By Jasmine Velazquez, El Monte City School District
Excitement reverberates through the corridors of El Monte City School District (EMCSD) as curtains rise on another spectacular season of Musical Theatre. From enchanting melodies to electrifying choreography, the stage is set to showcase the boundless talent of students, spanning from 1st through 8th grade.

This year’s lineup promises to captivate audiences of all ages with musical adaptations of timeless classics like The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Shrek, Annie, and Charlie Brown, and newer family favorites like Frozen, Moana, and High School Musical among others. Each performance serves as a testament to the dedication and passion of our young performers, who have poured their hearts into rehearsing iconic scenes and melodies.

“I think this program is great for our students and our community,” shared Shirpser’s Musical Theatre lead Ms. Luisa Valdez. “Honestly, the students surprised me with their great performance [especially] not being shy for their age. They really own their performance; musical theatre is special to them [and] makes them feel proud. On campus, I can see how they walk with more pride after the musicals.”

Shirpser School launched EMCSD’s musical theatre season with their adaption of Disney’s Frozen. The students love their musical theatre program, and it inspires them to keep finding outlets to perform. Carly Miramontes who portrayed Anna said, “I love the experience of being on stage and performing for others.” Keith Ilagan who played Hans thinks more students should join the program, “It’s a really fun learning experience, and you get to connect with other people.” Keith was introduced to musical theatre last Spring while walking by Shirpser’s Lion King practice. Curious, he asked Ms. Valdez if he could try out even though he missed the initial casting calls. Keith ended up getting the lead role as Simba and now wants to explore theatre beyond school, “I’m really into it, and I’m going to try getting into a public musical next year.”

Fellow Shirpser student Adela Marquez, who has been in musical theatre for the past couple years, says the program has helped her tremendously and thinks it can help her classmates, “I keep coming back because I want to build more confidence in myself. In the years before, I wasn’t comfortable, and I think if other students want to be more confident, they should join because it will help with anxiety.”

EMCSD has been recognized by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) as a Best Community for Music Education for three consecutive years.

Musical Theatre serves as a vibrant extension of these programs, offering students a platform to explore their creativity, find their inner voice, and gain valuable experience in production and performance. It’s not just about hitting the right notes or mastering intricate choreography; it’s about fostering confidence, teamwork, and a lifelong appreciation for the arts. Ms. Valdez added, “I have seen students’ self-esteem grow. They learn how to help each other and how to work together.”

Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia emphasized the importance of providing lanes for art, “At EMCSD, we believe every child can find an outlet of expression within the arts and that is why we prioritize creating spaces for them to make that connection. By providing access to enriching musical and artistic opportunities through musical theatre and beyond, we are committed to nurturing the creative spirit within each student, empowering them to be confident in themselves, exploring their passions, and developing new ones.”

EMCSD has planned a showcase at El Monte High School Auditorium on Tuesday, May 14th, to bring together performances from all 14 schools, uniting students, staff, teachers, and families in a dazzling display of talent and camaraderie. The general public is invited to attend, and programming will begin at 5:30 p.m.