Positively Arts is proud to announce Noemi Elena as the November Student of the Month! Noemi excelled during last month’s Get Launched Vegas competition and fundraising challenge, raising nearly $2,000 to provide opportunities for local youth to participate in arts enrichment and leadership programs through Positively Arts. She is an excellent student and never gives up when challenges come. We are glad that Noemi is part of our team and we will always be by her side all the way. We hope to have her in more incredible performance opportunities that she would enjoy being in! We appreciate her for all the amazing acts and hard work she has put into our team. Noemi does an amazing job performing and getting along with everyone around her. She is always eager to learn new skills and has excellent participation while practicing. Noemi Elena sat down with Positively Arts student intern Naomi C., who is currently a freshman at Cristo Rey St. Viator College Preparatory in Las Vegas.
Noemi, it is an honor being able to hear all about your experiences. What inspired you to get into performing arts?
NOEMI: When I was little, I had a best friend, but she sadly had to move away to LA. She moved away with her family because she was a child actor. Her name is Kingston Foster. We would hang out everyday, and I was so interested in what she did! Kingston would always tell me about all the movies and shows she was in. She was in Fuller House (S6:E2), American Horror Story, Breaking Bad, and Disney Channels' ‘Zombies’. It made me want to do what she did, and that’s what started it all. I remember being in the car and talking to my mom, saying “Hey mom I wanna be like Kingston when I grow up.” and she said “Well Noemi, you need a lot of training for it.” And so it began! Voice lessons, JR MTI shows at my local children's theater, and then along came Positively Arts!
How you do feel while performing?
NOEMI: When I first get up onstage, I think of it as a performance. No matter if a question is asked or I go straight into it. Once 30 seconds or so has passed, at this point I would most likely close my eyes. Closing my eyes is like my body’s trigger to reset. Mrs. Pilita taught us all the importance of resetting and how much it can improve and affect your state of mind and your everyday performance. After I’ve reset onstage, I feel a sort of comfort. Almost like i’m in my own room, singing to myself. This helps me release my nerves, and I do it almost every time I perform. I don’t necessarily do it voluntarily either, it just kind of happens. I’ve been inspired by leaders all around me that resetting is important and a good skill to have on hand.
Do you still get an anxious or nervous feeling when performing?
NOEMI: All the time! I just want everyone to know that it’s okay to be nervous. Not too long ago I remember feeling super anxious during the Get Launched Vegas finale, I was almost in tears. I remember saying things like “I can’t do this” and “I never get nervous, why do I feel like this?” I was trying to sike myself out. Then I got upstage and performed my song and I did awesome. I realized I was hyping it up for it to me just fine. So I always like to tell my friends, whenever they get nervous, that it is ok to feel that way. It’s okay to sike yourself out. But at the end of the day, the world isn’t going to end, making mistakes is ok, and nobody is going to judge you if you get nervous. We are all human and feelings always come out. It happens to the best of us.
How do you feel after performing?
NOEMI: Not long ago I went to a leadership workshop where a very wise man named Scott Lang (not Ant-Man) spoke to me. He was talking about how the choir people or singers are more sensitive to criticism, and judgment. Because other majors don’t use their bodies. We as singers use our vocal chords and our voice and our body. While others use instruments, machinery, music programs, or other forms of entertainment to perform. I learned a lot from this workshop!! Normally, after I perform. I feel relieved, but I also feel proud of myself. It’s not every day you feel proud of yourself, so it’s a good feeling to have, and I love feeling it. Every performance I am in, I anticipate doing a good job so that I can have a sense of pride, and it’s always fun to see my friends smile when they are proud of themselves too.
What do you enjoy about Positively Arts?
NOEMI: I enjoy all the opportunities that Pilita gives us to perform, she’s truly creative and comes up with fun things that everyone loves participating in! All the different classes there are to choose from, it’s overwhelmingly amazing! The people, the teachers, the knowledge, you never know how much you can retain from these classes. I’m so grateful for my scholarship and that I can take advantage of it so that I can experience every single one of these cherishable opportunities. I have made so many friends during my time here at PA and it is in my plan to keep going so that I can meet even more kind and loving people!!
Did you have any experience performing before joining PA?
NOEMI: Yes! Oddly, I acted more often than I sang, but everyone at Positivley Arts taught me majority of things I know about performing and technique. I acted and did Jr MTI shows at Broadway Kids Academy and Seedling theater. I also had a vocal coach around the age of nine! Her name was Emelie Moutlon, and she taught me the basics of singing. Solfedge, diction, crescendo, rhythm, and we had a lot of fun during lessons. I love my current vocal coach who I’ve been with since 2020, and her name is Britni. I switched to her around 10 or 11. She helps me prepare for all my performances, and she teaches me all the cool techniques, skills, and hacks that I know today! I’ve had various experiences prior to Positively Arts!
What are some of your near-term goals?
NOEMI: My goal is to score a role and get a callback from a casting director so that I can get my foot in the door, and start off my professional acting career. I was signed by my agent in September of last year, and I’m so grateful for him. He’s helped me so much in finding auditions and I can’t wait to land something and take off so I can launch my future!
Do you want to continue performing in the future?
NOEMI: Of course I do! The arts are my passion and my safe space. Whether it’s singing, acting, playing an instrument, or dance! Even though I am not a professional at these yet, I hope that I can progress in my journey so that I can show everyone how great I am! I may not be the best, but I believe that if you manifest the best for yourself, you can achieve the impossible. Remember, confidence is key!
Are there any challenges that you have faced, but you were able to overcome?
