The Music Center has announced that 112 high school students have advanced as semifinalists in the 35th annual Spotlight program, a free performing arts competition, scholarship and artistic development program for teens. More than 1,300 teens representing more than 245 schools, 170 cities and eight counties auditioned for the program this year.
The Music Center’s programming entity TMC Arts oversees Spotlight, which offers advice, coaching, auditions and mastery classes for teens taught by professional artists and arts administrators in acting, ballet, dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental. The program recognizes and rewards participants throughout the competition with more than $100,000 in scholarships. To date, the Music Center has given more than $2.7 million to teens.
All Spotlight applicants receive written feedback from judges following each audition round to help them improve their performing arts discipline. Spotlight provides students with an opportunity to develop and hone their performance abilities, receive college preparedness skills and gain confidence. Students also develop self-esteem, preparation and perseverance skills.
“For many participants, Spotlight is their first step in the journey toward a successful future in the arts,” said Rachel S. Moore, president and CEO of the Music Center. “We are proud to have provided thousands of aspiring young people with the opportunity to hone their skills and explore their potential. Congratulations to this year’s Spotlight semifinalists for advancing this far in the competition. Your passion for the arts is making Los Angeles – and the world – a better and more joyful place.”
Each semifinalist will next 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 recipient in each category. The grand prize finalists will perform in the Music Center’s Spotlight Grand Finale on Thursday, June 8, at 7 p.m., in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.
“Every year, our Spotlight judges are wowed by the artistic caliber of hundreds of students, and this year is no exception,” said Jeri Gaile, the Fredric Roberts director of the Music Center’s Spotlight program. “The Music Center launched this program 35 years ago because we recognized the enormous potential of young artists that deserved to be discovered and uplifted. Spotlight is not only an exploration of students’ artistic skills but also a vessel to help them develop as valuable contributors to the world.”
Grand prize finalists each receive $5,000 scholarships, and honorable mention recipients in each category receive $1,000. Semifinalists each receive $500. The Music Center also celebrates 10 students in each category with a merit award, which acknowledges those who inspire the judges by their commitment and dedication. Each merit award recipient receives $100.
A new application period for the Spotlight program opens in June. For information, visit musiccenter. org/spotlight.