Performer setting the stage for career in science

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Marella Piazza is studying to become an orthodontist after years of embracing the arts.

Marella Piazza has a long road ahead of her, but she’s making the most of every opportunity along the way.

The Grosse Pointe Farms native just wrapped up her freshman year at Hope College. On a pre-dental track, the 18-year-old is studying to become an orthodontist.

“I knew I wanted to do something in the science field; I love science,” she said. “I started to look at different types of doctors. I was at my orthodontist one day, talking with them. They offered me a job there. That’s where I’m working now. When they offered it to me, I thought maybe this is a sign that this is something I should be going in to.”

This summer, she’s working as a sterilization technician while gaining experience in a professional setting. She started cleaning chairs and sanitizing equipment, which led to taking photos, X-rays and patient scans.

“As I’ve been working there, they’re giving me more work with patients,” she said.

It’s the start of a long road ahead.

“To become an orthodontist, it takes 10 years,” she said. “Staying positive is the best thing for me right now. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, but the years will go by fast. I try to take every opportunity I get.”

One shining light in Piazza’s life is her love of the arts. An accomplished soprano singer, the 2021 Grosse Pointe South High School graduate also plays piano and violin, acts and dances.

“I was never really into sports,” she said. “I just always loved music.”

She recalled a story her parents, John and Julie, are fond of sharing.

“When I was little, my brother (Jacob) was taking piano lessons,” she said. “We had a piano in our house. I’d never taken a class, but I sat down at the piano and just wanted to play. I wanted to make something happen. So my parents put me in lessons. It all started with piano, which evolved to music and singing and dancing.”

Piazza said she’s been singing as long as she can remember. She joined the choir in elementary school and loved it so much, she joined in middle school as well.

“Then in high school, things got more serious,” she added. “I decided to take voice lessons.”

Piazza sang with the award-winning South Show Choir and began competing onstage. It’s a place where she’s comfortable, having performed with Grosse Pointe Theatre’s Youth on Stage program, as well as South’s Pointe Players and the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City.

Her voice earned her a spot during Mass at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Detroit. A member of the choir, she was asked to sing a solo, which led to her “singing the entire Mass,” she said.

“During COVID, people said they missed hearing my voice every Sunday,” she added. “The church asked me to record myself singing, which they posted on their Facebook page so people could hear me sing and see my face.”

Another video of Piazza singing, shared by her proud godmother, also landed her an upcoming gig at Ford House.

“She loves sharing videos of me singing,” Piazza said, noting her godmother showed a video to her dentist, Dr. George Goodis.

Goodis, whose office is located in Grosse Pointe Woods, called Piazza and asked if she’d perform for the 2022 Ralph F. Sommer Endodontic Symposium, which he is chairing this year.

“I said I’d love to,” she said.

Dental specialists from across the state will visit Ford House, the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club and Renaissance Center Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11. Piazza will kick off the symposium with a rendition of “God Bless America.” Later that evening, she’ll take the stage to sing a few songs with a live band.

Singing gigs and work experience aside, Piazza plans to spend the rest of her summer enjoying her other loves.

“I have a dog, Stella,” she said. “I love taking long walks with her and my family. It’s been my favorite thing coming home from college; I didn’t realize how much I missed it. I love spending time with my family and my friends.”

Sean Cotton, Owner & Publisher

Jody McVeigh, Editor in chief


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