NOEMI: Over the summer I had flat foot surgery. It was challenging mentally, physically, and emotionally. I was bullied at school, and felt like everyone was always staring at me! I eventually got over the sensitivity and all the unnecessary comments made by kids at school. I stayed strong and got through it. Singing was something that helped me! It always helps me feel better when I sing, if I’m in pain, sick, or having a bad day. Singing and Positivley Arts put a smile on my face during hard times.
Whats the best advice someones given you for performing arts?
NOEMI: Don't ever stop. If performing is your passion, the worst thing you can do for yourself is give up.
Congratulations, Noemi, on being student of the month!
Izayah is a 9-year-old singer and actor who joined Positively Arts after a mock audition class for all kids who were trying out for Matilda the Musical with Super Summer Theatre. Izayah started preforming with Green Valley Baptist Church in 2018 for Children Choir Christmas Performance under the instruction of David Simpson. In June of 2019, he joined Seedling Theatre Company and was with them from June 2019 - January 2022 having many roles including Mowgli (Jr Jungle Book), Shrek (Jr Shrek) and Nigel (Jr Matilda). Knowing dance is a very important, he started taking dance classes in Oct 2021. Izayah will perform in my first musical Ballet this coming Christmas season.
Rylin Kohl is a 12-year-old singer and actress who has been with Positively Arts for three years. Her recent accolades include being named as Las Vegas’ 2021 National Anthem Winner and 2022 Judge for the NBA Summer League, as well as appearing as Jane Banks in the Super Summer Theater production of Mary Poppins this past July.
You can find Rylin on the stage at community events and festivals around the valley, including First Fridays at the Arts District, charity showcases and fundraisers, and performing the National Anthem at sporting events. She has appeared on several stages and screens for plays and zoomsicles, commercials, local news programs, vocal competitions, animated videos and more. With a passion for performing, she began singing in front of crowds at the age of 9 and has been honing her skills ever since.
You may recognize Ella from last year’s Get Launched Vegas or from her original song, but you might not know that this gifted artist is also devoted to service and family. Ella donated her time this summer to teach at our Whitney Ranch Page to Stage Summer Camp and has also been a wonderful consult to our Founder and CEO, Pilita Simpson, for several other programs. She was also just selected from a huge pool of candidates to join the first ever IAN Center Fellowship Program where Ella is working with a creative team to design and reimagine innovative learning spaces. During this program, she will also write and record her own song and music video, not only performing in it, but directing, filming, and editing the entire project! We are so proud of this young lady and her desire to give back and better the community around her is so inspiring! Make sure to support Ella in this year’s Get Launched Vegas - Live Audition Rounds Saturday, August 27th & Saturday, Sept. 10th at our new Positively Arts Playhouse Studio!
Raquel Anne joined Positively Arts over two years ago, taking private scholarship lessons with our amazing voice teachers, Amanda Kaiser, and later Aja Wilson, and then diving right into every program we’ve offered! Her hunger to practice, participate, engage her fellow students in positive thinking, and her quest to learn as much as she can is why we’ve selected Raquel Anne as May’s Student of the Month! Not only is she one of the first ones to support her friends if they’re struggling, but she is active in her volunteer efforts, representing and hosting for Positively Arts whenever possible. She has been a production assistant for last year’s Get Launched Vegas series and hosted our online Stay Positive episode! In fact, you can catch her hosting again for us at Art Fest this Mother’s Day at Water St. Plaza Amphitheater from 3pm - 4pm. Entering our Positively Leaders program next month, she’ll be assisting Ms. DeLee and Ms. Pilita at our Whitney Ranch summer camp from May 31st - June 24th. We are so proud of Raquel Anne’s passion and pursuit of her dreams! Never stop learning and reaching for the stars!
Sriya Wint is April’s Student of the Month because she has challenged herself and continues to learn new skills without hesitation, all the while being a leader to her peers during camps and classes. In fact, Sriya was chosen to be one of the two students to interview Bill Medley and The Righteous Brothers because of her committed work ethic, kindness, and compassion for others. She is currently taking singing, dancing, and acting classes with Positively Arts, working on her dream of becoming a well-rounded performer who appreciates all aspects of the performing arts world.
Despite her full performing arts training schedule, she is also maintaining high academic grades as well, using her time management skills wisely. Sriya has been taking piano since she was 6 and often receives superior or superior + in competitions. She plays drums with her school band and is learning ukulele and guitar. In 2021, Sriya won the Nevada State Spelling Bee and proudly represented the state in The Scripps National Spelling Bee at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida, and was broadcast on ESPN3.
When’s she’s not being hilarious and insanely kindhearted to others, she’s working towards being the first female President of the United States, who is sure to fill the Oval Office with song!
You may not recognize Mari, even if you’ve come to the last few performances, and that’s because Mari was the first Positively Arts student to join our “Backstage Crew” last year for our Holiday Festival at Water St. Plaza Amphitheatre. Interested in how production shows work from the other side of the camera, Mari donated her time to help stage manage our Holiday show last year. She got to meet the backstage techs and crew of the Amphitheatre and shadow them during the show. Not only did she help keep our kiddos running in order, but she also helped them calm down when their nerves got the best of them! When it was time to put together our first original musical, Mari was one of the first to donate her time AGAIN to help us with the production side. Joining her fellow student Stage Manager, Chloe Perez, Mari and Chloe are ensuring that our musical goes off without a hitch! We are so thankful for students like Mari who go above and beyond to help their community while pushing themselves to be forever learners, grateful for every opportunity presented to them. If you see Mari at Super Summer when you come to see our shows on March 12th or 13th, make sure to tell her what a great job she’s doing!
Thank you, Mari!!!