Concert fundraises for potential musical theater minor

Michael Roccia
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne hosted a musical theater concert and fundraiser at 7 p.m. on Saturday in the Morgan Auditorium. 

The concert showed the impressive talent students at ULV have in performing arts and helped raise funds for a potential musical theater minor coming to the school in Fall 2025. 

There were about 80 people in attendance who came out to support the students at the University by donating to the theater program to support the creation of a new performance art curriculum.

Ariel Pisturino, director of vocal studies at the University of La Verne, was in charge of the concert and gave a little more insight into why this concert was an important showcase and what the new minor would entail for students.

“The concert tonight will hopefully put musical theater on the radar of students and they will know that there is development for it,” Pisturino said. “The minor would be a combination of doing dance classes, music classes and theater classes. We’re all trying to work together to get the curriculum going.”

The process from auditions to the actual concert date was quick. Pisturino wanted to make it feel as authentic as possible so the students auditioning would know what to expect if they continue down the path of musical theater in their artistic careers.

Although there was a quick turnaround time, the students who performed did not miss a beat. They were able to put on a performance that was impressive and memorable. The performers sang popular songs from famous musicals, which included “Wicked”, “Sweeney Todd”, “Hamilton”, “Les Miserables” and “Dear Evan Hansen.”

Machaela McLain, a junior criminology major at the University of La Verne, was one of the singers who performed in the concert. She performed the song “Requiem,” from the musical “Dear Evan Hansen”. 

 “It inspires me to hear that someone felt very emotional about my performance or was moved by my performance,” McLain said. “It makes me feel really good as a singer and it makes me feel like I was able to do the song justice.”

Another one of the performers at the musical theater concert was Zachary Grech who gave a riveting performance of “Johanna” from the musical “Sweeney Todd.” Grech is a junior communications major and is also the vice president of the choral organization at the University of La Verne. He explained why theater is such an important support system in his life and why he loves it so much.

“I love seeing my family members in the crowd,” Grech said. “It helps you focus on the little things and appreciate the countless hours of practice and preparation. It’s amazing to see the work pay off in the actual performance.”

He also shared his thoughts on the potential musical theater minor coming to the University and how he thinks people would love to be a part of it. 

“It’s gonna lead to more people coming to support the theater,” Grech said. “I hope that it showcases how the ULV music department is something that’s up and coming and that people need to be a part of it because it’s a once in a lifetime experience.”

Taylor Murphy, a junior educational studies major at the University of La Verne, who sang “Storybook” from the musical “The Scarlet Pimpernel” shared similar feelings about why theater is so necessary and impactful and why people need to support the arts in today’s world.

“I love being given the chance to entertain people,” Murphy said. “Getting to bring people a chance to escape from their day to day lives, enjoy music and get lost in a story is so rewarding.”

The musical theater concert helped to demonstrate the talented vocals and performances students at the University of La Verne are capable of. If the musical theater minor is approved for the fall of 2025, one can only imagine how much more students could learn and grow.

“It’s really all about community and just trying to show compassion towards your audience members and your peers,” Grech said. “Anything you do with music is good for your soul.”

Michael Roccia can be reached at michael.roccia@laverne.edu

Michael Roccia is a junior communications major with a concentration is public relations. This is his first semester as a staff writer for the Campus Times.

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