Announcing the 2021/22 Trenton Arts Fellows

Tuesday, Sep 7, 2021
by Danielle Ranucci, TAP Senior Correspondent

Trenton Arts at Princeton is excited to welcome Gigi Pacheco, Andrew Kaneb, Hannah Bein, Lydia Gompper, and Wasif Sami as the 2021/22 Trenton Arts Fellows.

Each Trenton Arts Fellow will serve as the student leader for one of the four Saturday Morning Arts groups: Trenton Youth Dancers, Orchestra, Singers, and Theater. Fellows will also gather weekly to discuss issues relating to the arts and education.

Gigi Pacheco ’23 will serve as the student leader for Trenton Youth Dancers, working alongside TYD director Rachel Schwartz, faculty fellow Rebecca Stenn, and teacher partner Elizabeth Zwierzynski.

Pacheco is from Denver, CO, concentrating in sociology and receiving certificates in American studies and dance. She fell in love with ballet at a young age, training first at Colorado Academy of Ballet and then at Denver Academy of Ballet in classical ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz, and acrobatics. After spending a summer training with the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Company in San Francisco, she developed a passion for contemporary dance, improvisation, and choreography. These passions have inspired her to pursue the dance certificate at Princeton and to serve as the artistic director of eXpressions Dance Company and dance with the Princeton University Ballet. In addition to dance, Pacheco is interested in educational equity, mental health reform, and utilizing the arts as a practice of holistic care.

“I am particularly excited about beginning a mentorship program for TYD students, where coaches work one-on-one with dancers to explore and articulate their artistic goals and to support the dancers in their individual growth,” said Pacheco, who has served as a TYD coach for the past two years.

Andrew Kaneb ’22 will serve as the student leader for Trenton Youth Orchestra, working alongside TYO director Lou Chen, pedagogy fellow Magdalena Parlin, and teacher partner Joseph Pucciatti. His fellowship is being funded by the Gustavo Dudamel Foundation. 

Kaneb is from Cambridge, MA. At Princeton, he studies ecology and evolutionary biology, with a certificate in music composition. He began playing music on the violin in elementary school and has played in various youth orchestras prior to college. At Princeton, he played in Sinfonia for one year. Kaneb has also focused on composition and songwriting, and he recently took a one-year leave of absence to record original music. On campus, he is a vocalist in the Princeton University Rock Ensemble, and enjoys both performing and watching others perform. Outside of music, Andrew is passionate about the environment, and likes hiking and running.

“My vision for this upcoming school year is one in which we can all celebrate the joy of returning to live music and appreciate the capacity that music (and other art forms) has to connect us with one another,” Kaneb said.

Hannah Bein ’22 will serve as the student leader for Trenton Youth Singers, working alongside TYS director Mariana Corichi Gómez, faculty fellow Rochelle Ellis, and teacher partners Alan Wilkins and Daniel Hall.

Bein is from Riverside, CT, majoring in history and pursuing a certificate in vocal performance. She dedicates herself to the music community on campus, serving as the president of the Princeton University Glee Club and the music director of the Princeton Tigerlilies. Hannah also enjoys singing in opera and musical theater performances on campus. She is so grateful to be part of the TAP community and looks forward to watching the incredible singers in TYS continue to grow and learn this year. 

“I am most looking forward to finding new ways to help our students find their voices and build confidence as singers,” said Bein, who has served as a TYS coach for the past two years.

Lydia Gompper ’22 and Wasif Sami ’25 will serve as the co-student leaders for Trenton Youth Theater, working alongside TYT director Victoria Davidjohn, faculty fellows Jane Cox, Shariffa Ali, and Tess James, and teacher partner Felicia Brown.

Gompper is from Falls Church, VA, concentrating in history with a certificate in theater. She began performing in the sixth grade and has loved the stage ever since. At Princeton, she has worked as a costume designer, director, writer, and performer in productions through Theatre Intime, Princeton University Players, Triangle Club, and the Lewis Center for the Arts. Lydia returns to Princeton this year after a pandemic-induced leave of absence, which she spent writing novels and braiding challah. She is so thrilled to be joining the TAP team.

“I hope to have a fun, artistically adventurous year where every student is able to say that they learned new skills, broadened their love of theater, and simply enjoyed themselves,” Gompper said.

Sami is from Hillsborough, New Jersey, hoping to learn as much as he can about people, society, art, justice, and theater while at Princeton. He’s a graduate of the honors theater program at Somerset County Vo-Tech, as well as the academic program at Hillsborough High School. Wasif credits all the great teachers he’s met along the way for showing him what the arts can do for himself and for others, and he hopes to do his part to pass along the gifts of art-making: exploration, risk-taking, messiness, the list goes on. He’s beyond grateful to have this opportunity and can’t wait to spend his Saturday mornings immersed in a community of creation.

“I’m really excited to help create spaces where students can discover who they are through the art they create,” Sami said.