Photo by Sophia Phillips
Memories from melodies
The lights slowly dim. The audience’s chatter slowly mutes. All eyes on you. Nicole Rogus, senior, experienced this when she sang at the one and only Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Rogus was invited to sing at the world-famous hall after winning a nationwide competition: the American Protégé Vocal Competition. Singing and acting since the fourth grade, Rogus’ accomplishments have positively impacted her high school career.
One of her many achievements is singing at Carnegie Hall over spring break after being one of the many winners of a nationwide competition. Rogus explains that she auditioned but, “didn’t expect anything from it.” However, Rogus’ success was not a surprise to others.
“I was not surprised when she told me she won,” Nevaeh Bos, senior and Rogus’ friend, said.
At the competition, Rogus sang “Ah Love But A Day!” by Amy Beach because it “brought out her whole range.”
“I feel really proud. It was an experience that I [am] obviously so grateful that I had, […] it really made me inspired,” Rogus said. “It made me realize how much I love music and how much I want to continue with this in my life.”
Rogus’s most recent achievement is playing Elsa in Lake Zurich High School’s production of Frozen, since LZHS won a competition to be the first school in Illinois to put on Frozen. Rogus was extremely grateful and proud to be playing Elsa in the production.
“It’s been really amazing to be able to play Elsa, and being [part of] the first high school in Illinois […] to have this opportunity has been just so incredible,” Rogus said.
In the audition process, Rogus “didn’t really know what to expect,” but she was proud of her self-growth.
“Personally, I think it was one of the best auditions I’ve had, because it took a while from freshman year to build the confidence to fully show myself, my abilities, and what I’m doing, ” Rogus said.
This is Rogus’ last show at LZHS and according to Rogus, she feels bittersweet.
“I can’t even believe that this is my last show. I can remember being in Schoolhouse Rock as a freshman for my first show ever and now, this [is] the end of my high shcool theater career,” Rogus said. “I’ve developed my personality an myself so much, but it’s also really sad because it’s been such a wonderful experience that I just don’t want to leave.”
Rogus has made many friends through theatre in LZHS. Bos said that Rogus is, “like a ray of sunshine. Like you just see her and she makes you want to smile.”
Even further, Natalie Czarnik, senior and Rogus’ friend said, “Nicole is just about every good quality you could think of put into one.”
Rogus also sang the national anthem at the IHSA girls basketball finals at the CEFCU Arena at Illinois State University, because she did well on an audition for ILMEA.
“It was a really memorable experience and I’m just so thankful that like, by the end of my senior year, I got to do that, because it was always a dream of mine,” Rogus said.
Bos said singing the National anthem at the basketball finals was “another thing [she] was not surprised about. Honestly, [Rogus] works so hard, so everything she gets she deserves […] And she’s so talented.”
“She’s worked so hard. I’ve seen her at [her] ups and downs throughout high school. And she always knows that she can do better. […] So her finally getting an honor like that, she’s just so excited about it. And we’re all so happy for her,” Czarnik said.
Throughout Rogus’s high school career, she has excelled in theatre, choir, academics, and much more. In the fall of 2023, Rogus will be attending Northwestern University. Although she will be studying Neuroscience, Rogus still plans to get involved with musical clubs and activities.
“I don’t see myself necessarily […] doing [theatre] as a full time career […],” Rogus said. “But I never want to lose that part of me because it’s truly shaped me into who I am today.”