CHS Alumni Continue in their Arts Exploration


Photo Courtesy of Kristina Hann

Alumna Kristina Hann works on her music in a recording studio. Hann is currently studying Music at Belmont University.

By Sarah O’Brien, Arts Editor

All students take some form of art class at CHS, yet most do not continue once they graduate. The Observer has contacted a few recent graduates who have continued their passions in art after their life at CHS.

Adam Settlage

Adam Settlage graduated in 2014 and was a member of the show choir and participated in the plays, musicals and Blast. He is currently enrolled in Emerson College and is planning on majoring in musical theater.

“I go to Emerson college because all of the pieces of the puzzle just sort of fell into place at the right time,” Settlage said. “They had the perfect program for me in one of the best college cities in the U.S., and I got a scholarship that sealed the deal.”

Settlage credits his ex-choir teacher Carlos Barillo for pushing him to become a dancer.

“I was not a confident dancer or person when I came to CHS, but Barillo gave me the opportunities to dance and perform, which pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me what I loved to do,” Settlage said. “Beyond dancing though, all of the arts teachers really helped me grow into the performer I am today.”

Mackenzie Testa

After releasing her single “Pulling on my Heart Strings” during her sophomore year, the 2015 CHS alumna continued to sing and dance after high school.

For three months, Testa took classes at The Broadway Dance Center in New York City. She currently lives in Potomac and works with a producer to create her first EP, which according to Testa, will be a mixture of EDM and pop.

While in high school, Testa choreographed many dance numbers, including those for Blast. She has also performed with Showstoppers and has remained close to the friends she met then to his day.

Testa also credits CHS with helping her develop into the person she is today. “I believe the Arts program at CHS is one of a kind,” Testa said. “My experiences with the Choral Music Department and Blast are irreplaceable, and I think it is an awesome school for students like me with a passion in the arts.” Testa currently has three songs on iTunes “Free My Mind,” “Date Tonight” and “Pulling On My Heartstrings,” which also has a music video on YouTube.

Kristina Hann

Singer and songwriter Kristina Hann graduated from CHS in 2014 and is enrolled at Belmont University in Tennessee. Hann’s singing style ranges from rock to alternative to pop; her favorite type of music to sing, however, is country.

Hann performed in Blast and during her junior year, she won Churchill’s Got Talent by singing her original song, “Fly With You.”

“I did Blast all four years, and most of my favorite memories from high school are from those rehearsals, performing on stage and goofing off backstage,” Hann said. “There were days, especially when opening night was right around the corner, when we’d all be at school until nighttime and we’d all complain about it, but those were some of the most fun times I’ve ever had.”

According to Hann, she always knew that she wanted to perform.

“I knew from a pretty young age that I wanted to sing and be on stage,” Hann said. “But before high school, I don’t really think anyone took that seriously. People just thought I was a naïve little kid, and that I’d never actually pursue music, but Blast, Jazz and Churchill’s Got Talent really solidified those dreams for me.”

Hann is currently focusing her studies on Music Business with a Production emphasis at Belmont University.