Broadway’s Nicolas King Inspires NDA Musicians with his Story, Talent

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Broadway’s Nicolas King Inspires NDA Musicians with his Story, Talent

Skylar Schultz, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

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Recently, Notre Dame Academy choir students were visited by a bit of celebrity. Actor and professional jazz musician, Nicolas King, graced the stage on Friday, November 8, to teach students about his time in the industry and his journey as a musician.

Nicolas King entered the stage at the ripe old age of four years old, starring in his first commercial. Nicholas continued performing in local, national, and even international commercials. One such commercial for Oscar Mayer Lunchables became so successful, it earned a Golden Marble Award in 1998 and landed him an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno at 8 years old.

Before he had reached 12, Nicolas had performed in three Broadway shows, including Beauty and the Beast in the role of Chip. However, he left the show when he grew too tall and was succeeded by a then obscure artist known as Nick Jonas.

Next, Nicolas began touring with his godmother and mentor, Liza Minnelli. They travelled the country from 2002-2012, and all the while, young Nicholas fell in love with the art of jazz. He has been pursuing a pin in the genre ever since, performing on telethons, the Tonight Show (again), and creating an album with Mike Renzi, titled “On Another Note,” which was considered for a Grammy in 2017.

A long time New Yorker, King had never set foot in Wisconsin until his visit that Friday. That likely would have remained the case for much longer, if it were not for some wonderfully talented Wisconsinites.

“My former student, Julio Reyes, met him at Birdland in New York,” said Christine Salerno, NDA choir director. “He and his friend, Mike Underwood, the drummer, asked Nicholas if he would come and do some things in Wisconsin.” Reyes had been Salerno’s student between 2011 and 2013. He was “a good student,” according to the teacher, and played professionally with her on occasion.

“Julio got ahold of me and said, ‘Hey, we wanna come over and do a little thing at your school.  Can you guys have us?’ and we said ‘Yes!’” recalled Salerno. At the clinic with students, King performed with Reyes and Underwood for choir students and interested performers alike.

“I thought it was a very cool experience to talk to someone who went through the experience of the audition process from a young age,” said Ellen Meeuwsen, senior and musical theater veteran. “It was really inspiring because he told me to follow my dreams and go after my ambitions.”

“I thought it was pretty inspirational as well,” recalled Emilie Chamberlain, Class of 2023. “I could tell that he was really passionate about what he did ,and he obviously got to do something in the arts for a career, which is something I kind of want to do. It was cool to see someone actually accomplish that.”

All parties left the event with a smile on their face. Even Nicolas himself expressed excitement at visiting Lambeau and trying cheese curds. 

“I thought it was just a great opportunity, and I’m very grateful for it,” said freshman Emily Hoeppner.

 

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