Freshmen actually have talent!


Mackenzie Maney performing with fellow dancers from Milford Dance Academy during a jazz dance.

Taylor Manley, Staff Writer

Milford High School is stocked with talented students. Athletes and artists of all kinds fill the halls. One talent that seems to be in abundance at Milford High is the gift of music. Many students like to express their gifts through the bands, choirs and, most notably, the school musicals.

It isn’t uncommon to see juniors and seniors snag the lead roles, with some sophomores possibly landing more minor roles.

But, where are the freshmen?

With a bit of searching, the freshmen can be found in the chorus, where it’s nearly impossible to see, and hear, just how good some freshmen are.

Two of those talented but unrecognized freshmen are Mackenzie Manley and Kasey Julian.

Manley, 14, started out singing and dancing at a young age. “Dancing I started when I was three and I never stopped because I loved it so much.” Manley said simply. Her statement proves true, since she has performed in several dance recitals and competitions, winning awards left and right. She was even a featured dancer in the most recent musical at Milford High School, Bye Bye, Birdie.

Although dancing was a talent that Manley recognized she had since she was young, it took her a bit longer to come out of her shell and belt out a song. Grinning as she shared how she started, Manley laughed, “I started singing in the shower.” Ever since, she has started to emerge with a big voice for a 4-foot 11- inch girl. One of her first major performances was in a Christmas show with Milford Music, a local music store. Her rendition of “My Favorite Things” from the renowned musical Sound of Music scored her big points with the audience and their reaction gave her the courage to pursue her newly recognized talent of song.

Ever since then, Manley has relished in performing. Even though she gets jitters like any other performer before going onstage, Manley loves it. Her passion for the arts really came through when she described what exactly performing is like: “It’s just an incredible feeling to have the spotlight on you, to be able to be working with people who are as dedicated as you are.” She said. One of those dedicated performers that Manley enjoys working with is Kasey Julian.

Julian, much like Manley, began to pursue her talent in her early youth. However, she recognizes singing and acting as her top talents. She got her start in church plays and has progressed from there. Now 14, Julian has grown into a more skilled performer. One of her most notable performances was as the lead role of the Baker’s Wife in a Muir Middle School production of Into the Woods. Julian was recently in Bye Bye, Birdie as a chorus member and enjoyed every second of it.

Julian didn’t hesitate when she explained her favorite part of performing: “When you’re up there and the lights are hitting you and you’re in the spotlight, you know that they’re going to judge you but you don’t care because it’s something you really love,” she said. “It’s a really raw feeling.” Julian then continued to explain what her first love, singing, truly means to her. Julian described it as “taking who you are and showing it to everyone else.”

That couldn’t be more true. Julian admits to being very dedicated to singing, and Manley agrees. “She’s so dedicated to what she does,” Manley stated. “And you can tell when she opens her mouth how much she loves it.”

Both girls are very devoted to singing as of now and have even thought about a future in their arts. Julian mentioned her budding interest in a music school, such as Julliard, and admits to having interest in Broadway. Manley, on the other hand, thinks of her future a bit more realistically. “I don’t think it’s the most practical career choice, but I have thought about it.”

As Manley and Julian continue to think about where their voices may lead them, there’s no doubt that these up-and-coming stars will be making more prominent appearances in the musicals in the years to come. With bright futures ahead of them, these two freshmen look forward to displaying their talents for all to see. In the words of Mackenzie Manley, “Dance on!”