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. Among these were Cole Davis from Crescenta Valley High School and Cara Pogossian and Ethan Moffitt of Verdugo Academy.
Semifinalists were named in each of seven categories, including acting, ballet, non-classical dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental.
“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 who 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.
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.