A musician who looks to ‘provide as much safety and acceptance for everyone as I can’
Warwick Valley High School senior Ellie Hanson is a talented singer and musician who plays many roles both on and off the stage.
She is president of the Meistersingers, treasurer of the Wind Ensemble, vice president of the Debate Club, founder and president of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) Club and a member of the Drama Club and National Honor Society.
“I’ve always been a varied individual with a lot of different interests and passions and enough energy to go headfirst into all of them,” Ellie said.
Inspiring to young people
This spring, in addition to performing in the spring musical, “Songs for a New World,” at WVHS, she is again working as a student assistant for the drama clubs at WVMS and Sanfordville and Park Avenue elementary schools.
“Ellie is hard-working and dedicated to the elementary, middle and high school theater programs,” said Christy Brown, director of the Park Avenue musical. “Students like her inspire younger people to work hard.”
Ellie has been around music and theater for as long as she can remember. Her mom, WVHS chorus teacher Noreen Hanson, once told her that the first place they visited after leaving the maternity ward was the middle school chorus room.
An early introduction to the stage
“I was just born into the Music Department and into the Drama Club,” Ellie said. “My mom ran the middle school Drama Club, so when we were little she would always let my sister and I do little cameos in the shows. My first one was in “Beauty and the Beast” when I skipped across the stage during the opening number. It was my starring role. I was 5.”
Now, as a senior, Ellie enjoys working with younger students.
“I really like being able to help kids to discover new passions or even just gain a little confidence,” Ellie said. “If I can make their day a little better, if I can teach them a new skill or just give them a confidence boost, it makes me really happy.”
‘The magic of music’
Ellie started playing the clarinet when she was 7, using her father’s instrument. She currently plays first clarinet in the Wind Ensemble and has been named all-county for both clarinet and voice.
As president of the Meistersingers, she and the group are creating Disney princess sing-along videos to send to the elementary schools and to children’s wards at local hospitals.
“I’m very proud of the Meisters because we are amazing at bringing the magic of music and a little joy to a lot of people,” said Ellie, who has been a member of the group since her sophomore year.
Ellie plans to continue singing and playing the clarinet in college, but her major at Clark University will be Combined Languages. She’s going to study French and American Sign Language, with the goal of becoming a sign language interpreter and translator.
“One of my pet peeves is not being able to understand people,” Ellie said, “and so I just want to be able to be understanding and be able to provide as much safety and acceptance for everyone as I can.”
Ellie founded the GSA during her sophomore year as part of her mission to create a safe space for all of the students in Warwick. he wants to stress the importance of acceptance because everybody deserves to belong. She is also the Queer Youth Liaison for the Town of Warwick.