Though she is only a freshman, secondary education major Lexi Salerno of Long Island, N.Y. is already making waves in the Manhattan College performing arts department.
Like many musically-inclined people, Salerno’s experience with music began very early on.
“My mom is a pianist and a voice teacher, so I grew up in a really musical household, being exposed to various types of music,” she said.
Salerno had always been involved in music, but her devotion to it truly began at the age of 12, when she began self-training in opera.
Throughout high school, she participated in various women’s ensemble choirs at her school. She was nominated for both the “Most Theatrical” and “Most Musical” senior superlatives.
In addition to participating in performing arts at school, Salerno also cantored at her church, where her mother was the director of the music ministry.
It was actually through the church that Salerno found connections to MC. Originally, she had wanted to go to Pace University, but at the advice of her guidance counselor, she applied to one other school in the New York City area.
Once she received her acceptance letter, Salerno received an email about the performing arts scholarship and decided to audition. But according to her, her audition was a bit out of the ordinary.
“I sang ‘Batti, Batti [O Bel Masetto]’ which is a Mozart aria, which was in Italian,” she said. “It’s actually, I believe, 12 pages, and Andy [Bauer, director of performing arts] said he would stop me, but he didn’t!”
In order to maintain her scholarship eligibility, Salerno must maintain membership in at least two of the college’s performing arts ensembles. She chose to participate in the MC Singers and the MC Music Ministry.
Her participation in Music Ministry remains something near and dear to her heart, as it was how she began her musical journey.
“I grew up doing church-related music and I’m a cantor at [my home church], I sing for weddings and funerals,” she said. “And so I liked coming to a new place, starting a new chapter of my life, but being able to do something that I had done for most of my teenage years.”
Music is a large part of Salerno’s life, but it is not the only part. She is concentrating in history within her education major, and she spends a lot of time doing research on various periods of history. She hopes to one day achieve a doctorate in her field, likely with a specialty in European history.
“If I’m not asleep or I’m not in class, I’m probably researching history topics, organizing my thoughts to eventually write books. I try to stay motivated to work towards a career path,” she said. “The teaching aspect of it is really appealing to me.”
Nevertheless, like many performing arts students, Salerno still dreams of playing certain characters from her favorite musicals on the stage.
“I would have to say a dream role that I would have is probably either Kim in ‘Miss Saigon’ or Tuptim in a production of ‘The King and I,’” she said.