Nicole Dencker Shows Off Talent at Paper Mill Playhouse

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Josh Axelrod

Nicole Dencker is a sophomore who participates in Concert Choir, Las Cantadoras, Select Choir, Sensations, and Repertory Theatre. But it seems this involved schedule did not include enough singing on a daily basis to satisfy her because she joined a prestigious outside chorus in Summit. This year the official state theater of New Jersey, the Papermill Playhouse, will be partnering with the active tenth grader’s ensemble for a collaboration that is sure to excite all musical-theater enthusiasts. As a member of this choir, Dencker and her fellow singers will act as ensemble members in the theatre’s current production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
Can you tell me a little bit about the Continuo Arts choir you belong to?
Continuo Arts Foundation is a program founded and run by Dr. Candace Wicke. This is an audition-only choir that provides many opportunities for singer of all ages. The choir I am part of is called the “Singers Choir” which is for high school girls. Other choirs in Continuo Arts are “Continuo’s” which is the high school boys choir, “Childrens Chorus” for elementary kids, “Chanticleers” for middle school kids, “Seniors Sing” for senior citizens, and “Civic” for adults. Also, there is a Summer Musical Theater Conservatory (SMTC) that elementary to high school kids can participate in. It starts in July and includes blocking, musical numbers and rehearsals for a show held at the end of the three-week program.
How long have you been part of this program?
This is my second year as part of the “Singers” choir, and I previously did two years in the SMTC program.
How did you get involved in this program?
I heard about this program from a friend who read about Continuo Arts in the newspaper.
Why did you decide to join?
I wanted to try something new and different, and Continuo Arts provides me with a lot of different experiences and opportunities to perform at a higher level. For example, I sang at Carnegie Hall last year with the Continuo Arts choir, which was really exciting for me. This choir has also been invited to perform throughout Europe, including a concert at the Sistine Chapel in Italy. It was the first time in history, that an American choral group was invited to present a concert there!
How often are rehearsals?
Normal rehearsals for Singers take place every Tuesday from 6-7:30 in Summit. When we are preparing for different performances, rehearsal schedules vary. For example, the Paper Mill Playhouse rehearsals for the “Hunchback of Notre Dame” are Tuesdays and random weekend nights.
As you mentioned, this year the choir is partnering with the Paper Mill Playhouse. What does this partnership mean for you?
It’s so amazing to be partnering with Paper Mill Playhouse in “Hunchback of Notre Dame” because it’s a Disney production, and Paper Mill Playhouse is such a reputable theatre group. As someone who loves musical theater, it is so cool to be able to be part of this production and to be surrounded by so many talented performers.
How is the show’s progress coming along?
The music is amazing and it sounds incredible! Everyone has been working extremely hard and has been so dedicated to making this production the best it can be.
How many musicals have you participated in?
I have been involved in about 10 different musical productions, including community theater and high school productions.
You’ll be sharing the same stage that stars like Bernadette Peters, Nick Jonas, Chita Rivera, Liza Minelli, and Kristen Chenowith graced. How does that make you feel?
Like performing at Carnegie Hall last year, I am ecstatic to have this experience and to be able to be on the same stage of so many talented and successful people.
Do you want to pursue a career in music or theatre?
I definitely want to do something with music and theater in my life, but I’m not sure yet what I want to do!