By Christina Stock
Usually, teachers approach me with their suggestions about a student that they see fit for the column “Young Artist to Watch,” which started four years ago in the Vision Magazine. Since then, we have covered singers, actors, painters and even a ballet dancer. Today, I want to introduce you to a young Roswell High School student with big dreams and a bigger voice.
Maya Campuzano came to my attention during her performance as Antonia in Roswell Community Little Theatre’s production of “Man of La Mancha — The Musical.” Campuzano showed an astonishing voice range that rang as clear as a bell throughout the theater when she sang, “I’m Only Thinking of Him,” together with her adult co-actors Randy Nolen (padre) and Candiece Runquist (housekeeper).
Her acting was just as fluent and showed a maturity that goes far beyond her age. The awestruck audience rewarded her at the end of the show with loud applause. The musical fans congratulated her when she stood in line with the cast to greet the audience — a tradition at RCLT.
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Campuzano’s father, Angel Campuzano, brought his daughter to the Daily Record for an interview.
Asked if she had voice training, Maya said that she had been training five years privately with RCLT’s music director Kathy Cook.
“My parents noticed that I was wanting to have a career in music, so they asked around and found out about Kathy for training,” she said.
Angel Campuzano said that he and his wife saw her talent when she was 4 years old. “Her sister is 12 years older than her, and they used to sing along,” he said. “She always did her best all the time, and we noticed that she picked up the songs really easy. Once on a Sunday, in Mass, we saw that there was a young kid in the choir at church that pretty much matched her voice. So we thought, ‘Well, why don’t we have her join the choir?’ and sure enough, they did really good together when they sang together. Ever since, she’s been in St. John the Baptist choir — for about five years, just as with Kathy.”
Maya isn’t looking to be a pop star, she said that she likes Broadway tunes, and a very unusual music genre for a young girl: “I like opera. I like the stories and the vocal range; it shows off what a voice can do,” she said. “My favorite opera song would probably be ‘Queen of the Night’ aria. I like it because it goes super-high. I happen to be able to reach those notes.”
Maya said that she had performed at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell Performing Arts Center in “The Nutcracker,” but most of the time she performs with RCLT. Asked why she likes RCLT, Maya said, “The community. It’s a very family-type of atmosphere, so there is no judgement.”
Maya already has a school picked out after graduating from Roswell High. She is hoping to get into the esteemed Juilliard School of Music in New York City.
Asking her father how he thought about his daughter’s big plans, Angel Campuzano said with a chuckle, “I feel a little pressure. I told her that I’ll go all the way if that is what she wants. She has my support. She is the last one (the youngest of his children), we can give her a little more. She is 12 years younger than the others.”
Asked how her siblings react to her singing and acting, Maya said, “They enjoy it. My sister is always asking me to sing.”
Maya said that her favorite class is English and that she just wrote her first song.
About her near future plans, Maya said, “I want to make it to Allstate, a competition in Albuquerque and then make it to Allstate through all my high school years. So I get more experience in music.”
Maya said she hopes to get more support for the arts in Roswell. “For Way Way Off-Broadway, for Neverland, for RCLT especially, so that more opportunities come for children that are into music and dance and acting. It helps a lot. Sponsoring, too and coming to the shows,” she said.
“I know we have a good stretch ahead of us, but we are willing to give it all,” Angel Campuzano said.