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111 Southern California High School Students Named as Semifinalists in The Music Center’s 29th Annual Spotlight Program

LOS ANGELES (March 8, 2017) – The Music Center named 111 of some of Southern California’s most talented high school students as semifinalists in The Music Center’s 29th annual Spotlight (Spotlight) program, a free nationally-acclaimed scholarship and arts training program for teens.  An important part of The Music Center’s fundamental support for arts education, Spotlight is more than a competition.  The program provides opportunities for Southern California high school students to acquire the skills they need to pursue their dreams in the performing arts, ranging from the development of performance abilities in numerous genres to roles in arts management, along with valuable workforce readiness skills.

Semifinalists were named in each of seven categories, including acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental.

“The Spotlight program exemplifies The Music Center’s commitment to the next generation of performing arts professionals, both those performing on the stage and working behind the scenes,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center.  “We strive to provide students with the tools, training, and coaching along with the knowledge that we believe in them.  We feel this will help these committed high schoolers to be successful in their futures regardless of which path they may take toward their professional goals.”

“Spotlight is as much about self-discovery and building self-esteem for young people as it is about pursuing a career in the performing arts,” said Jeri Gaile, director of The Music Center’s Spotlight program.  “The students that participate in Spotlight learn how to identify and achieve their goals from mentors who are highly successful in their field, gaining first-hand knowledge of how to seize opportunities and prepare for important transitions in life.”

Approximately 1,300 participants auditioned for Spotlight this year, and more than 45,000 students have participated in the program since 1988. 

 Semifinalists receive a rare opportunity to attend a special master class with highly regarded artists, who share their expertise on performance technique, training and professional life.  Students are offered feedback on their performances, offering them a rich learning experience.  Each semifinalist will audition again before a new panel of judges, who will then select the top two finalist performers in each category for a total of 14 Grand Prize Finalists.  Judges will also name an Honorable Mention in each category.  The Grand Prize Finalists will perform at Walt Disney Concert Hall at The Music Center in the Spotlight Grand Finale Performance on May 23, 2017.

The Music Center’s Spotlight program awards more than $100,000 in cash scholarships annually.  Both Grand Prize Finalists in each category receive $5,000 scholarships, with one Honorable Mention in each category receiving $1,000.  Semifinalists each receive $300.  The Music Center also celebrates five students in each preliminary category with the Promise Award, which acknowledges students who inspire the judges by their commitment and dedication to their art form.  Spotlight Promise Award recipients each receive $100.

Numerous Spotlight participants have gone on to successful professional careers.  Twenty finalists are Presidential Scholars, and many more have joined or performed with professional companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others.  They include Misty Copeland, who made history in the dance world as the first African American principal dancer for American Ballet Theatre; Adam Lambert and Josh Groban, pop recording artists; Erin Mackey, star of Broadway’s Wicked, Sondheim on Sondheim, Anything Goes, Chaplin and Amazing Grace; Yao GuanZhai, associate principal clarinet of the Toronto Symphony; Gerald Clayton, Grammy Award winning jazz recording artist; and many others.

Frederic M. Roberts is founding chairman of The Music Center’s Spotlight program.  The late Walter Grauman was the creator.

For more information about The Music Center’s Spotlight program, visit musiccenter.org/spotlight or join the conversation on facebook.com/spotlightawards.

About The Music Center

As L.A.’s performing arts destination, The Music Center is L.A.’s home to the world’s greatest artistic programs and events.  With four iconic theaters and four renowned resident companies – Center Theatre Group, the LA Master Chorale, the LA Opera and the LA Philharmonic – and recognized for its illustrious dance programming, Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, The Music Center is a destination where audiences find inspiration in the very best of live performance, as well as nationally recognized arts education and participatory arts experiences.  The Music Center also programs and manages Grand Park, a 12-acre adjacent greenspace, with year-round free programming.  For more information, visit musiccenter.org.  Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@MusicCenterLA).

