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Music Theatre

Student Voices

  • Noelle Jay '19

Noelle Jay ’19


Arlington Heights, Illinois


Music Theatre



Favorite spot on campus

“My favorite spot on campus is the dance studio. I always feel at home there and I can really be creative in that space. I love going to the studio on my own and working on my technique or choreographing a piece. It’s a great space to be the truest version of yourself.”

Noelle Jay came to Carthage for two reasons: The small class sizes, and opportunities to grow as a performer and a person.

As a student, Noelle is majoring in music with an emphasis on music theatre, with hopes of having a performance career and one day opening her own dance studio.

“Any major in the fine arts is rewarding,” Noelle said. “Doing something you love and are so passionate about can be scary because of the unknown, but you have to remember to trust yourself and know that a life in the arts will be one of your greatest joys. Being a music theatre major has helped me in so many different areas in my life. Take a chance and do what you love.”

Career goal

“I hope to have a performance career and eventually open my own dance studio.”

Favorite professor

“Having Elena Batman as a voice teacher has been a blessing in my life. After every lesson, I feel like I have grown as a performer and a musician. Her knowledge of the voice is incredible and I feel like I am learning so much. I am grateful that I get to work with her. I feel my voice getting stronger and I am also growing as a person. She has changed me for the better.”

Favorite class

“My favorite class at Carthage is Movement for Singers. In this dance class, we learn choreography to Broadway songs and perfect our technique. The energy in the room is fantastic, and I always look forward to going to this class. I definitely work up a sweat, but I leave feeling accomplished.”

Toughest class

“My toughest class at Carthage was Music Theory (MUS 1010). I never studied music theory while I was in high school and the concepts were very new to me. Even though this class was difficult, I feel like I have a better understanding of music in general and it helped me become a better performer.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I was accepted into the Open Jar Institute in New York for the summer of 2016. This week-long music theatre intensive taught me so much about the industry and I got to learn from actors and choreographers on Broadway! I also traveled to China with the Music Theatre Program and toured the country with ‘Seussical’ and a cabaret we created. Both of the experiences were incredible and I am so thankful that Carthage offers opportunities like this!”

Campus involvement

“I am in the Carthage Treble Choir.”

Favorite moments at Carthage

“My favorite memory was opening night of the J-Term musical ‘Young Frankenstein’ in 2016. The excitement backstage was electric and we put on a great performance. Getting to work with that group of people was amazing and I will never forget the feeling I had that night!”

Biggest surprise so far?

“The biggest surprise for me was how much one-on-one time I would get with my professors. I have a great relationship with all of my professors and I know I am learning so much from them!”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“My 8-year-old self would be impressed that I’m majoring in music theatre. I was very shy when I was little, and theatre helped me break out of my shell. I think my 8-year-old self would be proud.”

Advice for other students considering your major

“Always be present. Live in the moment and learn everything you can. Don’t waste a moment. Ask questions and challenge yourself. Also, it’s never too late at night to go to a practice room!”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2020), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $20,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 3 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …