Artist of the Issue: Jane Park 

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Jane Park ’21 performing. Courtesy of Jane Park ’21.

You can catch her performing in dance recitals, singing postludes with the choir, and even composing original music– Jane Park ’21 is a multifaceted artist who is an active member of the music, dance, and theatre department at Groton.  A lead music prefect, open mic head,  a capella group leader, and choir prefect, Jane’s strong artistic presence on campus is hard to miss.

 

How did you get started in music and dance?

 

I started singing when I was pretty young (around kindergarten or so) when my grandparents sent me to singing lessons because they decided they couldn’t have another tone-deaf family member. Music has always been a big part of my life. Before Groton, I played the piano and clarinet for a couple of years, and the cello for over four years. I’ve also played the guitar since middle school and continue to do so now. 

 

Along with music, ballet was a huge part of my childhood. I danced up to fifth grade, two to three hours a day, six times a week. Although I quit after deciding that I didn’t want to dance professionally, I credit those years with teaching me discipline and persistence at a young age and for fostering my love of dance.

 

When did you realize: “I love doing this”?

 

In second form, I auditioned for Grotones (an all-female a cappella group before the co-ed Maqupellas was formed) and didn’t get in. I remember being really disappointed with myself, but I took singing lessons and performed in the recitals where Becky Zhang [‘18] discovered me. She told me that she was going to be one of the heads of Maqupellas the next year and that she wanted me to audition. Next fall, I auditioned and got in. 

 

I think that was when I realized that I really wanted to sing at Groton. For artists, recognition is important. It really reaffirmed my love for music when I received such positive feedback from Becky and then from the rest of the Groton community. At the same time, I want to tell younger artists at the school that you should practice your art even if you are not receiving recognition, because you may be talented and just not known well enough. Positive feedback will come once you have had time on the stage.

 

How are you involved in Groton arts?

 

I am one of the lead music prefects and one of the choir prefects. I am an Open Mic head and a Maqupellas head. I’ve done two songwriting/producing FSAs and will be doing a third one this fall. I often do postludes. I’m involved in the Guitar Project. I’ve been in several theatre productions and three Spring Dance Recitals.

 

Most memorable art moments at Groton?

 

The first one would be Legally Blonde. Besides being an incredibly successful theatre production, I bonded with so many people who became my family. I witnessed everyone in the theatre community showing off their amazing talents and it reminded me of why I love doing what I do. 

 

My second one was at an Open Mic in fourth form. I performed “Corduroy Dreams” by Rex Orange County, which has a whistling section in the middle. I didn’t know how to whistle, so I appointed Kate Clark [‘21]. In the middle of the song, I shouted, “Hit it, Kate!” and she stood up from her seat in the audience and started whistling. Everyone was startled and then started laughing once they realized what was going on. It was this moment of joy that represented the small happiness that art can bring. Performing doesn’t only have to be nerve-wracking or scary; you can enjoy yourself on the stage.

 

What is your favorite song to perform?

 

My favorite song to perform is “Saint Honesty” by Sara Bareilles. First of all, it is a musically great song. I can show off my voice in the belting bits in the beautifully waltzing melody while going at it on my guitar. Second of all, the lyrics, along with the melody, express the raw emotion of looking truth in its face. I think there’s real value to what Bareilles is trying to illustrate through the song.

 

What are your plans for the upcoming school year?

 

Right now, my main goal is to release an EP or an album by the end of my fall FSA. I also want to put together a virtual performance by the Maqupellas and host a virtual Open Mic since we can’t gather or sing together at the moment.