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Coachella Valley Spotlight: $10,000 surprise grant for Musical Theatre University


Musical Theatre University was surprised with a show-stealing $10,000 check from the Coachella Valley Spotlight Grant.

“All the work you've done, and even in the beginning of COVID, and helping all the kids and families, we just wanted to help and whatever you're doing going forward, so this $10,000 is operational expenses for you," said Catharine Reed from the H.N. & Frances C. Berger Foundation.

Musical Theatre University is an after-school performing arts conservatory. It gives students in the Palm Springs Unified School District the chance to learn acting, singing, and dance at a professional level. MTU is a free program and is open to all students in PSUD. Classes don’t start until September 13, so the program still accepting students.

However, the learning goes beyond the stage.

“I think it's allowed me to like find who I am and the confidence in myself. And I think that's something that everyone needs," said Rancho Mirage High School senior Bella Oden. She's been in the program since eighth grade. “I’ve just been at this program for so long. And it's so surreal and I feel so proud of myself.”

MTU kept the show curtains open during the pandemic by safely producing the show Front Row Center which aired on KESQ while many people were still quarantined. The show continues to run every Saturday.

“I mean, usually I don't get calls about something that people like, I get them about something I don't like. And we get a lot of calls about this show that they love it. So it's great to keep it going." said KESQ general manager Jerry Upham.

The director of MTU, David Green, said the money will go towards their yearly three main stage musicals, bringing broadway professionals, and an all-original movie musical that they'll be filming all throughout the valley, and premiering at two local theaters.

The director of The Foundation for PSUSD, Ellen Goodman, said there are plans to welcome even more students.

“We raise money outside that budget so that David can expand and can impact many more kids like Bella. And so this money will really help to foster that expansion," said Goodman.

You can click here to help donate any contributions to MTU.




Coachella Valley Spotlight / Video
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Marian Bouchot

Marian Bouchot is the weekend morning anchor and a reporter for KESQ News Channel 3. Learn more about Marian here.

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