Meet the New West teen who's taking on B.C.'s best musical theatre performers

NWSS student Makena Thomas won top honours at the Coquitlam District Music Festival, and she's heading to the provincial fest in May

Singing and dancing all her life, Makena Thomas is New Westminster’s very own triple threat.

The New Westminster Secondary School student won the musical theatre category at the Coquitlam District Musical Festival at the beginning of March and will be accepting her award and performing this Sunday, April 7 at the festival’s honours concert. Thomas has also been chosen to represent the festival in junior musical theatre at the Performing Arts B.C. Festival at the end of May.

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Growing up, the 15-year-old said, her friends loved to dance and she hoped one day she would find a similar passion. She realized she adored singing at the age of four, when she could sing all the words to Disney’s High School Musical.

“I would just be singing all the time around the house, annoying everybody,” said Thomas.

She started studying musical theatre at the Lindbjerg Academy of Performing Arts at six years old and has studied there ever since.

In her first year, Thomas played Fauna, one of the fairy godmothers, in Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.

Nine years later, Thomas will star in the leading role in the academy’s Mary Poppinsproduction at the end of this month.

Although Thomas has performed in many shows and competitions, she still gets very nervous before performing. She combats her nerves by practising her lines and choreography until she’s reassured and confident.

Thomas has trained with music teacher Elaine Lindbjerg since she was six and just recently started classical voice training with New Westminster voice teacher Lambroula Pappas.

“It’s so fun to learn from professionals and people who have all that knowledge to offer,” Thomas said.

Lindbjerg, former owner of the academy, said Thomas is very easy to teach because she’s driven and has always been a bright student with a big voice.

“Some people could have vibrant personality, but when they get on stage they become almost introverted, but not Makena,” Lindbjerg said.

Thomas, who has also taken several acting courses, received a scholarship from the Vancouver Kiwanis Music Festival to attend the musical theatre summer camp Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance!

Thomas said her biggest supporters have been her parents, who have driven her to multiple shows, competitions and auditions across Greater Vancouver.

Thomas said because the music industry is demanding and competitive, her education is most important to her right now, but with opportunities to perform at the Kiwanis and Coquitlam music festivals, she still hopes to one day make her passion a career.

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