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First-years look forward to campus arts opportunities

We rarely get to know our new Brandeisians until the first few months of the new semester have flown by. I interviewed some of our newest students about their relationship with art.

Meet Zach Gordon ’19, who loves all kinds of art. “I think with art the walls we so often put up in the day-to-day come down,” he said in an interview with The Brandeis Hoot. Hailing from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Gordon was previously involved in marching band, wind ensemble, jazz band and even played in the pit for his school’s production of “Footloose.” He’s mostly looking forward to the art community at Brandeis and all the opportunities he will have here. Of course, Gordon is looking to get involved in music some way or another. “I’m not quite sure how specifically, but there’s absolutely no way I’ll stop playing,” he stated. One thing he will definitely do is to check out the singing groups and drama on campus as he has never gotten the chance to try out. “That’s one of the best things about coming to Brandeis I guess: trying new things,” said Gordon. The “Orphan Black” fan can’t wait to see what Brandeis has in store for him over the next four years.

Joining Gordon is Hannah Lee ’19, who comes from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, which is about half an hour away from Brandeis. As far as TV shows go, Lee loves thriller cop shows such as “Criminal Minds” and “Law and Order: SVU,” but she also enjoys watching “Family Guy.” As with many people, she will listen to any music—her favorites range from Tchaikovsky to Taylor Swift. For Lee, art gives her the chance to escape reality and its problems. “The arts and performing make me feel a lot of things, but for the most part, they make me feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, as corny as that sounds,” she admitted. As with Gordon, Lee was extremely involved in her high school’s music scene. She either performed in or helped with costumes for at least 10 consecutive plays and four musicals. Additionally, she played bass for the school orchestra and jazz band as well as being involved in multiple school choirs. Unlike many students, Lee also wrote songs for her classwork instead of doing traditional papers. “I became somewhat notorious after my ballad about cellular respiration became viral in the science wing. I’ve since covered topics such as ‘The Great Gatsby,’ ‘Brave New World’ and how different types of body tissue repair,” she recalled. Lee is looking forward to too many things at Brandeis to count, but in terms of the arts, she is definitely the most excited for the 24 Hour Musical. “I guess my game plan is to be open to all sorts of opportunities, and to give my all to whatever it is I’m doing,” she said.

Another new face is Salena Deane ’19, who describes herself as having more of a shy personality. “Art has definitely allowed me to break out of that mold a little bit,” she said. Acting, specifically, has really changed Deane’s life, as she was involved in her school’s drama club all four years of high school. “The best way to explain what acting does for me, as a person, is to say that being someone you’re not, delving into a character and embracing their life, whether real or fiction, even for just an hour or so, can make embracing and being confident in my own life and self a lot easier,” she explained. She loves to make people laugh and drama enables her to do this. When she acts and writes, she feels appreciated and respected, even if she is not center stage or a headliner. Deane did get her time to shine this past year in her high school’s spring musical, as a supporting character in the production of “Anything Goes”; the musical eventually won Best High School Production in Massachusetts at the MET awards. “As I did in high school, I would like to continue involving myself in the performing arts community, whether it’s on or off stage. I’d also like to find myself as a writer, as cliche as it sounds, and hope I’ll have the time to write more and more during the year,” said Deane. When Deane starts her time at Brandeis, she wants to take ballroom dance classes as well as make new friends in the arts community

Our final first year is Yair Koas ’19, who was born in Israel, moved to Australia when he was 2 and moved to New York when he was 5. Koas was involved in theater as well as TV shows and film. His most recent role was Grantaire in a production of “Les Miserables” that was showcased at the Long Island Children’s Museum. He was also Athos in “The Three Musketeers.” Koas has also acted in many professional community theater productions. “At Brandeis, I’m looking forward to being involved with the community in all sorts of different clubs and activities, and discovering some new passions and interests,” Koas said. “I would like to be involved in theater productions. I’ve also heard about the 24 Hour Musical, and that sounds like an incredible and unforgettable experience.”

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