A Jill of all trades, Harper Lagares is the epitome of an aspiring young performing artist, dabbling in everything from acting, dancing to singing. Her favorite, however, is musical theater where she can put all of her talents to use at once.
She wasn’t one of those kids who were raised to perform from birth, but was instead introduced to musical theater when she first auditioned for The Jungle Book in the sixth grade. The next year, she landed the lead in her school’s production of The Wizard of Oz as the memorable Dorothy. “I was extremely challenged in the role because it was the first time I had been a lead in a musical,” she says. “It was incredibly eye opening and got me excited for all of things I could do if I continued to participate in the performing arts.”
Despite what some might consider a late start into the performing arts arena, it certainly hasn’t set Lagares back. Whether it is dance class, singing lessons or theater rehearsal, she practices seven days a week while still finding time to make her studies a priority. Just last year, she was awarded the “Break Through Performance Award” at Concordia for her role of Elsa Von Grossen Kneuten in the musical comedy Murders of 1940, which she categorizes as her most defining role yet as a performing artist.
‘The idea that art can connect with people on such a deep and emotional level is so beautiful’
Even with her accomplishments, Lagares stays modest and down-to-earth and enjoys the art for what it is. “I think one of the coolest things about the performing arts is that it’s generally non-competitive. Even when I go to festivals for theater and choir, there is no first place. You come together with other performers to appreciate each other’s art, not to compete.”
Her passion for performing arts is unquestionable as she explains the impact it can have on people’s lives: “What inspires my love of performing is the way that theater, music and dance can impact people. I have been moved to tears by shows I’ve seen or songs I’ve heard, and I think that the idea that art can connect with people on such a deep and emotional level is so beautiful.”
While Lagares is still deciding whether or not to turn musical theater as a full time career in the future, she certainly wants it to be an important element in her life. She plans to pursue an arts degree while simultaneously working on a second degree in a more applicable subject such as education.
Whatever the future may hold for Lagares is uncertain, but this eleventh grader will certainly make her musical theater footprint at Concordia and beyond.
Harper Lagares is in Grade 11 at Concordia International School Shanghai.