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Alisa Dondero: English Teacher

To Alisa Dondero, music was always the top choice. From piano to singing to musical theater, she has done it all when it comes to music.

“I don’t know that there has ever been a time where I wasn’t into music. It’s always just been my life. There was a part of my life where I thought it would be my life and that’s what I would pursue, and then I ended up changing things,” Dondero said.

Throughout high school, Dondero was certain that she would pursue music as a career. Her senior year of high school, she even did an independent study in songwriting. However, she soon realized that she did not want to have a career in music when visiting one the top performing arts colleges.

“I remember sitting in that room as I was listening to these people talk about being a ‘triple threat’ and being equally skilled in music, dance and acting,” Dondero said. “I remember looking at my mom and having this moment of, ‘oh my God, this isn’t what I want.’”
Dondero ended up pursuing an English major at Connecticut College and joined the Connchords, the same a cappella group as Gurry.
Music and theater still influence Dondero’s life and affect how she functions in the classroom.
“I think that theater has helped me in the classroom. There’s a comfort that I feel in being in front of a group of people that I don’t know that I would feel if I hadn’t had a background in theater,” Dondero said. “It doesn’t always make me feel super confident, but I think that it’s given me a level of confidence and comfort with students that comes from having been seasoned on the stage.”
Dondero’s favorite music memory comes from when she was teaching abroad in the Soviet Republic of Georgia.
“One night a bunch of us folks from the states were out at this Georgian restaurant, and they had this band playing and my friends convinced me to go up and sing with the band,” Dondero said. “So I picked the song and I sang in front of this whole Georgian restaurant and it was amazing. It was just this beautiful experience.”
Although music is not the biggest part of Dondero’s life anymore, she still tries to find time for it whenever she can.
“Music has always been a source of therapy for me, both playing the piano and singing. It’s always just been a source of comfort and expression and I think it always will be,” Dondero said. “I’d love to get back to it at some point, but right now I just don’t know where to find the time. So I sing in the car, I sing in the shower, I sing with my daughter, so we find it where we can.”

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