Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Senior Performing at Hersheypark

School of Visual and Performing Arts

Desmond Gray of Bellwood, Ill., a fine arts major at Southeast, will be singing his way into the hearts of visitors to “The Sweetest Place on Earth,” Hershey Pa.  Desmond will be performing in the award-winning show “The Milkmen,” a 25-minute show filled with tunes from yesterday and today that will be performed five times a day, six days a week throughout the summer 2009 season at Hersheypark.

“I’ll be a member of the ‘Barbershop-sounding’ quartet that performs in the show,” Desmond said. “I heard about the job vacancy at the Southeastern Theatre Conference, which is where auditions were held.”

Desmond previously held an internship as an administrative intern at Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the world’s largest organization dedicated to tap dance.  He says through this he learned just how small the theatre business is.

“People I met during the internship are now in touring shows that have been coming through Cape Girardeau,” Desmond said.  “Everyone knows everyone, and I love having those extra networking connections wherever I go.”

Desmond contributes his success, on stage and off, to Southeast.

“Since I’ll be receiving a liberal arts degree, I was able to brush up on a lot of skills and subjects that I may not have had in high school,” Desmond said.  “I was never into history and science in high school so therefore didn’t do my best. After taking science and history at Southeast, I was able to make up for all that laziness in high school.

“The highlight of my education experience came when I was enrolled in Choreography I and II last year. I think choreographing dance is one of the most creative and satisfying things you could do as an artist, and I appreciate the class and everything I learned in it. It was great!”

Desmond says his favorite moments at Southeast that have created lasting memories have come from performing on stage, whether it’s in a musical, play, or dance concerts.

Desmond, who is a member of the student theatre organization, University Players, says he likes to spend his free time acting, singing, dancing, choreographing, directing and anything else that involves creating and performing.  He also likes spending time in downtown Cape Girardeau and traveling.

“My favorite travel destination is Sydney, Australia,” Desmond said.  “Going to Australia was one of the most spectacular things I have ever done.  I experienced my world and habits flipped upside down and loved every minute of it. As a predominately English-speaking continent, many think Australia is just like the United States or the United Kingdom, but it isn’t!”

Desmond would like to pass the following advice on to future Southeast students: “College is an excellent way to get involved and try everything you could possibly want to try later on in life. Take advantage of that. Be active and volunteer your time in your respective major’s departments, and get your name and face at the front of your professors’ minds.  It will pay off.”