The Music Center’s 29th Annual Spotlight Program

Semifinalists

Category

Full Name

Home City

Grade

School

School County

Acting

Adina Aaron

Los Angeles

10

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Acting

Summer Ainsworth

Whittier

12

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Acting

Shirley Chen

San Gabriel

11

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Acting

Samuel Christian

Los Angeles

12

Options for Youth-Highland Park

Los Angeles

Acting

Hollis Dohr

Sherman Oaks

12

Archer School for Girls

Los Angeles

Acting

Danielle Fish

Toluca Lake

12

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Acting

Hannah Franklin

Long Beach

10

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Acting

Julia Goldberg

Los Angeles

12

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Acting

Elija Hall

Los Angeles

12

Ramon C. Cortines High School

Los Angeles

Acting

Austin Kelly

Rancho Palos Verdes

12

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Los Angeles

Acting

Royce Lundquist

Temecula

12

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Acting

Arjang Mahdavi

Granada Hills

12

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Acting

Natasha Partnoy

San Diego

11

Francis W. Parker School

San Diego

Acting

Anika Ramlo

Sherman Oaks

12

Archer School for Girls

Los Angeles

Acting

Laila  Stewart

West Covina

9

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Acting

Camille Umoff

Santa Barbara

12

Santa Barbara High School

Santa Barbara

Ballet

Diego Altamirano

Hacienda Heights

12

Northgate High School

Hacienda Heights

Ballet

Olivia  Brothers

Laurel Spring School

10

Palos Verdes High School

Los Angeles

Ballet

Jordan Coutts

Simi Valley

9

Laurel Springs School

Ventura

Ballet

Madeline Czekaj

Whittier

11

Whittier High School

Los Angeles

Ballet

Nicole  Denney

San Clemente

9

San Clemente High School

Orange

Ballet

Camden Foster

Palos Verdes Estates

10

Laurel Springs School

Los Angeles

Ballet

Isabella Franco

Los Angeles

11

Marlborough School

Los Angeles

Ballet

Diana Gallegos

Menifee

12

I am Home Schooled

Riverside

Ballet

Aviva Gelfer-Mundl

Tustin

10

Arnold O. Beckman High School

Orange

Ballet

Lauren Hunter

Playa Vista

10

Home Schooled

Los Angeles

Ballet

Tate Lee

Mission Viejo

12

Home Schooled

Orange

Ballet

Kamala Saara McDaniels

Glendale

9

Home Schooled

Los Angeles

Ballet

Eila Neuroth

huntington beach

12

Pacific Coast High School

Orange

Ballet

Moorea Pike

Aliso Viejo

9

Laguna Beach High School

Orange

Ballet

Isabella Seo

Los Angeles

12

Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

Los Angeles

Ballet

Eliana Vogel

Westlake Village

12

Home Schooled

Ventura

Classical Instrumental

Jenny Bahk

Los Angeles

12

Home Schooled

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Sung Chi (Dorson) Chang

Los Angeles

10

Home Schooled

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Aileen Chung

Irvine

12

Crean Lutheran High School

Orange

Classical Instrumental

Cole  Davis

La Crescenta

12

Crescenta Valley High School

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Yan Fang

Los Angeles

12

Laurel Springs School

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Madeleine Hammer

Santa Monica

12

Santa Monica High School

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Jamie  Kim

Rancho Palos Verdes

11

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Nathan Le

Northridge

12

Sierra Canyon  - Upper School

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Annette Lee

La Canada

10

Polytechnic High School (Pasadena)

