlemen.

Here’s Caleb, ladies & gentlemen.

Not so long ago you were a CYT San Antonio student. What were some highlights from your days on the CYT stage? 
I was part of CYT San Antonio’s ambassador group, the Encore! tour group. That has by far been my favorite part of CYT. We had the privilege of working directly with Sandi and Scott Mitchell producing and performing medleys and arrangements of songs from various genres and shows. That group of people have become my closest friends. They’re like family to me.

The Encoure! group with their Artistic Director Sandi Mitchell

The Encore! group with their Artistic Director Sandi Mitchell

Any favorite CYT roles or shows stand out to you?
I was Peter Pan in Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. and it was a dream come true for me. That was my first lead role in any show I’d done. One of my favorite shows that CYT San Antonio put on was definitely The Wizard of Oz. It was filled with so many incredible moments, including a 12-minute quick change from Ms. Gulch to the Wicked Witch of the West. Watching the make-up and costume crew backstage move super fast to completely change the actress’s appearance was something to behold.

caleb2

 

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CYT alumni wins full-ride scholarship to Berklee School of Music

CYT San Diego alumni Jackie Foster’s life just changed. She is this year’s only winner of a 4-year, $150K scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Below is the full article from the San Diego Union Tribune that reinforces what a stellar performer she is and how much she deserves this amazing opportunity. Way to go, Jackie!

Jackie Foster performs in concert. The 18-year-old Poway resident has been singing for audiences since her CYT days she was 8 years old. (Photo credit: Steve Abruzzo)

Jackie Foster performs in concert. The 18-year-old Poway resident has been singing for audiences since her CYT days she was 8 years old. (Photo credit: Steve Abruzzo)

Jackie Foster is destined for a singing career, and the Berklee College of Music is willing to bet on it.

This summer, the 18-year-old Poway High graduate was awarded a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to the private, contemporary music conservatory in Boston. The Berklee Lollapalooza Endowed Scholarship — worth more than $150,000 — is awarded to just one student each year, and faculty member Marty Walsh is convinced the school got it right with Foster.

“Jackie’s got a really bright future,” said Walsh, who first met Foster four years ago when she attended a rock music camp at Berklee. “She just has the whole thing going on. As a singer, she’s absolutely astounding, but she can also sing harmonies. She’s got charisma, the moves, the looks and a great attitude. When she walks in a room, she lights it up.”

For Foster, getting a full ride to her dream school is the “mind-blowing” next step of a journey that began 10 years ago, when she first sang in front of an audience.

“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do,” she said. “When I step on stage with the lights and a mike in my hand, it’s pure joy. Being able to share with others the gift that I was given — that amazes me. That’s what I live for.”

Music was a big part of Foster’s childhood. Rock and jazz music was always on the stereo at home, and by the age of 5 she surprised her parents with her robust, note-perfect accompaniment to the cast album for “The Phantom of the Opera.” At 7, she started performing in musicals with Christian Youth Theatre and by age 8, she was taking private voice lessons in jazz, pop, rock, R&B and classical music. She also studied piano and guitar.

Jackie playing the role of Wendy in CYT San Diego's production of Peter Pan

Jackie playing the role of Wendy in CYT San Diego’s production of Peter Pan

At Poway High, she toured nationally in the school’s show choir and sang vocals for the student jazz band. Her singing skills helped her win the crown as Miss Poway in 2013. She has also tried out for NBC’s “The Voice” and Fox’s “American Idol” and has competed in numerous singing contests, including Poway’s Got Talent, RB Idol and the San Diego County Fair’s SuperStar. Win or lose, Foster said she appreciates any opportunity for constructive feedback.

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CYT student named 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California

Marisa Gomez 2

Marisa Gomez will represent the state at the National Finals in Mobile, Alabama

CYT San Diego student Marisa Gomez is an amazing young woman. So much so that she was just named the 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California! Founded in 1958, Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest national scholarship program for high school girls. Out of 29 girls in this year’s State Finals, Marisa claimed the title. Below is the official press release.

Congrats Marisa!

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Marisa Gomez from San Diego has been selected to represent the Distinguished Young Women of California Class of 2015. Twenty-nine outstanding young women from across the state spent the week in Bakersfield rehearsing for the program and participating in community events, which culminated with the State Finals on July 26 at Harvey Auditorium. The young women competed in the categories of scholastics (20%), interview (25%), talent (25%), fitness (15%), and self-expression (15%).

Marisa is a rising senior at Academy of Our Lady of Peace, and her parents are Manual Gomez and the late Maria Gomez. She participates in extracurricular activities such as Christian Youth Theatre and speech team. Marisa aspires to attend Princeton, Yale or Fordham University and become a lawyer or psychologist. She will represent California at the National Finals of Distinguished Young Women in June 2015 in Mobile, Alabama.

Marisa Gomez 1

“Distinguished Young Women has given me amazing role models and opened so many new doors for me,” said Marisa Gomez, 2015 Distinguished Young Woman of California. “I’m honored to represent my DYW sisters this next year, and I am so grateful and excited to be given the opportunity to spread awareness of this program and make a difference through it!”

Marisa earned $15,000 in cash scholarships during the state program. An additional $24,500 in scholarships were awarded to other participants during the preliminary and final nights of the program.

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