The Spotlight Awards. How can we possibly sum it up? John Lithgow, the host of this year’s finalist performance, probably said it better than anyone –
“Watching these young people perform on stage restores my spirit.”
The feeling was mutual.
Each year The Music Center welcomes thousands of high school students to participate in our Spotlight program, which culminates with a final performance in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. These bright and talented students audition in categories of ballet, non-classical dance, jazz instrumental, classical instrumental, non-classical voice, classical voice, two-dimensional art and photography. Everyone that auditions gets valuable written feedback from the judges for their discipline.
The process is more of a workshop, than a competition, offering students a chance to learn about the business of having careers in the arts and hone their auditioning skills. The judges then work to select a group of semi-finalists in each category, who participate in master classes with some of the best artists in their field. Finally, after another round of auditions, two finalists are chosen in each category and, as you can imagine, they are all extremely talented young people!
This past Saturday marked the 26th Annual Spotlight Awards and it was just as inspiring and thrilling as ever! The performance was free and open to the public, and anyone who was lucky enough to grab a seat in the packed house was treated to an extraordinary display of talent and promise. Plus, it was clear to see that all the finalists were having the time of their lives on that stage!
The Spotlight Awards is just one of many programs The Music Center fosters to help bring the arts to young people everywhere, with the goal of not only helping talented students become successful artists, but also successful people. Many former Music Center Spotlight Awards finalists have gone on to have incredibly successful careers on and off the stage, but regardless of where their careers take them, they always have a special home at The Music Center as a Spotlight Alum.
Grant Grayson Bower – Non Classical Voice Grand Prize Winner
Bella Porter – Non Classical Voice Runner Up
Ryan Roberts – Classical Instrumental Grand Prize Winner
Erick Chong – Classical Instrumental Runner Up
Nicole Ishimaru – Non-classical Dance Grand Prize Winner
Abbigail Roque – Non-classical Dance Runner Up
Aaron Shaw – Jazz Instrumental Grand Prize Winner
Jamael Dean – Jazz Instrumental Runner Up
Madeline Woo – Ballet Grand Prize Finalist
Nora Clemente – Ballet Runner Up
Brett Schaffer – Classical Voice Grand Prize Winner
Amanda Anderson – Classical Voice Runner Up
Dayeon Han – Two-Dimensional Art Grand Prize Winner
Steve Sung Eun Kim – Two-Dimensional Art Runner Up
Angela Francis – Photography Grand Prize Winner
Sophia Arriola-Gibson – Photography Runner Up
All Photos by Paul Antico