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Javier Morales

Los Angeles

11

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Tristan Paradee

Burbank

10

Excellence in Education Academy

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Cara Pogossian

Glendale

12

Verdugo Academy

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Ilana Shapiro

Santa Barbara

11

Dos Pueblos High School

Santa Barbara

Classical Instrumental

Victor Shlyakhtenko

Los Angeles

9

Sky Mountain Charter School

Los Angeles

Classical Instrumental

Andrew Sung

Yorba Linda

11

Esperanza High School

Orange

Classical Instrumental

Elizabeth Zietz

Irvine

11

Northwood High School

Orange

Classical Voice

Cory Accardo

Aliso Viejo

12

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Classical Voice

Jeannine Bauer

Ladera Ranch

11

St. Margaret's Episcopal High School

Orange

Classical Voice

Marita Bos-Villalobos

Oceanside

11

High Tech High North County

San Diego

Classical Voice

Sarah Chen

Ladera Ranch

12

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Classical Voice

Breanna  Flores

Los Angeles

12

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Classical Voice

Olivia  Iacono

Rancho Palos Verdes

11

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

Los Angeles

Classical Voice

Elyse Johnson

Whittier

12

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Classical Voice

Michael McDermott

Aliso Viejo

11

Pacific Coast High School

Orange

Classical Voice

Aidan Moravec

San Gabriel

11

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Classical Voice

Brian Munoz

huntington park

9

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Classical Voice

Andrew Pringle

Santa Monica

12

Santa Monica High School

Los Angeles

Classical Voice

Daniel  Sanchez

Garden Grove

12

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Classical Voice

Blake Stevenson

San Juan Capistrano

11

St. Margaret's Episcopal High School

Orange

Classical Voice

Haley Varela

Palm Desert

12

Xavier College Preparatory

Riverside

Classical Voice

Nathan Vasquez

Trabuco Canyon

12

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Jazz Instrumental

Anna Abondolo

Los Angeles

11

Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Maxwell Beck

Beverly Hills

12

Campbell Hall

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

William Brandt

West Hills

11

Hamilton High School

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Andrew Brems

San Diego

12

Canyon Crest Academy

San Diego

Jazz Instrumental

Ari Chais

W Hollywood

11

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

James Day

Cypress

11

Los Alamitos High School

Orange

Jazz Instrumental

Benjamin Farahi

Los Angeles

11

Hamilton High School

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Austin  Kim

Monterey Park

11

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Vincent Le

Woodland Hills

12

Harvard-Westlake (Upper)

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Spencer Lemann

Los Angeles

11

Windward School

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Ethan Moffitt

Glendale

11

Verdugo Academy

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Jay  Nelson

Agoura Hills

11

Agoura High School

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Jordan Reifkind

Los Angeles

11

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Maxwell Rohde

Palos Verdes Estates

12

Mira Costa High School

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Alex Scher

Los Angeles

12

Ramon C. Cortines High School

Los Angeles

Jazz Instrumental

Mark Valdes

Baldwin Park

11

William Workman High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Dance

Bella Allen

Gardena

11

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Joshua Alvarez

Garden Grove

11

Garden Grove High School

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Erin Blair

Laguna Niguel

10

Capistrano Connections Academy

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Hannahlei Cabanilla

Anaheim Hills

12

Canyon High School - Anaheim

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Gabriel De Guzman

Murrieta

10

Vista Murrieta High School

Riverside

Non-Classical Dance

Nicole  Denney

San Clemente

9

San Clemente High School

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Emily Eckert

Newport Beach

10

Corona del Mar High School

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Sophia Frilot

La Habra

9

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Nola Gibson

Los Angeles

12

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Dance

Georgia  Harris

Orange

10

Lutheran High School of Orange County

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Mason Idler

Temecula

11

Great Oak High School

Riverside

Non-Classical Dance

Taylor Kurtz

Temecula

11

Great Oak High School

Riverside

Non-Classical Dance

Maasai Piliavin-Godwin

Altadena

12

Westridge School - Upper School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Dance

Tatum  Ramsey

Menifee

11

Paloma Valley High School

Riverside

Non-Classical Dance

Lauren Shaw

Irvine

10

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

Orange

Non-Classical Dance

Lucinda Vallely

Long Beach

10

I am Home Schooled

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Roberta Alaman

Los Angeles

11

Palisades Charter High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Caroline Bachman

Agoura Hills

12

Agoura High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Karis Brizendine

Agoura Hills

12

Agoura High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Adriana De Santiago

 Beverly Hills

12

Beverly Hills High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Shaila Essley

Chino Hills

12

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Elizabeth Gaba

Los Angeles

12

Harvard-Westlake (Upper)

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Sofia Gonzalez

San Gabriel

12

Alverno High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Hannah Kanter

Beverly Hills

11

Windward School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Anilee List

Los Angeles

11

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Justine Rafael

Riverside

12

Martin Luther King High School

Riverside

Non-Classical Voice

Katelyn Hunter Robinson

Cerritos

10

Cerritos High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Valentina Shelton

Pacific Palisades

11

Windward School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Joseph Silva

Reseda

12

Notre Dame High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Brighton Thomas

Burbank,

12

John Burroughs High School

Los Angeles

Non-Classical Voice

Camille Umoff

Santa Barbara

12

Santa Barbara High School

Santa Barbara

Non-Classical Voice

Adrian Villegas

Huntington Beach

12

Huntington Beach High School

Orange

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