“I’m so happy I came here. The music program at CCM is phenomenal.”
Kelly Miller originally thought she would become a music therapist working in a clinical setting, not quite trusting that her singing abilities were strong enough for a career on the stage. Then as a student at County College of Morris, she enrolled in a class taught by Professor Marielaine Mammon, chair of the Department of Music, Dance and Performing Arts, and her world changed.
“Professor Mammon encouraged me to do what I really want to do – perform as a singer and become a teacher – rather than just what I thought I could do,” says Miller. “I’m so happy I came here. The music program at CCM is phenomenal and I’ve really gotten to develop as a performer.” Pictured here are Kelly (r) with Professor Mammom during rehersals for The Phantom of the Opera.
Miller, 20, discovered her passion for singing as a young child during her elementary school years. “I would rush home from school and listen to Celine Dion and Shania Twain and sing along with my little microphone.” In middle school, she got her first taste of performing on a stage in a school play. Her family also paid for her to take voice lessons. Yet she remained unconvinced of her ability to establish a career as a singer.
She originally had not planned on attending CCM. She wanted to attend a four-year university in New Jersey, but was unable to get into the college of her choice. Now at CCM, she is a member of the national honor society Phi Theta Kappa, taking an honors class in philosophy and has obtained a grade point average that her transfer counselor says could get her into any college she might want to attend.
At CCM, Miller also has had multiple opportunities to develop as a performer. She had the leading role in CCM’s production of Cinderella, performed as Dorothy Brown in Thoroughly Modern Millie and gained the role of Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera.
“I’ve gotten a lot of encouragement here from my professors to let myself go on stage – to let go of my shyness – and to get out of my box,” says Miller. “The professors here are extraordinary and very talented. They also really do care about you and your development.”
Her plans after graduating from CCM are to enroll at a four-year university either here in New Jersey or New York and to continue developing as a performer.
“Instead of paying big bucks at a university only to change my major three times, I was able to find out what I really want to do here,” she says. “I don’t think that would have happened at another school.”