Joely Castillo (Children’s Aid Society)
My name is Joely Castillo and I was born in Manhattan. I was raised partially in Ohio and partially in the Dominican Republic. I’m moving to North Carolina in September, but currently live in Washington Heights. In the Heights was actually the first musical I ever saw. The salon scene is very accurate to the real Washington Heights! I’m going to North Carolina to finish my senior year in high school and I’ll hopefully come back for college here. I’m thinking about attending NYU, or maybe doing undergrad at a smaller school like City College and then going to grad school at NYU.
I first came to Children’s Aid Society about twelve years ago. I’ve been in the same chorus ever since then. I started it in an after school program in elementary school. When they first put me in chorus, I cried about it because I didn’t want to be in chorus, but then I stayed in it for over twelve years! I love the chorus. It’s my way of meditating. It’s sort of my release, my unwinding time. Most people go to bars or something, but I go to chorus! All the girls in the chorus are super close. Some of us have been there for a longer time, some of us have only been there a year or more, but we grow on you super quick, whether you like it or not. We just take you in! Kelly has been our chorus teacher for the last five years. She’s amazing. She has a really good way of having you visualize the way you should be singing. She paints a picture of the music, so it’s really easy for me to catch on. I love that.
In the future, I hope to not have a 9 to 5 with a family and a picket fence. That’s not my idea of life. I want to just venture and find my way through things and see what I like. I want to travel to Brazil, and am thinking of the Peace Corps. I don’t want be that person saying, “Oh, I wish I could’ve done that when I was twenty years old.” I want to do everything and maybe settle down sometime around thirty or forty.
I’m super excited about The Tempest. I’ve been watching Shakespeare in the Park since I started chorus. So to be actually performing up there is really honorable. I’m very excited.