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The Music Center Names 113 Southern California High School Students as Semifinalists in The Music Center's 32nd Annual Spotlight Program

Nationally Recognized Arts Training and Scholarship Program Offers More than 1,400 Young Artists Annually a Career Path in the Arts and Opportunities for More than $100,000 in Scholarships

LOS ANGELES (February 27, 2020) – The Music Center named 113 of Southern California's most talented high school students as semifinalists in The Music Center's 32nd annual Spotlight (Spotlight) program, a free nationally acclaimed scholarship and arts training program for teens. Since its launch in 1988, Spotlight has transformed the lives of 49,000 students across Southern California by being more than just a competition. An important part of The Music Center's fundamental support for arts education, the arts training program provides students the opportunity to develop their performance abilities, learn about careers in arts management and receive valuable college preparedness and workforce readiness skills to pursue their dreams in the performing arts. This year, nearly 1,400 teens representing more than 260 schools, 198 cities and eight counties auditioned for the prestigious program.

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

"Spotlight is a prime example of The Music Center's commitment to deepen the cultural lives of all, in this case empowering young, aspiring artists with the skills and tools to explore their potential," said Rachel Moore president and CEO of The Music Center. "This year-long journey has the added benefit of helping these students develop critical life skills that can set them on a path to success, whether or not they pursue a career in the arts."

According to Jeri Gaile, director of The Music Center's Spotlight program, "Spotlight is so much more than just a scholarship program, it's an opportunity for young performers to discover their full potential and push themselves to continue to achieve their goals. What makes this program so unique is not only the amazing talent that goes through the Spotlight process, but also the individuals who discover a new passion for the arts off stage or behind the scenes."

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. Experts provide students with highly valuable 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 Ahmanson Theatre in the Spotlight Grand Finale Performance on May 30, 2020.

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. This year, The Music Center is also partnering with Interlochen Center for the Arts to award all Spotlight semifinalists scholarship dollars to Interlochen's summer camp and Arts Academy for the 2020-2021 academic year. All participants who were selected to participate in the preliminary second round of Spotlight auditions also received scholarship dollars from Interlochen to use toward one of the organization's three- or six-week programs.

Numerous Spotlight participants have gone on to successful professional careers. Twenty-Three 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 dance for American Ballet Theatre; Adam Lambert and Josh Groban, pop recording artists; Kris Bowers, Emmy® Award-winning composer whose work includes Green Book and Dear White People; Lindsay Mendez, Tony Award® winner for her role in the Broadway revival of Carousel and now starring in CBS's new television drama All Rise; Erin Mackey, star of Broadway's Wicked, Sondheim on Sondheim, Anything Goes, Chaplin, and Amazing Grace; Matthew Rushing, associate artistic director for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater; Yao Guang Zhai, associate principal clarinet of the Toronto Symphony; Gerald Clayton, Grammy Award winning jazz recording artist; and many others.

Fredric Roberts is founding chairman of The Music Center's Spotlight program. The late Walter E. Grauman is the creator. This year's Spotlight co-chairs are Pamela and Dennis Beck, Terri and Jerry Koh, and Teresita and Shelby Notkin.

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

See attached for a complete list of semifinalists.

About The Music Center

The Music Center convenes artists, communities and ideas with the goal of deepening the cultural lives of every resident in Los Angeles County. The non-profit performing arts organization has two divisions: TMC Arts and TMC Ops. TMC Arts, The Music Center's programming engine, provides year-round programming inside The Music Center's four theatres, on The Music Center Plaza, outside at Grand Park—a 12-acre adjacent green space—and in schools and other locations all over Los Angeles County. It also presents world-class dance with Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center, free and low-cost public concerts and events, as well as K–12 arts education programs. TMC Ops manages the theatres, the Plaza and Grand Park on behalf of the County of Los Angeles. The Music Center is also home to four renowned resident companies—Center Theatre Group, Los Angeles Master Chorale, LA Opera and LA Phil. For more information, visit musiccenter.org. Follow The Music Center on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @MusicCenterLA.

