Bloomingdale Teens Get Summer Arts Scholarship

By Jon Cronin

For two teens in Bloomingdale, the promise of summer fun just got a little bit sweeter.  

Performing arts loving twins Vincent and Evelyn Santangelo, 14, recently won the David J. Grimes, Sr. Memorial Scholarship that will provide them with individual workshops, camps, and youth productions at the Smiling Rhino Theatre in Pompton Lakes.

Vincent and Evelyn have been involved in music, acting and art since they were very little.  The young dynamic duo loved performances they saw at the theater and when their mom, Darlene Santangelo, saw the opportunity for a scholarship, she couldn’t pass it up.

Vincent and Evelyn have always performed for their large Italian family, creating little skits and a puppet show around the holidays and often asked their mom if they could do more to pursue acting. They asked more frequently after seeing Annie and Mathilda at the Rhino Theatre.

“This is their little dream,” she said.

The twins are currently in eighth grade at the Holy Spirit School in Pequannock and are taking part in the spring play “The Sound of Music,” but are eager to get more of that stage magic.  

“We went to the open house [at Rhino Theatre] and they loved it,” she said.  “I filled out the paperwork and was shocked when I got the news.”

Evelyn and Vincent jumped for joy when they heard the news at the end of January.   They immediately called their father at work and all their relatives.

Darlene is also proud of her kids and happy they have the opportunity to pursue their passions at such a young age.  

She noted that Vincent made it to the second round of America’s Got Talent auditions in 2017 when they were scouting at Queens College.  

“God the boy can sing,” she said and boasted that fellow parents still talk about his rendition of Journey’s  “Don’t Stop Believing,” in his fourth grade talent show.

Evelyn said she and her brother love being in front of a crowd. They both take part in talent shows, sing in the church choir and read in front of their parish on Sundays.

This summer, she said, “I hope to be better at singing, but I’m more into acting. I like comedy and drama, but definitely like comedy more.”

She said they picked DuPaul Catholic High School in Wayne, because of its strong performing arts program.

Vincent has similar ambitions about the summer program, “I hope to learn more techniques about singing and acting [and] learn more about dancing styles.”

This scholarship opportunity is made available by the family of David J. Grimes Sr., a Paterson/Totowa area teacher for 49 years, who passed away in March of this past year.  Grimes was also a director for various Theater Arts organizations in the area and longtime audience member of Rhino Theatre.

Rhino Theatre Group has been in the community for 20 years with a mission to create a place for kids and teens to have a safe fun place to explore the performing arts.  It provides professional supportive instructors to aid the children and looks forward to seeing its students create friendships that last a lifetime.

Evelyn and Vincent will be presented with their scholarship on the Rhino Theatre’s mainstage on Tuesday, March 19th at 12 p.m.

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