Giving it Her All

Delaney Yuko Ross ’12 returns to GPAC

Delaney Ross

Delaney Yuko Ross ’12 last appeared on the Gates Performing Arts Center (GPAC) stage in her senior year production of Anything Goes. This year she returns to HPA in a new role: Upper School performing arts teacher. In between, she studied classical voice at the Manhattan School of Music, earned a B.A. in ethnomusicology from Barnard College at Columbia University, and an M.S. in education from the University of Edinburgh. She was on her way toward a doctorate in ethnomusicology from UCLA when the opportunity arose to join HPA’s faculty. Now, she’s center stage at rehearsals, she’s teaching a host of performing arts classes, and she’s ready to bring the magic of theater back to full force in a community she knows well.


You grew up in Kona… What was it like to move from Hawai‘i Island to New York City for college?
Yes—it was a lot! I really wanted to go to the east coast because I just loved Broadway. I grew up in a family of musical theater nerds, and I fell in love with it. Although being one of eight million people was a little intimidating, I was already familiar with international living from being in the HPA dorms, and I loved being around so many different people… I loved buying my first winter coat… it was all really wonderful.

What is ethnomusicology?
It’s the study of music through an anthropological or cultural lens. I took my first anthropology course as a whim during my freshman year in college. Something happened, and I knew that studying people and culture was what I wanted to do. I had never even heard of ethnomusicology before, but it was a magically perfect combination of all my interests. Columbia is one of the few universities that even offers it as a major. I was lucky!

Tell us about your hopes and plans for the theater program at HPA.
I have been given an awesome opportunity to revive the drama program here, and I’m so excited. I remember coming to GPAC as a kid in 2005 to see Little Shop of Horrors, and it was just amazing! We’re blessed with an extremely beautiful facility. I want to take full advantage of it, and get more people involved. I’d like to get to a point where every single student has stepped on the GPAC stage before an audience at least once. I want the program to be thriving, and I’m committed to being here to help make it happen.

Delaney Ross

What do you think performing arts can do for teenagers, in a broad sense?
I am of the opinion that anyone can benefit from taking an acting class. Everyone should do it. I stand by that statement. Theater teaches you so much beyond just being on stage: confidence, collaboration, self-awareness… there’s so much to learn! If more people had taken high school theater, maybe the world would be a better place.

What has it been like coming back to your high school to teach?
It is very strange calling Mrs. Kamrow “Babs.” That’s a huge adjustment. Many of my colleagues knew me as a 14-year-old when I was out there on the stage giving it my all. But really, it’s been an absolute joy. I thought it would be weird, but it mostly just felt like coming home. I find it so rewarding to watch my students make memories just like the ones I made as a student.