A coast-to-coast lineup of rising stars and top students in the performing arts will gather online this month for a virtual holiday presentation presented by Great American Songbook Foundation founder Michael Feinstein.
Featuring alumni from the decade-plus history of the annual Songbook Academy summer intensive, “Twelve Songs of the Season: A Virtual Holiday Special,” will stream online at 8 p.m. Dec. 19. Viewing the one-time webcast is free via YouTube, with registration available at TheSongbook.org/Holiday.
Along with fresh renditions of seasonal classics – “ I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “My Favorite Things,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Let It Snow” and “White Christmas,” among others – “Twelve Songs of the Season” will include historical anecdotes from Feinstein about the featured songs, as well as glimpses of rarely seen artifacts from the Songbook Archives at the Foundation’s home, the Center for the Performing Arts.
Performers will include five-time Grammy nominee Feinstein and several recipients of the Songbook Academy’s top honor, the Songbook Youth Ambassador Award: Julia Bonnett (2009), Annie Yokom (2010), Nick Ziobro (2012), Julia Goodwin (2013) and Sadie Fridley (2019).
Also featured are 2014 Songbook Youth Ambassador Maddie Baillio, who starred in NBC’s “Hairspray Live!” and appears alongside Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel and an all-star cast in the upcoming film adaptation of “Cinderella,” and 16-year-old Anaïs Reno, a 2018 Songbook Academy alumna who has performed at Birdland and Feinstein’s/54 Below in Manhattan and recently was listed among “the next generation of cabaret showstoppers” by the New York Times. Nearly a dozen additional alumni of the program studying at universities and pursuing professional careers across the country also will be featured.
“There is no better example of the enduring power of the American Songbook than the holiday music we sing each year, and that’s the message behind this special program,” stated Christopher Lewis, executive director of the Songbook Foundation. “Michael will share the history he knows so well about these beloved songs and their writers, and our Songbook Academy alumni are the ideal performers to bring those songs to life.”
The Songbook Academy is the only national youth music program dedicated to America’s timeless popular standards – the songs of Tin Pan Alley, Broadway, Hollywood and the jazz tradition. Each year, 40 of the nation’s top high school vocalists are selected for a week of intensive instruction, performance and mentoring by Broadway performers, leading arts educators and entertainment industry professionals.
Songbook Academy 2021 is scheduled for July 17-24, 2021. The application process opens Dec. 15 on at app.getacceptd.com/songbookacademy.