The Katherine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center has announced Old Saybrook High School seniors Maggie Maselli and Timothy Thomas as the recipients of the inaugural Kate Scholarship for 2020.
The scholarship was created in honor of The Kate’s 10th anniversary and recognizes high school seniors who live in Old Saybrook and demonstrate a passion and participation in the arts.
Maselli, who will be pursing a double major in physics and music at Hamilton College in the fall, said that winning the scholarship was recognition of the hard work she had put in over the years for a variety of groups and productions.
“I don’t just focus in one area of the arts. I play the French horn, I dance and I do theater,” said Maselli
According to Maselli, her love for the arts started at just two years old when her mom enrolled her in dance classes. In preschool, she performed for the first time in a production of “Annie.”
She has studied several styles of dance, including two ballet techniques and she has performed in a number of productions.
“What really made me stick with theater was when I was in third grade, our high school did a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” and they needed third graders to be the little kids in it,” she said. “It was so exciting, and it was so much fun to be a part of this really big production.”
Maselli later choreographed numbers for “Beauty and the Beast,” “On the Town” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” in productions by the Old Saybrook High School drama club.
In fifth grade, with the support of her elementary music teacher, she began playing the French horn, despite it not being the typical instrument most students choose to play.
Maselli played the French horn through high school and participated in the Old Saybrook High School pep band and Shoreline Youth Symphony. She also attended the Southern Region and New England Festivals, as well as participating in the Gold Chorus, Treble Choir and Chamber Singers.
Likewise, Thomas said that he started early, as a toddler trying to play his older siblings’ violins.
He studied ballet and tap dance, but discovered his love of singing in elementary school, performing as part of the Goodwin Elementary School special choir at the opening of the Kate.
For Thomas, theater is a form of self-expression.
“It’s just a whole other way of expressing myself that I don’t usually show. It’s a side of me that I am not,” he said. “I really throw myself into my character and then express them as well as myself.”
In seventh grade, Thomas was accepted to participate in a half-year program at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, NJ and he continued to sing with the large choir ensembles at Old Saybrook High School, including Men’s Chorus and Chamber Singers.
For four years, Thomas attended Csehy Summer School of Music in PA, where he has played in the advanced bell choir and sung in the select choir. Thomas also plays the piano, recorder, guitar and accordion and composes original music.
In middle school, Thomas performed in two of the local high school musicals and later in high school, he performed in a variety of productions, worked as stage manager and supported set production.
Thomas will be studying music education at Cairn University in the fall with the goal of becoming a music teacher.
He said that winning the Kate scholarship has helped reassure him of his career choice and the need for student loans.
“As someone who’s going to college for music education, teaching jobs don’t necessarily get a lot of money,” Thomas said. “I’ll need all the money I can get, especially to pay off those debts. I have less to really worry about and can focus a lot on making sure I do all my academics.”