The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The award-winning voice of North Cobb High School in Kennesaw, Georgia.

The Chant

The Multi-Talented Joseph Pagan-Portes: A Musical Journey

Joseph Pagan-Portes and Jasmina Buranich
Through his work in marching band, theater and independent hobbies, senior Joseph Pagan-Portes embodies musical versatility at NC. Known for his role as Miss. Agatha Trunchbull in NC’s production of “Matilda The Musical Jr,” Pagan-Portes works to build community, develop leadership and spread laughter any and everywhere. Nonetheless, underclassmen and teachers will need to wave goodbye to Pagan-Portes’ various characters and voices as he concludes his last semester at NC.

From his role as Miss. Agatha Trunchbull in NC’s “Matilda The Musical Jr.” to his impersonation of Patrick Star in NC’s “The Spongebob Musical,” senior Joseph Pagan-Portes has spread laughter, cheer and joy throughout the halls of NC. Fueled by his love for music, theater and the satisfaction of making people laugh, Pagan-Portes creates friendships and builds community in every room he steps in. 

As a member of the wind symphony, Pagan-Portes has indulged in various activities and opportunities on and off NC’s campus. During his sophomore year, he performed at Georgia State University’s Music for All Festival. To further his involvement, he joined the North Cobb Marching Band (NCMB) in his junior year. Pagan-Portes and other members of the band traveled to Orlando, Florida in October 2022 for the Bands of America Orlando Regional Championship where they placed 14th out of the 28 bands in attendance. Through positive character and initiative, Pagan-Portes established himself as a leader in the high brass section.

“For those who don’t know Jojo, they should know that he’s a big listener. If you need to vent to him he’s all ears and he truly pays attention to what you’re saying. He’s really humble and crazy talented. I’ve never met anyone more kind-hearted than Jojo and he’s the best friend anyone can ask for. The fact that my mom looks forward to seeing him perform or just to talk to him says a lot. Like I said earlier he’s insanely talented. He can sing, play French horn and act, and he’s exceptional at all of it. He puts family first, too. When he finishes a performance for theater, he goes directly to his giant family who’s always there to support him. So yeah, everyone needs a Jojo in their lives,” sophomore Olyvia Graham said.

He demonstrates his diverse musical interests and abilities by acting, singing and playing various instruments. The multi-instrumentalist can create beautiful sounds through his work on the guitar, piano, french horn and mellophone. With a variety of musical abilities under his belt, Pagan-Portes excels in nearly every stage he steps on, especially in productions by NC’s Standing Ovation. 

During the last week of January, NC students and families headed to the Performing Arts Center (PAC) to watch NC’s production of “Spongebob the Musical.” Taking the stage and entering the persona of the beloved Patrick Star, Pagan-Portes spread laughter throughout the audience as he and his cast members took on their journey to save Bikini Bottom from an erupting volcano. 

“Mentally, I am preparing by going over my lines and watching Spongebob to see how Patrick is. I can talk like Patrick. I am taking care of my voice because singing in his voice hurts my throat. I also played Miss. Trunchbull, that was probably my biggest role. I am very versatile and well-rounded,” Pagan-Portes said.

In addition to his comical role as Patrick Star, Pagan-Portes receives recognition around NC for his bit as Miss. Agatha Trunchbull in NC’s production of “Matilda The Musical Jr.” during his junior year. Through shrieking, yelling and bullying, Pagan-Portes took the stage and caused the PAC to exclaim with laughter.
(Jasmina Buranich)

Boasting several awards such as “fan favorite” and “best actor,” Pagan-Portes has conquered NC’s performing arts. Envisioning himself as a leader, he has taken on several leadership classes and roles to hone his management skills. Furthermore, his work in the marching band has helped him gain the proper organizational skills and direction that he plans to use in his future career in acting. 

Nonetheless, at the heart of what Pagan-Portes does lies his personal connections and cultural identity. As a Black Hispanic-American with ties to the Dominican Republic, he holds his family and culture close to him. He honors his culture by cooking for his brothers and spending time with his family.  Evoking laughter from friends and family remains the core of every persona he takes on, every note he plays and every pitch he sings.

“When my mom comes home she cooks food like tostones, mangu, stuff that I love. My grandpa is from the [Dominican Republic]. too, so every day I eat food from my culture. The older I am, I like to embrace and learn about the culture of the Dominican Republic. I went there for my birthday last year and I loved seeing the people, the culture, the music and the environment. The music I listen to—Spanish music—the way I dance, the food I eat, how I speak, it’s all very Dominican now,” Pagan-Portes said. 

With prominent agencies residing in Atlanta, he plans to pursue acting—voice acting, broadway acting, theatrical acting and film acting—at Georgia State University. Additionally, he plans to maintain his personable and charismatic attitude deep into his career. After his acting career soars, he plans to use the income he gains to support his community and the people around him. 

“When I was young, I never saw myself as an actor, but I did want to be a magician. It is kinda cute because the whole point of magicians is that they act. Right? I realized that a magician is basically an actor, so technically, I always wanted to be one,” Pagan-Portes said. 

As NC’s senior graduation nears, Pagan-Portes’ time at NC will come to an end. However, through his impact on NCMB and theater, his legacy will live on. The Chant wishes Pagan-Portes all the best as he pursues his musical and theatrical journey!


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About the Contributor
Jasmina Buranich
Jasmina Buranich, Editor in Chief
Jasmina Buranich, a senior at NC, joined The Chant in 2022 to fulfill her passion for editing and learning about the writing techniques of others, sharing her opinions and research and networking with others. As she enters her last year on The Chant, she hopes to create meaningful memories with her fellow editors and reporters, meet new friends, highlight the successes of minority students at NC and continue publishing her research about the criminal justice system. When not writing, Buranich enjoys spending time with her friends, traveling with her family, volunteering in Cobb County and nationally, and helping her classmates with their academic assignments. After high school, Buranich hopes to attend a large university with a diverse student body and, hopefully, a student-led newspaper.

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