Senior year is full of many “lasts” far before spring arrives. In the first semester, there is the last first day at school, the last football season or the last homecoming.
For Vestavia Hills High School senior Sarah Kaye Carpenter, the experience is doubled as she also enters her final season as a student of the Red Mountain Theatre Company’s Conservatory.
As the holidays arrive, she will be preparing for her last student performance in the company’s annual Holiday Spectacular, a showcase filled with festive tunes to celebrate the holiday season.
Carpenter’s passion for performance was inspired at home, with her family.
“My mother was a musical theater major and she really inspired me to attend performances. Once I witnessed my first show, I quickly fell in love with it,” recalled Carpenter.
Carpenter is in her fifth year in the conservatory program and has been performing and participating in RMTC programming on-and-off for the past decade.
Her work with the conservatory goes beyond extra-curricular, creating the foundation for a future career in the performance arts. Participants train alongside industry professionals and devote an estimated 450 hours in rehearsal and performance each year.
When she isn’t gracing an RMTC stage, Carpenter can be found singing at the Diplomat Deli on the odd Friday night, or performing with the Vestavia Hills High School choir.
Through singing and musical theater, she found a way to build self-confidence and a belief in herself that helped her power through the highs and lows of adolescence.
“I’ve always struggled with anxiety and not quite knowing where I fit in, so it was very stressful for me at times,” she said. “The love and support I receive from my fellow conservatory members really helped me overcome those hurdles.”
All that she has learned she will take with her to the next stage, as she looks forward to studying music performance in college.
After spending the past five years working and bonding with her fellow ensemble members, the final Holiday Spectacular, an RMTC tradition, will feel bittersweet, she said.
“The stories portrayed in Holiday Spectacular are so special and nothing is close in comparison. The finale is my favorite part of the production. The connection you feel with everyone on stage and the audience is unlike any feeling ever experienced. I hope the audience takes away the sense of love and holiday spirit into their communities,” Carpenter reflected.
The show will run Dec. 6-22 and will feature a number of local performing arts professionals alongside Carpenter and her fellow conservatory students.
For more information, visit redmountaintheatre.org/holiday-spectacular.
– Emily Williams