Freshman Develops Own Unique Sound During COVID-19

by, Rose Brennan, Senior Writer

For Bronx native Bianca Perez, performing arts was always a cornerstone of her life.  And though she is only just beginning her tenure at Manhattan College, she certainly hit the ground running.

The freshman sound studies major got her start by singing in her church during her elementary school years.  This is a passion she’s continued at the college as a member of Music Ministry.  She is also a member of some of the college’s other choral groups, including Singers, Manhattones and Performing Hearts.

But singing isn’t Perez’s only form of expression.  After years of singing, Perez discovered the magical worlds of dance and theater performance in high school.

“I have sung for a long time, but I’ve been studying acting and dancing seriously for a year now.  I also play the ukulele and recently started recording my own music,” she said.

Like the rest of the world, MC performing arts ensembles are on pause for the time being due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  But for Perez, the coronavirus will not stand in the way of honing her craft.  She is writing her own music and continues to “perform” on her Instagram stories to make sure she doesn’t get rusty.

She is also taking online acting and dance classes, and while the pandemic causes grief in many aspects of daily life, Perez is finding joy in one thing it has given her: time.

“[I’m] studying up on my scales and chords of the ukulele, songwriting and audio recording,” she said. “Doing this really enhances the education I am getting at the school and I am happy to have the extra time to do so.”

Outside of performing arts at MC, Perez is involved in other programs.  She’s one of the first sound studies majors at MC, and she is also a member of WRCM, the college radio.  Unsurprisingly, Perez’s show was all about theater.  She would cover the latest news and other goings-on in the world of Broadway, and would even play music and hit songs from the shows corresponding with that week’s news.

Like every actress on her way to stardom, Perez has a dream role.  For quite awhile, she’s had her eyes set on Nina from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights.”  She was in the show last year, but as an ensemble member.

“I absolutely fell in love with [Nina’s] character,” Perez said.  “Although I was not ready to play her yet, I know my time will come.”

Perez has already found a home in the performing arts community at MC.  She also has some advice for people who want to get involved with some of the performing arts programs, but might feel uncertain.

“You should not miss the opportunity,” Perez said.  “Every ensemble on campus is so welcoming and makes you feel like home right from the start.”

She continued.

“Performing arts gave me a new set of interests I never knew I’d love so much.  Being a part of even one group can definitely make a difference in your life.”