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Theater students attend Colorado Thespian Conference

Julie Estrada
WHS theater students pose for a picture together at the 2023 Thespian Conference. The students attended ThesCon Dec. 7- 9.

Theater students at Windsor High School took a trip to Denver for another year of the Colorado Thespian Conference (ThesCon) this December.

What exactly does the conference entail? “So, ThesCon is four to five thousand theater kids in downtown Denver,” theater teacher Julie Estrada (staff) said.

ThesCon is full of many different events, one being a student performance section called Individual Events (IEs). Leah Gilmore (11) and Opal Schlessman (12) performed both together and on their own during the conference earlier this month. “I performed my solo and that went pretty well. I got excellent scores from my adjudicators. And then I had a duet with Opal Schlessman and we also got excellent scored from the adjudicators,” Gilmore shared. 

Gilmore and Schlessman went through a length process to create their IE duet. “So we picked our duet at, like, the end of last school year — like beginning of summer — and then we just both learned our own individual parts by ourselves. We didn’t actually put it together until school got in and then we just practiced at school, like, during lunch and a couple times during class. Then we just solidified everything and went out and performed it,” Gilmore shared.

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The duo also tried to involve others in their practices as possible. We just worked on the song any chance we could get and kind of also used some of our other friends to help us, like, figure out what to do for blocking and acting,” Schlessmann said.

Leah Gilmore (11) sings during her duet with Opal Schlessman (12) at ThesCon. Gilmore and Schlessman worked on their duet for ThesCon since the 22-23 school year ended. (Shyre Hodson)

IEs aren’t just duets and solos. “Essentially they can perform a monologue, a solo song, a duet, there are group songs, one acts, you can do even tech things. So there are students who do, like, costuming for their productions and they bring all of their materials and pictures and things,” Estrada said. 

Along with IEs, ThesCon offers other events and classes. “We have the opportunity to go to, like, workshops with professionals, college professors and people in the business,” Estrada said.

Gilmore has big goals for the future, and she hoped that one workshop she attended would help with this: “Other than doing my performing and stuff like that, I went to a workshop, which is the STO workshop,” Gilmore said.

STO stands for Student Thespian Officer. “The Student Thespian Officers, you can apply every year and you can become part of the people that run and organize the whole event. So I went to that and they told me how I could apply so I can become an officer,” Gilmore shared.

Gilmore looks to apply to become an STO at next year’s ThesCon. “If I apply and get picked to become an officer, they pick 10 people. They help run fundraisers for the event and they help raise money at the event. They go around and they pretty much represent the convention overall,” Gilmore said. 

The conference provided unique opportunities for students to get recognized and plan for their future. “There’s a whole area with colleges where you can actually do senior auditions where you can be seen by all the colleges and get callbacks. We didn’t have anyone do that this year, but I have had people do that in the past,” Estrada continued. “It’s not just ‘Hey, let’s go have fun in Denver for theater,’ but it’s also the next step.”

ThesCon is a fun event for students involved in theater. “I honestly like just being able to hang out with people that also do theater,” Schlessman said.

After all, having that many students together who love theater can only go well, right? Gilmore said, “It’s pretty much like a theater vacation.”

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About the Contributors
Leah Bacon
Leah Bacon, Reporter
Leah Bacon is a junior at Windsor High School who hopes to be a kindergarten teacher in the future. She likes to work with kids and play soccer.
Shyre Hodson
Shyre Hodson, Reporter
Shyre Hodson is a junior at Windsor High School with a passion for writing! She is involved in the after-school theater program as the assistant director. She aims to be in the film industry after her academic career.
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