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2018 Spotlight Awards Semifinalist

113 Southern California High School Students Named as Semifinalists in The Music Center’s 30th Annual Spotlight Program



LOS ANGELES (February 27, 2018)
– The Music Center named 113 of Southern California’s most talented high school students as semifinalists in The Music Center’s 30th annual Spotlight (Spotlight) program, a free nationally-acclaimed scholarship and arts training program for teens. Now celebrating its 30th year, Spotlight has transformed the lives of more than 45,000 students across Southern California since its launch in 1988. 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 college preparedness and workforce readiness skills.

The Music Center named semifinalists in each of seven categories, including acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental. 

“For three decades, The Music Center’s Spotlight program has been a cornerstone of The Music Center’s arts education initiatives. The program exemplifies our commitment to ensuring students of all levels have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential. Each year, we look forward to advancing the journey of these talented young people as they participate in the Spotlight program, where they explore their craft, refine their skills and discover their full potential,” said Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center. “No matter a student’s artistic dream, we want to empower each one to thrive on and off the stage.”

“As a pathway to both artistic and personal growth, Spotlight encourages students to strive for their personal best,” said Jeri Gaile, director of The Music Center’s Spotlight program. “Students who participate in Spotlight have access to personalized training and mentorship opportunities that instill self-confidence, elevate self-esteem and prepare them to excel in life, no matter their future pursuits.”

Approximately 1,450 participants auditioned for Spotlight this year, with students representing more than 300 schools, 200 cities and seven counties.

Semifinalists receive a rare opportunity to attend a special master class in their genre with highly regarded artists, who share their expertise on performance technique, training and professional life. Students receive 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 The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall in the Spotlight Grand Finale Performance on June 5, 2018.

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 category with the Merit Award, which acknowledges students who inspire the judges by their commitment and dedication to their art form. Spotlight Merit 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 Guan Zhai, 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.

Click here for a complete list of semifinalists.

About The Music Center

The Music Center is Los Angeles’ home to the world’s greatest artistic programs and events with four iconic theatres and an outdoor plaza. In addition to its four-renowned resident companies – Center Theatre Group, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera and LA Phil – The Music Center presents an international dance series, free and low-cost public programming and special events and activities for all ages. From its early days, The Music Center has been a pioneer in arts education and offers a multi-faceted program from K-12. With The Music Center On Location,™ the non-profit performing arts organization brings programming to locations outside of its Downtown Los Angeles campus. The Music Center also programs and manages Grand Park, a 12-acre adjacent greenspace, with year-round free programming. For more information, visit musicenter.org Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@MusicCenterLA).

The Music Center is Los Angeles’ home to the world’s greatest artistic programs and events with four iconic theatres and an outdoor plaza. In addition to its four-renowned resident companies – Center Theatre Group, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera and LA Phil – The Music Center presents an international dance series, free and low-cost public programming and special events and activities for all ages. From its early days, The Music Center has been a pioneer in arts education and offers a multi-faceted program from K-12. With The Music Center On Location,™ the non-profit performing arts organization brings programming to locations outside of its Downtown Los Angeles campus. The Music Center also programs and manages Grand Park, a 12-acre adjacent greenspace, with year-round free programming. For more information, visit musicenter.org Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@MusicCenterLA).

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