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M-CHS’ Clappe looks to inspire future fine arts performers

Montezuma-Cortez High School senior Zayne Clappe is joined by family, teachers, and friends as he signs his letter of intent to go to Colorado State University to join their Music Education program. (Courtesy photo)
Panthers drum major to pursue music education at Colorado State University

The passion for music has been a part of Zayne Clappe’s life since he was just a child. Now, he wants to share that same excitement with future generations.

The Montezuma-Cortez High School senior earned admission into Colorado State University’s music education program, where Clappe will learn to share his fine arts acumen with other aspiring musical talents.

Over his four years at M-CHS, Clappe landed a number of high-level distinctions among his various disciplines, notably being named to the Colorado All-State Choir.

While Clappe’s love for music and theater was fueled by countless sources over the course of his formative years, he credits his grandfather for guiding him in the direction. “He’s always been a big supporter in everything that I’ve wanted to be,” reflected Clappe of his mentor.

Under the guidance of band director Alex Mohr and Clappe as the drum major, the Panthers claimed second place in the Western Slope regional competition, and advanced to perform in the CSU-Pueblo Thunderbowl in the State Championships. Playing their production “Portrait of the Motherland,” the Panthers captured seventh place overall with a season-best performance.

However, it’s not the places and the trophies that Clappe will remember most fondly. “I’ve enjoyed the family that music provides,” said Clappe of his experience at M-CHS. “There’s nothing like going on trips together and developing those bonds with one another.”

“All of my teachers have given me the resources to help me grow as a musician,” added Clappe, “and they’ve been there for every question I’ve had to ask.”

The M-CHS senior also made his mark on the Ralph Vavak Auditorium floor, providing leadership and laughter for his fellow thespians and theatergoers alike. Clappe performed as the male lead, playing Bert from Mary Poppins, triumphantly bringing back live theater to M-CHS after postponements and cancellations hindered previous years of Panther performances.

Even though his sophomore role as Lazar Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof came to a crashing halt right at the onset of the pandemic, Clappe looks back on that production as one of his favorites. “I’m not sure if that experience would have been any different if it hadn’t gotten canceled,” said Clappe. “That group of performers continues to be some of my best friends, and the fun we had putting that performance together – there’s nothing to top it.”

The idea that music and theater is fraught with imperfection is something that Clappe not only embraces, but also encourages others to enjoy as well. “It’s OK to enjoy something and not be the best at it,” said Clappe. “The fine arts are so important to enjoy for the sake of doing them.”

Clappe joins a quartet of M-CHS seniors to earn an Empire Electric Association scholarship, as he gets set to head to Fort Collins. The Colorado State University Music Education program earned high marks, helping prep prospective music educators for careers in primary and secondary schools.

The idea of passing along his love for music is something that excites Clappe. “I would love to be able to teach instrumental music on a high school level,” said Clappe, “It’s been one of my ambitions since middle school.”

“As much as music has impacted my life, and for as many people who have influenced my love of music – I want to be that person for others.”