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#1StudentNWI: Must See HAPA Performances in March

Open Enrollment and HAPA Auditions

Recently, news got out that Wirt-Emerson Visual and Performing Arts Academy was closing its doors for the 2018-2019 school year. This leaves many aspiring performers without a performing arts school. Although the Hammond Academy for the Performing Arts had closed down open enrollment (a policy that allowed students from outside of the district to audition into the Academy), they have recently reopened enrollment.

In doing so, students from Emmerson, or any other school out of the Hammond district, will be able to apply and audition to become a part of HAPA. Although the Academy recently held auditions on Saturday, February 24, there will be a round of late auditions for those who apply.

The application process is simple. All a student has to do is fill out the application and get a letter of recommendation completed. Any information needed can be found on the HAPA website at www.hammondapa.com.

Save the date for Steppin’ Into Spring

The Spring semester is always a time of excitement for the HAPA dance majors. As they focus on their school work and attend their daily dance classes, they are also preparing for the upcoming spring dance recital.

This year Steppin’ into Spring has a fancy twist to it. Act I of the show will mainly consist of student work by the eighth-period choreography class. To conclude the night, members of the HAPA Dance Ensemble and Jazz class will be performing Act II, which is heavily inspired by the 60’s music label Motown.

The dancers at HAPA will be working diligently these next few months to put together a stellar show. It is a must-see performance. Steppin’ into Spring will run on Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28. The performance will start at 7:00 p.m. on the HAPA Mainstage, located inside of Morton High School.

Student in the Spotlight: Feli Velez


Student-athletes are always an exceptional group of students both in and out of the classroom. Junior Feli Velez is a member of the Morton High School swim team and the track team. She is also a former cheerleader for Morton as well.

However, Velez differs from most student-athletes. Her involvement in the Morton Community does not end with being an active member of Morton’s sports teams. Velez is also an exceptional performer at the Hammond Academy for the Performing Arts. In fact, she is a vocal major and is involved in the HAPA Dance Ensemble. In doing so, she has performed in several dance performances at HAPA. Recently, Feli performed “Colors of the Wind,” from the movie Pocahontas at the annual HAPA fundraiser, Cabaret.

Currently, Velez is involved in the musical Sister Act. As the lead role of Deloris Van Cartier, she is excited for opening night. Despite being actively involved in extracurriculars and school, Velez has dedicated endless hours to vocal and dance rehearsals to be phenomenal on opening night.

Teacher in the Spotlight: Connie Pruitt-Alley


A major influence in the HAPA community is Connie Pruitt Alley. As the Vocal Instructor at HAPA, Pruitt-Alley plays an active role in the lives of the vocal majors. However, her influence also reaches out to other majors, seeing as how she is also sponsoring HAPA Student Council. The main focus of the HAPA student council is to organize events to unify the HAPA community. This is through organizing movie nights and other events for the HAPA majors to get together and mingle.

As a vocal instructor, she is constantly pushing her students and encouraging them to perform better each performance. At the recent ISSMA vocal competition, many of her students received gold medals for their performances.

Currently, Pruitt-Alley is involved in the upcoming musical, Sister Act, as well. The past few months she has helped direct the stage cast in learning all of the music, while also working with the pit choir.

What's ‘HAPA’ning?


Sister Act

Every year the Hammond Academy for the Performing Arts performs a musical for the public. Past productions include Cats, Cinderella, and Scrooge: The Musical. Everyone is ecstatic for this year’s musical, Sister Act.

Back in December, the Hammond Academy for the Performing Arts held auditions for Sister Act. Not only did students from the Morton/HAPA community audition but two juniors from Gavit High School, Chloe Flanagan, and Kathleen Reyna, auditioned as well.

On December 18, the cast list was revealed. Among the many Morton student’s names appearing on the list were Flanagan’s and Reyna’s. The leading role of Deloris Van Cartier will be played by Junior Felicita Velez, Mother Superior will be played by Georgina Tyderek, Sister Mary Robert will be played by Senior Kazzandra Ferratt, Sister Mary Lazarus will be played by Mallory Martinez, and Sister Mary Patrick will be played by Shauntell Harris.

The past few months have consisted of extensive vocal and dance rehearsals for the cast. Sister Act opens during the second week of March. Performances will be on the Fridays and Saturdays of March 9,10, 16, and 17 at 7:00 p.m. There will also be Sunday Performances on March 11 and 18 starting at 2:00 p.m. All performances will be on the HAPA Mainstage located at Morton Senior High School.

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