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Exceptional Student Singers Honored at Mayo Performing Arts Center


EAST HANOVER — Christopher LaRosa, a senior from Hanover Park High School was honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center’s December 2023 Music Students of the Month – Outstanding Vocalists — before the Sunday, December 10 performance by Girl Named Tom. Also students from Parsippany, Rockaway, Morristown, Randolph, Mendham, Budd Lake, Chester, East, and Harding Township were honored.

Students were nominated by their teachers and were chosen by the Theatre’s Education Department based on their commitment to excellence in the performing arts. The students were honored on stage before the concert and met the band.

The Theatre will honor a group of students every month throughout the season and invites area teachers to nominate students for this honor.

The 2023-2024 Music Student of the Month program is supported by The Walter F. and Alice Gorham Foundation, Inc.

About the December Music Students of the Month

Christopher LaRosa — Grade 12, Hanover Park High School; East Hanover; Nominated by Helen Britez

Christopher has been a dependable member of the Choirs for 4 years. He currently serves as Bass Section Leader and takes a specialized course with me called Applied Vocal Music at Hanover Park HS. He loves all types of music, but can (and loves to) sing pop, jazz, Billy Joel, The Eagles, and more. He has recently discovered remarkable vocal and stylistic strength with jazz standards and Crooner songs. It has been a pleasure watching him grow into such a strong musician and revered member of our program.

Navya Ekkaladevi — Grade 7, Central Middle School; Parsippany; Nominated by Adam Aguanno

Since entering Central Middle School as a 6th grader, Navya light has shown bright as a talented singer. She was featured as Young Nala in Central Middle School’s production of Lion King. Additionally, she auditioned for the North Jersey Intermediate chorus as a young 6th grader and successfully made it and went on to perform in their 2023 performance. She plans to audition again in 2024. Her desire to continue to become a stronger and better singer is evident daily as she is a hard worker. This along with her kindness, passion, and dedication make her a deserving candidate for Outstanding Vocalist of the Month.

Tiffany Albornoz — Grade 12, Morris Hills High School; Rockaway; Nominated by Michelle Uhler

Tiffany Albornoz joined the choir department her sophomore year after I worked with her freshman year in the spring musical at Morris Hills. She is part of the GT (gifted and talented) program at Morris Hills and pursuing a GT in theater arts. She studies acting, how to pursue it, and studying different shows, approaches to acting, etc. She has been doing theater practically her entire life and after discovering her love for musical theatre, joined the choir program last year.  She is in my advanced concert choir and is a member of all three of my after-school choirs that meet for three hours on Monday nights.

Julia Cam — Grade 12, Morristown High School; Morristown; Nominated by Christine Scott

Julia is one of the most intuitive singers I have ever had the privilege of working with. When learning a piece, she researches and prepares like a pro – she listens to recordings and carefully works to duplicate the nuance of whatever technique/style is required for the piece. She learns quickly and takes constructive criticism gracefully. Her versatility as a singer is very impressive. She was an audience favorite in our 2021 production of Something Rotten as Nostradamus, and last year’s production of Cinderella as the fairy godmother, and has given award-winning performances as a vocal soloist with our jazz band, Spectrum, in last year’s Morristown ONStage competition. She is a treasured member of our MHS Treble Chorale and is currently in the process of auditioning for colleges to continue her music studies at a higher level.

Priya Chopra — Grade 7, Mountainview Middle School; Mendham; Nominated by Justin Lordi

Priya is an extremely hard-working and attentive musician. She has a strong voice and is never afraid to sing out, even when she might be the only soprano 1 present in the choir for the day. Outside of being in Mountain View Singers, the top choir of the school, Priya plays one of the Les Filles girls in this year’s drama production of Beauty and the Beast Jr. In rehearsals, she is the role model of voice projection that other students always attempt to match. On top of all this, she never has a frown on her face and constantly displays a positive attitude wherever she goes.

Aidan Danner — Grade 8, Randolph Middle School; Randolph; Nominated by Ann Kelly

Aidan Danner is an 8th grader from Randolph Middle School. He is an active participant and role model in the school choir, as well as the school band, select choir, and jazz band. He was a baritone Morris Area Honor Choir in 6th and 7th grade. He sang as a tenor in the regional choir in 7th grade as well and has recently been accepted into the All-Eastern Choir, a big achievement in the music community. Outside of school, Aidan is an athlete who loves to do all sorts of sports including, soccer, basketball, track, and more.  He also enjoys playing piano and traveling, and he truly finds happiness in the national parks. This love of the outdoors likely sprouts from his participation in Boy Scouts.

Amber Deegan — Grade 12, West Morris Mendham High School; Mendham; Nominated by Patricia Danner

Amber Deegan has been a member of the Mendham HS Choir for the past three years.  During that time, she has participated in every ensemble available to her, and her impact on the program has been vast.  Amber can sing almost any part, and in addition to our school program, she has been very successful with honor choirs.  She recently performed with the NJ All-State Mixed Choir.  Most importantly, Amber is a positive role model for her peers in the choir.  She can often be found helping younger students learn their parts, and her kind and welcoming personality makes other students feel comfortable in the group.  Amber is an enthusiastic, talented, and dedicated music student, and truly deserves the honor of Music Student of the Month!

Marisa Foster — Grade 8, Mount Olive Middle School; Budd Lake; Nominated by Joanna Scarangello

Marisa is an exceptional singer and has emerged as a leader in our curricular and co-curricular ensembles. Marisa was recently accepted into the ACDA All-Eastern Junior High Honor Choir and has been a member of the New Jersey Youth Choir’s Sola Voce.  Marisa continues to challenge herself to grow as a musician through her many talents.

Sarah Hayes — Grade 8, Black River Middle School; Chester; Nominated by Kathleen Vespignani

Sarah has been a member of the chorus at Black River for three years, as well as a member of the Select Chorus since the sixth grade.  She is often a soloist in the choral groups.  After three years in both vocal ensembles, Sarah has blossomed into a magnificent musician and performer.  Sarah comes to rehearsal and performances with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm, and respect for the art.  In class, Sarah is constantly singing while doing her work, making everyone around her smile!  Sarah continues her musical endeavors outside of school as well, singing in her church choir.  Additionally, Sarah participated in the Drama Club performance last year at the middle school.  Sarah truly exemplifies what a great musician is!  Her style is versatile and she learns quickly; she has a great vocal range and a warm quality to her voice.  She exhibits a rare potential to become a professional singer/performer.  She is an amazing young woman and musician.

Adaline Spence — Grade 8, Harding Township School; Harding; Nominated by Rachel Gareau

I have had the pleasure of teaching Addie music since 1st grade. She has had a leading role in every school musical since 4th grade. She has also had leading roles in community theater productions.  She has sung solos in concerts as well. She participates in her church music program and attended Frenchwoods camp for theater. Addie studies voice privately and takes it very seriously. She has a beautiful voice and would be honored to be acknowledged.

Frank Cahill
Frank Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.

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