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Memories from JTF!

Re-live favorite memories and the JTF experience first hand from the Singin in the Rain Cast, Crew, and Parents!

Corinna Hilderbrand

My favorite parts of JTF other than my friends and the rehearsal process were the performances/talks. I learned so much from them and everybody in them was so inspiring! I really hope I can go again next year to learn even more.

Mason Merrick

The connections we made at JTF were insane! Everyone at JTF is so sweet and kind at heart, and JTF is pretty much an escape from the negative people in the outside world. After we performed on the main stage for outstanding production, we stopped at the exit of the hotel and met with an absolutely amazing group that performed Beauty and the Beast on the main stage also. They were so kind and complimented us numerous amounts of times before we left, and they were such a nice group.

Liz O’Neal

My favorite memory from JTF was the moment when we were about to go into the adjudication room and we all held hands. The energy was just bursting through the room and I felt so connected to my friends. I knew in that moment that no matter what happened in the adjudication room that they would have my back and I would have theirs.

Carson Luther

It’s hard to say. I would like to talk about how amazing it was to meet some amazing actors and actresses along with composers and directors. However I think my favorite memory is from every trip on the van. I loved hearing Jeff yell “don’t lean on the door” every time we would get in.

Kenzie Pein

Although I had an amazing time all weekend and have numerous amazing memories I could share, one of my favorite moments was last night when I was in the lobby with a few of my friends, just laughing, celebrating, and reflecting. The friendships and connections I’ve formed throughout this whole process have blown me away, and last night my heart was truly full. I could not be more proud of everyone, and a true testament to those relationships was when we all ran out of the elevators crying and hugging after we had found out we won Outstanding Production. I am infinitely grateful for this entirely experience and I cannot say enough amazing things ❤️❤️

Emilia Porter

My favorite memory from this JTF has to be the moment we finished our set. We had just finished a beautiful end note perfectly harmonized and I sobbed when I looked up and saw the crowd screaming and jumping up. I watched as the adjudicators’ eyes lit up. I looked over at my castmates and then our staff and parents and I was truly content. At that moment I knew even if we didn’t win an award, we had still won. I was so proud of my journey and my castmates’ and everything was perfect in the world.

Emma Hughes

My favorite memory from JTF was when we hit our final pose for our set and the whole crowd stood up and it felt like we did it. At that point we didn't need the trophy or the award because we knew in our hearts we put it all out there and had fun. The whole weekend I felt like I was living with my bestfriends doing what we all love together. At JTF, when you're there everything is perfect and just right. I will never forget this JTF and the amazing cast!!❤

Becky Pein

This group is just one big family. Getting to spend time with all the parents, the kids, the teachers...even though it was a whirlwind of an extended weekend, it all seemed to be over in a flash. In all my years as an athlete, even when we had some pretty strongly competitive teams, nothing ever compared to the bond these kids have. It radiates so strongly on and off the stage.

Sydney Nines

My favorite memory from JTF was the moment we hit the final button in our adjudication. We all knew this was the best it ever has been and we put it all out on the floor. Looking around at everyone after coming out of the pose made time feel like it was slowing down and it was only us in the room. What I felt in the seconds after we finished the set when we all grabbed each other for hugs and started to laugh and cry is something that I will never forget.

Ella Valentine

My favorite part of the Singin in the Rain process was being able to come back to the show and being comfortable making new choices since we already had done the show. I felt really free to just have fun, because I knew that the rest of the group would support that and make new choices and connections. We all lifted each other up and that energy was just amazing.

Ashton Williams

My favorite memory was, oddly enough, the night of our adjudication. When we stood outside of the room waiting to perform, I felt the nervousness of myself and our group switch from anxiety to excitement, almost instantaneously. Walking in to the adjudication room, we all had this collective confidence and readiness to perform that had been building up to this moment. At the end of our set I distinctly remember coming out of that final moment of Singin’ in the Rain and being overwhelmed by the cheers and standing ovation from the audience. I looked around at everyone, we grabbed each other for hugs, and I could feel the electric energy that filled the room. It was an absolutely unforgettable moment that could not have been a more perfect farewell to this awesome show. I’ve never felt so connected to a group of people in my life and I’m so grateful to have been able to share so many wonderful memories with everyone.

Arianna Fiorentino

Sorry this is a little late!! Aside from the glorious moments of adjudications, performing on “the big stage” , finding out we had won outstanding production and all the silly fun moments and van rides, I definitely and strangely enough had an amazing experience at the dance workshop. I’ve had a hard relationship with dance and my body and self worth, but I really stepped into the combo and laid everything I had out on the table with no hesitation and truly let myself be the dancer I am and truly enjoy it for what it was and enjoy myself. I felt like a star performing that combo and now I’ll always have it in my head and body when I need a good dance out!! Sometimes the littlest things are the biggest break throughs 🤍🤍

Angela Nines

My favorite part.. well I have 3. First, seeing my lovely, wonderful daughter being her spectacular self all weekend. What a joy to have time to spend with her. 2nd. Seeing Sydney hang out with the most wonderful teens around. Jeff and I are so thankful she has found these great humans and loves them so. 3rd... singing along ( possibly very loudly) to Hopelessly Devoted to You, once again Thanking God that Sydney didn't like basketball and hockey camp back in first grade and instead found theater! Yay!!! I don't think my singing would be as accepted in the stands of a basketball game.

