November Artist of the Issue: Ryan Cannistraro ’21

Since he first stepped foot into the Kraft Theatre and B-flats rehearsal room, Ryan Cannistraro ’21 has used art to express himself and has contributed to our community. He says that, coming into Belmont Hill, he “had never done one play before, but he had a few friends at his old school who did theater and loved it. So he wanted to give theater a try.” During his time at Belmont Hill, Ryan took on several challenging roles, even performing as the lead in multiple productions, including This Is A Test, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, 15 Reasons Not to Be in a Play, and The Odyssey. He also has performed in numerous other productions at school from The Mousetrap, where he played a hilariously eccentric Italian man of unknown origin, to The Outsiders, where he performed solo in a multimedia production. Mr. DiResta, theater director, commended Ryan’s overall contribution to the theater program, describing him as a leader who “brings an enormous amount of thought, energy, and practice into each character…  creating real people of presence, power, comedy, and weakness, with strengths and flaws.” Mr. Conway, another member of the theater faculty, also noted that “Ryan’s efforts in helping build the theater program through his participation [were] fantastic.”

Besides his explorations in the realm of theater, Ryan spends much of his free time playing and creating music. Before attending Belmont Hill, Ryan played the piano for around four years before switching to the alto saxophone and then to the tenor saxophone. He also played in the middle school jazz band. Ryan ultimately wanted to try something new at Belmont Hill by joining the B-Flats, which had been recommended to him by his friends from the Class of ‘18; he has, since then, become a crucial member of the group. Around that same time, he started to teach himself to play the guitar. He currently participates in a group called “Plugged In” in Needham, in which a group of students coordinates with a Berklee alumnus and performs at a benefit concert at the end of the session.

Ryan’s future goal is to start writing some music. He noted, “Although I never really got too far, I did start brainstorming and playing some ideas. In the future, I would like to try to actually get some concrete songs down and have a repertoire I could even perform. I know I am thinking really far in the future right now, but I think that something like that could more easily come in college.”

As Ryan prepares to graduate from Belmont Hill, he looks forward to continuing his participation in several groups in college, whether it be various bands, an a capella group, or theater productions. Ryan also said that one of his goals is to start venturing outside of his comfort zone and start playing more diverse genres. The Panel thanks him for his contributions to our art department, and the Belmont Hill community wishes him the best in his artistic endeavors next fall.


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