Adriana Ripley (BM ’25) is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s in musical theatre at the College of Music.
Ripley—whose passion for dance, music and theatre arts began at a young age—was born in Guatemala to a Brazilian-American mother and a Guatemalan father. At CU Boulder, she exemplifies the College of Music’s universal musician mission by pursuing degrees in musical theatre, psychology and French.
She shares her favorite aspects of the College of Music and reveals the ways in which her music education is preparing her for a promising career:
What’s your favorite aspect of the CU Boulder College of Music?
Ripley: There’s a beautiful sense of camaraderie in the College of Music—people look further than the instrument someone plays or the role they are given, and love and appreciate the person behind that. While it’s true that the hallways are filled with the sounds of music that people enjoy making for themselves, students here accept and embrace the beauty of sharing music with one another as well. I’ve noticed a fantastic balance between drive for personal improvement and a love for the art form we’ve all chosen.
How does the College of Music support you in your professional endeavors?
Ripley: The College of Music provides me with curricular support. I’m acquiring practical skills—like business and networking techniques—beyond the musical aspects of my degree through the classes offered in my major. I’m learning skills that can help me get further in my career—even before I graduate and enter the workforce.
I’m also receiving stellar individual training from brilliant professors. Jennifer DeDominici, Andrew Garland and Mutsumi Moteki are the professors I work most closely with in my applied area of voice. The art of collaboration is valued here, making me a more well-rounded artist, giving musician and focused person.
There are many individuals here who share similar dreams to my own and who have supported me in pursuing my passion—a rare and cherished quality to find in classmates.
What upcoming project are you looking forward to?
Ripley: I’ve served as a resident artist in the Shedd Institute’s Contemporary Broadway Songbook Project since 2015 and have been closely involved with “Mija” since its creation the same year. I’ll be playing the part of Gabriela (Gabi) Milagros Mishel Armstrong in “Mija” for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s 35th Annual Festival of New Musicals in New York City, Oct. 26-27.
Inspired by a true story, “Mija” is a new bilingual musical about survival, identity and the complexity of family—it follows characters across continents, decades and generations. When Luisa leaves behind her sheltered life in the United States for Guatemala, she’s blindsided by a life-threatening pregnancy. In Oregon, Gabi aches for grownup life to start but first she seeks to uncover secrets the adults around her deny. The show provides a finely-crafted look at the relationships between mothers and daughters across different eras, capturing both the specific and the universal.