The Music Center's 32nd Annual Spotlight Program Semifinalists 

Full Name

Program

Home City

School

Grade

Benjamin Conn

Jazz Instrumental

Agoura Hills

Agoura High School

12

Victoria Meitch

Non-Classical Dance

Anaheim

Canyon High School - Anaheim

9

Clarisse Cao

Classical Voice

Arcadia

Arcadia High School

12

Megan Colton

Non-Classical Voice

Arcadia

Arcadia High School

11

Shengyu Meng

Classical Instrumental

Arcadia

IQ Academy California

12

Bradley Moon

Ballet

Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills High School

11

Sophia Boghosian

Ballet

Beverly Hills

Marlborough School

10

Gabriela Beltran

Classical Instrumental

Carlsbad

La Costa Canyon High School

12

Ethan Cruz

Non-Classical Voice

Chula Vista

San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

11

Lucy Cox

Ballet

Claremont

Inspire Charter School

10

Julian Menendez

Non-Classical Dance

Costa Mesa

Costa Mesa High School

10

Jordan Anderson

Acting

Covina

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

11

Juan Carballo

Jazz Instrumental

Downey

Downey High School

12

Keegan McGowan

Non-Classical Voice

Encinitas

La Costa Canyon High School

9

Atalia Zahrndt

Non-Classical Voice

Fullerton

La Habra High School

12

Sophia Scarsi

Non-Classical Voice

Fullerton

El Dorado High School

12

Tyla Uzo

Acting

Gardena

Ramon C. Cortines High School

11

Anoush Pogossian

Classical Instrumental

Glendale

Verdugo Academy

12

Yael Jeshion-Nelson

Acting

Glendale

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

11

Chloe Capulong

Ballet

Huntington Beach

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

10

Daisy Tye

Non-Classical Voice

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach High School

12

Brian Muñoz

Classical Voice

Huntington Park

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

12

Andrea Hernández

Ballet

Idyllwild-Pine Cove

Idyllwild Arts Academy

12

Jalyn Flowers

Non-Classical Dance

Inglewood

Los Angeles High School of the Arts - LAHSA

10

Albert Gang

Classical Instrumental

Irvine

Sage Hill School

12

Allen Cai

Classical Voice

Irvine

Santa Margarita Catholic High School

9

Amala Neervannan

Non-Classical Dance

Irvine

Northwood High School

12

Ashley Lew

Ballet

Irvine

Capistrano Connections Academy

11

Elizabeth Minerman

Classical Voice

Irvine

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

12

Eunice Lee

Classical Instrumental

Irvine

Arnold O. Beckman High School

11

Kailyn Yi

Non-Classical Dance

Irvine

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

10

Kevin Corrigan

Classical Voice

Irvine

Woodbridge High School

11

Maya Coyne

Non-Classical Dance

Irvine

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

11

Valerie Chen

Non-Classical Dance

Irvine

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

12

Elise Ancu

Ballet

La Cañada Flintridge

Home Schooled

9

JJ Lybbert

Jazz Instrumental

Laguna Beach

California Connections

9

Tatiana Cloobeck

Non-Classical Voice

Laguna Beach

St. Margaret's Episcopal High School

11

Jacob Alvarado

Ballet

Laguna Niguel

Inspire Charter School

10

Makoto Yorihiro

Jazz Instrumental

Lake Sherwood

Century Academy

12

Santiago Lopez

Jazz Instrumental

Long Beach

Los Alamitos High School

11

Louie Gallagher

Acting

Los Alamitos

Los Alamitos High School

12

Albert Gonzalez

Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Alliance Dr. Olga Mohan High School

12

Alex Lui

Jazz Instrumental

Los Angeles

Venice High School

12

Alondra Santos

Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

12

Amelia Baker

Acting

Los Angeles

Ramon C. Cortines High School

12

Angie Villela

Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Opportunities for Learning (Baldwin Park II)

12

August Macdonald

Acting

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

12

Charlie Faragher

Jazz Instrumental

Los Angeles

Hamilton High School

12

Cole Turkel

Classical Instrumental

Los Angeles

Oak Crest Academy

11

Declan Houlihan

Jazz Instrumental

Los Angeles

Hamilton High School

11

Emmanuel Yoque

Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Ramon C. Cortines High School

12

Ethan Avery

Jazz Instrumental

Los Angeles

Home Schooled

12

Ethan Remez-Cott

Acting

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

12

Evan Klein

Acting

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

11

Fengyang (William) Ju

Classical Instrumental

Los Angeles

Colburn Music Academy

10

Fletcher Jones

Acting

Los Angeles

Ramon C. Cortines High School

12

Hannah Nordberg

Non-Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Campbell Hall

10

Isabella Cotrone

Ballet

Los Angeles

Home Schooled

9

Jana Faye Teruel

Ballet

Los Angeles

Home Schooled

10

Jater Webb

Non-Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Chaminade College Preparatory High School - Canoga

