Charity, Chorus, and Courage: One Girl’s Performance at Prism

by Laura Chiu


The whispers fall to a hush as the amphitheater darkens. Slowly, the curtains pull apart, revealing about eight hundred audience members sitting below the stage, all of them brought to Freedom High School on a chilly Saturday afternoon for one reason: Prism. The unique, once-a-year show that draws together acts from all of the performing arts classes.

However, besides serving as entertainment, Prism has another, more charitable purpose: helping FHS’s homeless students. All of the money raised from ticket sales are used to help give them a chance to go to prom or grad night, which they might not be able to afford otherwise.

Backstage, in the chorus room, as one of the many groups performs on stage, 14-year-old Rebeca Salas, a member of Freedom High School’s chorus, anticipates her chance to shine in the spotlight. “I was excited and stressed,” Rebeca recalls. The pressure to not only perform, but perform well, was strong. “I was thinking about this one part of the song that we always messed up in,” she says, laughing.

Rebeca Salas at Prism.

However, Rebeca’s not alone in feeling anxious. “We were all feeling really stressed,” she says. “Before it was our turn to go, we talked to each other or played Uno.”

What seems like hours passes by before Rebeca and her group, dressed all in black, are called to the stage. They have about ten minutes to perform two songs, “A Winter Walk,” and “Siyahamba.”

“I felt really nervous in the first show,” Rebeca recalls, “but after that I was fine.”
The pressure to perform well was not the only factor in Rebeca’s nerves. “My mom and step-dad were sitting in the second row in the left side of the PAC,” she recalls with surprising accuracy. Having somebody she knows and cares about watching her made Rebeca feel pressured, but at the same time, it motivated her to put on the best performance possible.

Her nerves were for nothing. After delivering an outstanding stage, Rebeca only had one thing to say: “I’m relieved, but also tired because of the next concert coming up.” There’s no break for her or her group. Prism has three performances (1:30 pm, 4:00 pm, and 7:00 pm) and this is merely the first.

After finishing up the last show at 8:30 p.m., Rebeca reflects on her performances. “I think the first [show] was really good. In the second one, we weren’t really ‘feeling it,’ and the third one was the best of them all,” she states.

For Rebeca, her reward is nothing other than the satisfaction of a good performance and knowing that she was helping others. The show moved from group to group so quickly that the audience didn’t even have enough time to deliver some well-deserved applause.

As for Rebeca’s plans for the future? “Yes, I believe I am going to be a part of Prism next year,” Rebeca says. “I’m very excited because I know that it’s going to be a memory I’ll always remember.”