Campus Celebrity: Sam Soprano

In between chemistry labs, Kappa Kappa Gamma meetings, working in the Admissions office, and keeping up with a social life, Samantha Soprano manages the largest student run club on campus: Marist College Dance Ensemble (MCDE).

Soprano was elected as the Vice President of MCDE in the fall of her sophomore year. In the spring of that year, she shadowed the current Vice President of the time, Deanna Clark, to learn more about the responsibilities she would take over once Clark became the President. “’Shadowing is a process that all prospective board members go through in the spring after they are elected, so that they can gain first-hand experience into what they will be asked to do the following fall, “ Soprano explains. In her junior year, Soprano acted as the sole VP of MCDE and was appointed as the President for her senior year. Soprano discusses many of the responsibilities she has as president including planning the show, calling the technicians, preparing the venue, coordinating with Student Activities to arrange ticket sales, and communicating information to the rest of the E-Board members and the club as a whole.

As described by Soprano, the most difficult part of being the president for MCDE is time management. “There is a certain timeline that we must stick to in order for the show and all of the rehearsals to run smoothly,” Soprano explains, “but working as the president for MCDE has really helped me to improve upon my ability to stay on top of everything going on in my life.”

Soprano’s hard work and dedication has truly paid off and choreographer, Amanda Whorlow, discusses how Soprano’s presence has increased the morale of the club entirely. “I really think she creates a warm, friendly environment that makes all club members excited about being part of MCDE. As president, she has gone out of her way to keep the club running as smoothly as it does and I, along with all of the other club members, am so grateful for that.”

This past semester, MCDE reached an astonishing 500 members. “I was shocked when I heard the number,” Soprano states. “It’s so exciting to see how many new members we received this year. There were a lot of senior choreographers who graduated in May, and I was so happy to reach a ton of new people this fall.” One of these new members is freshman, Alexa Antonelli, who explains how joining the club has changed her entire outlook on Marist. “Being a freshman with all of the transitions happening, it’s really hard to not get down in the dumps at times,” Antonelli begins, “but I can honestly say that dance has changed that for me. It was distracting in the best way and I met so many amazing people!”

During the upcoming spring semester, Soprano will continue to prepare the current Vice President, Marianne LaCalamito, to assume the role as president once she graduates. LaCalamito already feels as though Soprano has taught her so many valuable lessons. “When I first started on the E-Board, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Sam has taught me how to make the most of time here and how to stay on top of everything. I don’t know many people like Sam who can manage their friends, family, schoolwork, and have such a big presence in a club. It’s been really great to learn from her.” LaCalamito states.

Soprano and LaCalamito work together on various tasks to ensure a successful semester with the club including auditions; which occur at the start of every semester to decide which dances will be in the final showcase. Also, they frequently check their storage unit to stay up to date on the club’s inventory of club apparel, costumes and the like. Together, the two handle any issues that may come up. LaCalamito is both excited and nervous to assume the role as president when Soprano graduates. “There are so many responsibilities that come with the title, and I only hope that I can make sure everyone is happy and that everything runs smoothly.

Dancers, choreographers, and other E-Board members all look up to Soprano, and speak highly of the effect she has had on the club during her time as president. Antonelli recalls, “Sam and the rest of the E-Board were so nice and accommodating with everything, and you can tell that they are involved with MCDE because they love what they do, rather than feeling as though this is some obligation. Every single member just genuinely loves it, which gives the whole club a family vibe.” Whorlow reasserts this message by describing how her experience with MCDE was heightened when she was chosen to choreograph. “Sam has given me the amazing opportunity of being a choreographer for the past three semesters, which is an experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything,” she states. “Being a choreographer is definitely time-consuming, but Sam always keeps us informed and is always there to help us if we need anything!”

Soprano has truly enjoyed her four years in MCDE, and she finds her presidency to be extremely rewarding. “I didn’t anticipate how it would feel to see the show come together from this point of view, “Soprano begins, “I love seeing how all of the dances turn out and it’s a great feeling to know that I played a role in it.” As a whole, the supportive community of MCDE has enriched Soprano’s life and she loves seeing so many new faces each semester. She, like Antonelli, considers the club to be a family and already is looking forward to the showcase in the spring.