Songbook Academy All-Stars to perform Jan. 7

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Each summer, the Great American Songbook Foundation brings together 40 of the nation’s top high school vocalists for its weeklong Songbook Academy® and competition.

Only one is named Songbook Youth Ambassador for the coming year, performing with foundation founder Michael Feinstein at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center.

At 8 p.m. Jan. 7, for the first time, the foundation will welcome back all seven of its previous ambassadors when the Center for the Performing Arts presents the inaugural Songbook Academy® All-Stars concert, a special evening of music at the Palladium in Carmel. Tickets are on sale now at TheCenterPresents.org/tickets.

The performers, most of whom have launched professional careers even while still in high school or college, will include:

  • Julia Bonnett of Carmel, who was named the very first Songbook Youth Ambassador in 2009 and performed with Feinstein and David Hyde Pierce at the Center for the Performing Arts gala opening celebration in 2011. She has since appeared with the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and Indiana Wind Symphony and played top roles at Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre and Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre
  • Annie Yokom (2010) of Chicago, who has appeared in regional theater across the country and made her national television debut on Fox’s “Prison Break.”
  • Nick Ziobro (2012) of Manlius, N.Y., who has appeared on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and recorded his Feinstein-produced debut album, “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” with help from guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, bassist Jay Leonhart and other jazz greats.
  • Julia Goodwin (2013) of Baldwinsville, N.Y., who was featured on Michael Feinstein’s PBS New Year’s Eve special and has appeared on “America’s Got Talent” and ABC’s “Inside Edition.”
  • Maddie Baillio (2014) of League City, Texas, who recently landed the coveted role of Tracy Turnblad in the upcoming NBC production “Hairspray Live!,” which airs Dec. 7 with a cast that also includes Jennifer Hudson, Harvey Fierstein, Martin Short and Ariana Grande.
  • Lucas DeBard (2015) of Lebanon, Ind., who is studying music education and jazz at Indiana University and performed over the holidays at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York City.
  • Brighton Thomas (2016) of Burbank, Calif., who will perform throughout the U.S. over the coming year and make her NYC debut Dec. 16 at Feinstein’s/54 Below.

Backed by bass, drums and piano, the singers will perform solo and in duets and trios with their peers, performing tunes that represent their current careers as well as their original Songbook Academy® performances. The Songbook Academy® is the nation’s only summer music intensive for high school students that focuses solely on the timeless popular music of the early- to mid-20th century, including jazz standards, Broadway and Hollywood tunes and classic compositions by the great Tin Pan Alley songwriters.

The participants, selected from hundreds of applicants nationwide, experience workshops and master classes with world-class mentors, including Broadway veterans, Grammy winners, Emmy winners and educators from top college arts programs, led by five-time Grammy nominee Feinstein. The final competition performance takes place in the state-of-the art, acoustically superior Palladium concert hall for an audience of more than 1,000 people. Next year’s Songbook Academy® will take place July 15 to 22, 2017, at the Palladium in Carmel.


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