Kimi Galang Villegas - Vocal Director of LVP
Miya: Please Introduce yourself!
Kimi: My name is Kimi Galang Villegas. I am 18 years old and am a first-year at UC Berkeley, majoring in Theater and Performance Studies with an emphasis in Acting. I am the Vocal Director for Little Virtuosos Project and have been involved in music for 10 years!
Miya: I’m curious, so what first got you into music?
Kimi: I went to a Catholic elementary school and began singing in the Children’s Choir in 3rd Grade. A year later I auditioned for the Junior Company at Good Company Players (a community theater in Fresno, CA that has trained Broadway stars like Audra McDonald and Heidi Blickenstaff), and I got in! My love for music continued to grow from then on.
Miya: Wow that’s awesome! Can you share a memorable story or personal experience you’ve had in your music journey?
Kimi: Sure! So, during my Sophomore year at University High School, I was cast as the title role in our Winter Musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie. I was so excited, but very nervous when I first got the role. There is one song in particular, “Gimme Gimme,” that really made me scared. I did not want to disappoint my cast members, directors, and everyone involved with the production. You could say I had an extreme case of “imposter syndrome.” I constantly doubted myself and thought I wasn’t good enough to be playing this iconic role. Tech week came around -- for any non-theater people out there who are not familiar with this term, “tech week” is the time right before the opening of the show where we put the finishing touches on it and all of the technical aspects come together onstage. During our first full run-through in the theater with the full orchestra, we got to “Gimme Gimme.” I was nervous out of my mind, however, I surrendered to the vulnerability of the moment. I told myself that I have everything I need to successfully sing the song, the power resides within me. I reminded myself that the reason I was nervous was because this meant so much to me, and that music has brought me so much joy in the past. I channeled my nervousness into excitement. I tuned into the lyrics I was singing and shut out the voices of insecurity that previously were consuming my thoughts. I got to the last “money note” of the song, and it felt incredible. In that moment, I felt I was invincible, that I could conquer anything life throws at me. That made me realize how magnanimous of a role music has had in my life, and has made me want to pursue a professional career in the arts.
Miya: That is so inspiring! I’ve played in a musical, too and I would say that was one of the most memorable experiences I had with music so far. So now, what inspired you to be a part of LVP?
Kimi: Anjeli Macaranas (LVP Executive Director/Founder -- and one of my closest friends) reached out to me about an organization she was starting that sought to educate others on the positive impacts that music has on mental health. At the time (precorona), the organization would volunteer monthly at a local shelter for women and children, preparing an informative presentation and a selection of musical pieces. I thought this was such a wonderful concept in using our musical gifts to give back to our community.
Miya: That is so wonderful! Hopefully we can go back doing more in person events soon! It seems like you have been with LVP from the start. Can you share your experience in LVP, what do you enjoy the most about this organization?
Kimi: My favorite part about LVP is getting to work with some of the most talented, creative, spirited young artists, who truly want to make an impact. Especially during the pandemic, they have opened my eyes to how important music is in sustaining mental health. Being involved with LVP never feels like work. It has given me a creative outlet to express myself with other driven musicians who want to create something beautiful.
Miya: Where do you see the organization in the future?
Kimi: LVP had humble beginnings and the pandemic put a halt on our in-person events. However, it allowed us to establish our virtual presence, gaining so many more lovely members! I am hoping that once the world opens back up, we can expand our organization both on the national and international levels, touching as many lives as we can. With the amazing team we have already, I am sure we can bring this vision into fruition.
Miya: I look forward to it! Now let’s move on with the more fun questions to get to know you more! What’s one of your favorite pieces of music?
Kimi: My favorite musical is Miss Saigon, music and lyrics by Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Boublil, and Richard Maltby Jr. I also grew up doing ballet, so I love Tchaikovsky’s music!
Miya: If you can attend any concert in the world, who’s concert would you attend?
Kimi: I would definitely want to see Jacob Collier live. He is a musical master-mind and it would be such a thrill to witness his brilliance in the flesh.
Miya: What is your take on the power of music?
Kimi: I think the amazing thing about music is that it can take on so many different roles and is unique to the individual. Some may listen to music as they go about their daily tasks, some may use it as a means of relaxation, some may listen to it as they have a solo dance party, and others (like many of us at LVP) may use music as a tool of artistic expression and a way to inspire others. No matter what craziness I have endured in my life, music has always been a constant that I know I will always have. It is a language of love that I can use to communicate with the rest of humanity. Music has uplifted me in a way that is inexplicable.
Miya: yes, I agree that music is a power and healing language of art:) Now, please leave a final message/thought for our readers!
Kimi: If you are reading this, thank you. You are the reason that the Little Virtuosos Project exists. We are so incredibly thankful for you and your efforts in learning about the intersections of mental health and music. We hope our mission is something that resonates with you in reaping the benefits of music. Thank you so so much!