Jennifer Porter

Like my friend Angela I have several favorite parts. The first occurred immediately after their adjudication. They killed it and if you couldn’t tell by the adjudicator and audience reactions you definitely could tell by our Singin’ groups faces and body language. They were proud of themselves. They nailed it and THEY KNEW IT. It was electric and the MCCA staff and adults in our group…we all were just radiating pride. That’s such an awesome feeling…watching your child do something she loves and do it well and seeing their hard work being appreciated by others. The second moment came at dinner one evening when the kids were all mostly seated. They were all talking quietly in their friend groups and one kid came in after everyone with their plate of food. Without any adult prompting they all stopped their conversations in order to make sure everyone had a seat at the table. MCCA staff are masters of making sure everyone has a seat at the table all of the times. 😍 My final moment came during the DEI panel. Mia was several rows ahead of us but I knew that the content was affecting her. When Katy Geraghty spoke about body image and “bad body days” not only could I relate but I also knew that everyone could relate in their own way…and that my daughter was listening. She said something at one point about hearing trauma stories that stemmed from theatre teachers and called them out on stage challenging them to “do something else” if that’s what they were

bringing to their students. I laughed at that; knowing that we had left somewhere so toxic years ago and came into MCCA where I know that Emilia is nurtured and encouraged not put down for any reason. She’s had to unlearn a lot when it comes to loving the body that God gave her and marveling in what it can do and how it moves rather than putting it down. And we are all still learning and unlearning things like that. I was thrilled to see hard, maybe even uncomfortable conversations happening all while knowing that any one of those panelists and the students like them who will pass through the doors of MCCA would be in a space where they’re seen, heard, loved, and safe. That’s worth so much more than any of us pay in monthly tuition. That specific panel was and will continue to be the subject of hours of conversation already. So much good stuff. Special thanks to Jacki and Shelby who helmed the ship so gracefully in the ATL. Mountain City Center for the Arts was so well-represented at JTF this year. I’ll miss this more than I can even tell you guys. 🥰

Jeff Nines

This is Jeff...the entire weekend was awesome...I absolutely enjoyed driving all my kids back and forth. It was more personal... listening to them interacting with such love and respect for one another. I don't see much of that in my line of work.

Alex Robertson

This is a bit late… but I loved the amazing experience if the adjudication process. The best part of the weekend was getting to spend time with a group of people that’s full of love and support and thank you all for doing that ❤️

Cassidy Witt

My favorite JTF moment is the same every year that I have gone. It’s the moment when everyone in the theatre starts singing “Don’t Stop Believing” it feels so collectively loving. I can feel the energy radiation off of everyone. It is an extraordinary moment for me and I will always and forever love it.

Shelby Herbert

I am so totally late on answering this -- My favorite moment is actually a collection of moments.

I think somewhere in the rehearsal process our entire Singing' team decided that we had something to say, something to share, and at some point, every cast member decided that they were there to be seen in that adjudication room. Something really magical happens when a group of people all collectively decide to allow themselves to be seen. It makes every individual shine so brightly, that the collective just exudes magic. That magic seeps into every person it touches, and it creates this unspoken agreement that each person is willing to be seen and see others.

My favorite moments were the moments that I could look into each person in our group's eyes and know their truth. Your joy, pride, fear, gratitude, concern, your total willingness to experience everything on that JTF journey as a team (you too parents). I just keep walking around thinking about how privileged I am to have shared such a

full range of emotions and experiences with one of the most truly remarkable groups of humans I have ever been around. It's hard to choose "a" moment, because every moment I got to step back and breathe you all in was pretty stunning. Every laugh, tear, hug, quiet glance, and breath are the collections of small moments that will stick with me. ALSO, we knew we had magic on our hands - to have someone else recognize and validate that was pretty rad. BUT - if we're choosing a JTF content moment, that DEI panel was so important and just the kind of thing we all needed to see on that JTF stage.

Tess Myers

One of my favorite moments was during adjudication. I saw several cast members make slightly different choices than they had in the summer show, parent preview and rehearsals. And the choices were coming from a place of incredible confidence in their abilities, connection to character and downright joy in the moment. It was truly special. And then everyone’s reaction to the audience reaction was the cherry on top. Love all of these kids!

Coty Forno

My favorite Singin in the rain moment is from our last rehearsal on Saturday before JTF. The set was beautiful but when all of the students got to the last chorus of singing in the rain and they all started signing and dancing together, their gorgeous energy and light hit me like a ton of bricks. It took my breath away and I immediately burst into tears. I was so proud of them. I could also feel how special this performance was going to be. You could feel the magic in the room. It’s amazing to get to experience that kind of love and power.

Jacki Dixon

My favorite JTF memory was seeing our students be completely connected to their performance, and especially to each other. Every single actor walked into the room with such confidence, because they had worked so hard, supported each other endlessly, and were fully connected to each other as both characters and friends. They had each other’s backs and the entire room felt it. They were all so kind and supportive to each other through the rehearsal process and for every moment of the JTF weekend. It was a truly special thing to witness and I am so proud to know them all!

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