How to Create an Awesome Spotlight Audition Video

Alyssa Allen Spotlight Awards

Our Spotlight Program – a free scholarship, training program and competition for high school kids in southern California – is back for it’s 28th year and applications are open now.  This amazing program has helped to foster some of the biggest and brightest talent in the performing arts, with artists like Misty Copeland, and Josh Groban among it’s extensive roster of alumni!

Hannah Song Spotlight Awards Spotlight Awards 1 Spotlight Awards 3 Spotlight Awards 2

This year, we’re asking all applicants to submit a video performance as part of their application, and to show just how easy and fun the video process can be, we teamed up with another Spotlight alum, the brilliant Melinda Sullivan, to create the ultimate “how-to” video!  Have a look…

So whether you sing, dance, act, or play an instrument, if you’re a talented SoCal teen (or perhaps the teacher or parent of one) looking for an amazing opportunity to expand your skills, broaden your talent and potentially win a $5000 scholarship, upload your application to the Spotlight Awards program ASAP!  Applications close on October 19th, so hop to it!


Shining the Spotlight on New Talent!

This past Tuesday, we celebrated the 27th Annual Spotlight Awards with the Grand Finale Performance in Walt Disney Concert Hall!  It was a new venue for our Spotlight Awards (usually held in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion,) with a new host in the brilliant Jenna Elfman, and with an added new category- Acting.  We also had a new format for our grand prize finalists (of which there are two in each category) in that they all received the grand prize and this final performance was just that – a performance celebrating their tremendous talent and dedication to their art-forms.   So while it felt like a year of “new things” for Spotlight, the talent in all the participants was just as inspiring and remarkable as ever!

Take a moment to meet all our amazing finalists… We can bet you’re going to see their names in programs and marquees in the future!

Here’s a quick slideshow of some of our favorite moments from the day…

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Also, if you came to the performance take your ticket stub over to any Urth Caffe and get a FREE cappuccino or any drink up to $5, plus 20% off any purchase at all URTH CAFFE LOCATIONS.  (Offer valid thru April 15, 2015.)


All photos by Danielle Klebanow

This Week @MusicCenterLA

Jam packed week of activity here at The Music Center! What will you come out for?


On Saturday Grand Park Downtown Bookfest featuring Artizen Lab runs from 12-5pm. Enjoy this opportunity to engage with your fellow LA bookworms, and shop from local authors and publishers.  Plus, experience Artizen Lab’s top ideas brought to life!   While you’re here, head over to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office to get your Alvin Ailey tickets in person and avoid the handling fees. (Score!)

LA Opera presents two opportunities this week to see The Marriage of Figaro. Mozart’s classic is the conclusion of the Figaro Trilogy. There’s a show tonight as well as one on Sunday!

LA Phil presents Gil Shaham Plays Bach, a marriage of Bach Six Solos with original video production by David Michalek. Added bonus: Gil Shaham will be signing CDs at the lobby entrance to the LA Phil Store.

On Tuesday The Spotlight Grand Finale Performance, hosted by Jenna Elfman, will award Southern California High School students with cash scholarships, master classes, academies and more. Support LA’s next generation of artists in the categories of acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental music, and jazz instrumental music. Tickets are $10!

REDCAT presents a run of four performances of Zoe | Juniper: BeginAgain, which features compelling visuals and supple choreography as just the tip of the iceberg. Enjoy this beautiful teaser. Then on Monday, catch Transforming Spaces: New Films from L.A. Filmmakers, a collection of 9 short experimental works.

In case you didn’t know already, The Library of Congress exhibition American Ballet Theatre: Touring the Globe for 75 Years opened on March 13th. Don’t miss this new installation in the Library of Congress Ira Gershwin Gallery. It’s free and runs through September 15th. Supplement your visit with more in depth info here.

See you at the Center!

Spotlight Acting Master Class

Spotlight Awards Acting Masterclass 2015As part of the Spotlight Awards, all high school students who make it through the initial round of auditions into the semi-finals are treated to masterclasses with some of the brightest luminaries in the field of their discipline.  This year’s masterclass series kicked off this past Sunday in the Acting category (a discipline we haven’t had for Spotlight in years!)  Students gathered at Cortines High School (just down the block from The Music Center) to workshop their monologues and get feedback from award winning actor, director, and teacher Bernard Addison.   Mr. Addison is a theatre teaching artist for the August Wilson In-School Residency Program, serves as a Master Teacher for the August Wilson Monologue Competition, and has been engaged in various Center Theatre Group educational programs since 2001. Currently, he is part of the theatre faculty at Los Angeles High School of the Arts, specializing in Voice, Speech and Advanced Acting.

Here’s a few snaps from the day…

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The Spotlight Awards 2014

The Music Center Spotlight Awards 2014 Finalists

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!

Spotlight Awards Finalist Madeline Woo Spotlight Awards Finalist Ryan Roberts Spotlight Awards Finalist Nicole IshimaruSpotlight Awards Finalist Jamael Dean Spotlight Awards Finalist Erick Chong

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.

Spotlight Awards Grant Grayson Bower Spotlight Awards Finalist Brett Schaffer Spotlight Awards Finalist Bella Porter Spotlight Awards Finalist Abbigail Roque Spotlight Awards Finalist Aaron Shaw Spotlight Awards Finalist Nora ClementeSpotlight Awards Finalist Amanda Anderson

2014 Finalists:

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