12

Joseph Lesher-Liao

Non-Classical Dance

Los Angeles

Harvard-Westlake (Upper)

12

Laila Stewart

Acting

Los Angeles

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

12

Leila Johnson

Non-Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Champs Charter High School of the Arts

12

Leila Williams

Non-Classical Dance

Los Angeles

Windward School

12

Leo Major

Jazz Instrumental

Los Angeles

Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences

12

Lucas Wurman

Non-Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences

12

Margaret Mothersbaugh

Ballet

Los Angeles

Home Schooled

10

Olivia Salazar

Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Mayfield Senior School of the Holy Child Jesus

11

Raven Adair

Jazz Instrumental

Los Angeles

Hamilton High School

12

Shanxiaoyang Gao

Classical Instrumental

Los Angeles

Home Schooled

11

Sophie Pollono

Non-Classical Voice

Los Angeles

Chaminade College Preparatory High School - Canoga

9

Tovah Zafrin

Acting

Los Angeles

Ramon C. Cortines High School

11

Wenlan Jackson

Classical Instrumental

Los Angeles

Colburn Music Academy

12

Ava Giles

Ballet

Malibu

Stanford University Online High School

11

Tali Papouchado

Acting

Manhattan Beach

Vistamar School

12

Jordan Demary

Non-Classical Dance

Menifee

Murrieta Valley High School

11

Thomas Fekete

Non-Classical Dance

Murrieta

Murrieta Mesa High School

12

Catherine Johnston

Classical Voice

Newport Beach

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

11

Savea Kagan

Non-Classical Dance

Northridge

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

12

Mackenzie Auger

Non-Classical Dance

Orange

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

12

Kate Spaulding

Ballet

Palos Verdes Estates

Palos Verdes High School

10

Aidan Rawlinson

Non-Classical Voice

Pasadena

Polytechnic High School (Pasadena)

12

Gihanna Kelly

Non-Classical Voice

Redlands

Encore High School for the Arts

11

Estefani Lopez

Classical Voice

Riverside

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

11

Rena Maduro

Classical Voice

Riverside

North (John W.) High School

12

Amelia Aguilar

Classical Voice

Rosemead

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

11

Amelia Aguilar

Non-Classical Voice

Rosemead

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

11

Mi-Hyun Suh

Classical Instrumental

Rowland Heights

Diamond Bar High School

11

Risa Schapiro

Jazz Instrumental

San Diego

Mt. Everest Academy

12

Skylar Lehr-Bryant

Classical Voice

San Marino

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

12

Travis Roy Rogers

Non-Classical Voice

Santa Clarita

Valencia High School

12

Pearl Vaynman

Classical Voice

Santa Monica

Santa Monica High School

12

Jessie Franks

Acting

Sierra Madre

California School of the Arts – San Gabriel Valley

11

Daniel Wang

Classical Instrumental

Simi Valley

Westlake High School

9

Hannah Gansert

Acting

Simi Valley

Sierra Canyon  - Upper School

11

Andy Park

Classical Instrumental

South Pasadena

Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences

12

Jayla Jones

Acting

Sunland-Tujunga

Verdugo Hills High School

12

Jason Pieters

Non-Classical Dance

Temecula

Temecula Valley High School

10

Kai Burns

Jazz Instrumental

Temple City

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts - LACHSA

11

David Lee

Jazz Instrumental

Torrance

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

11

Sarah Senefsky

Non-Classical Dance

Tustin

Foothill High School

11

Kevin Cho

Classical Instrumental

Valencia

West Ranch High School

11

Rosalind Jewett

Acting

Venice

Santa Monica High School

12

Andrew Shi

Classical Instrumental

Walnut

Diamond Bar High School

10

Kyle Kato

Classical Instrumental

Walnut

Diamond Bar High School

12

Lawrence Wu

Classical Instrumental

West Covina

Diamond Bar High School

11

Cole Petridis

Jazz Instrumental

Westlake Village

Agoura High School

10

Gianna Pedregon

Jazz Instrumental

Whittier

Orange County School of the Arts - OCSA

11

Bergundi Loyd

Ballet

Wildomar

Home Schooled

10

Bergundi Loyd

Non-Classical Dance

Wildomar

Home Schooled

10

Keara Nichols

Ballet

Winchester

Home Schooled

11

Chloe Kinzler

Ballet

Winnetka

Granada Hills Charter High School

10

# # #

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