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Meet the Arts Council's 2013 Rising Star Award Finalists

Ten Rising Star Finalists will compete for a cash prize of $5,000 at the Arts Council's 16th Annual Celebration of the Arts in Howard County gala on March 23.

The Howard County Arts Council, in its 32nd year of service to the public of Howard County, presents the 16th Annual Celebration of the Arts in Howard County on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at the Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center, Howard Community College (HCC), Columbia, MD. Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, President of HCC, will serve as Honorary Chair.  Richard W. Story, Senior Vice President for Marketing, JPB Enterprises, Inc. will emcee the event.

The Celebration is a multi-faceted signature event, showcasing and promoting the arts and raising funds in support of the arts, artists, and arts organizations in Howard County.  One of the highlights of the 2013 Celebration is the Rising Star Emerging Performing Artist Award Competition, in which ten finalists will compete for a cash prize of $5,000. In December, individual performing artists and small ensembles — aged 18 to 35 years and currently or recently living, working, performing regularly, or receiving training in Howard County — auditioned before a panel of professionals in their discipline.  Review criteria included artistic merit, demonstrated experience in the arts, and commitment to a career in the arts. 

The Rising Star finalists will perform at the Celebration before an audience of artists, arts patrons, business and political representatives, and community members who will select the winner by popular vote. The award will be presented on stage that evening! 

The ten finalists performing at the Celebration are MaryLee Adams (Musical Theatre); Mary Matthews & Melissa Wertheimer, Dahlia Flute Duo; James Ginnever (Musical Theatre); Rebecca Hargrove (Classical Voice); Margaret Kudirka (Dance); Shawn Naar (Monologue); Woobin Park (Piano); Margo Seibert (Musical Theatre); Tian Lu & Yuri Shadrin, Shadrin & Lu Piano Duo; and Jennifer Sung (Classical Voice).

MaryLee Adams (Musical Theatre)

MaryLee Adams is a graduate of Wilde Lake High School and winner of the 2006 Baltimore Cappie Award.  She went on to attend Catholic University and works extensively at Toby's Dinner Theatre.  Some of her credits include Gabriella in High School Musical, Mimi in Rent, Sister Leo in Nunsense, and Penny in Hairspray, a role which earned her a 2011 Helen Hayes Nomination.  She also performs regionally and has been seen in the feature films Respire, The Blinds, and Jamesy Boy and on television in House of Cards and America's Most Wanted

Mary Matthews and Melissa Wertheimer, Dahlia Flute Duo

Mary Matthews and Melissa Wertheimer formed the Dahlia Flute Duo at the Peabody Institute in 2008.  Flute, alto flute, and piccolo virtuosi, the Duo has premiered numerous works throughout the country and has recently been named Chamber Ensemble-in-Residence for the 2013 Women Composers Festival of Hartford.  In 2010 the Duo was recognized for excellence in educational outreach through a Yamaha Grant which funded a three-part lecture and recital series in Columbia.  Melissa is on the faculty at HCC and the Duo has performed locally through Candlelight Concerts.

James Ginnever (Musical Theatre)

James Ginnever is an actor, singer, and dancer who loves to entertain.  He has been in the national tours of Cats, where he played Plato/Macavity, and Wicked, where he was a flying monkey.  Other credits include Sweet Charity, West Side Story, Grease, and Damn Yankees. James has also been seen on SNL and in Step Up 2, and just finished a webisode called SugarBoy, directed by Dan Opsal.  He currently lives in Columbia. 

Rebecca Hargrove (Classical Voice)

Rebecca Hargrove began her musical studies in Howard County studying piano with Lafraiga Jackson and musical theatre with Toby's, and singing with the Howard County Chorus.  She later attended the Baltimore School for the Arts and performed with the BSO and received honors from the Ebony Classical Singers Competition and the National Young Arts Foundation.  She holds a B.M. from Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  While at Oberlin she made her operatic debut in the Ohio premiere of William Bolcom's A Wedding

Margaret Kudirka (Dance)

Margaret Kudirka is a lifelong resident of Ellicott City and a senior at Towson University.   She is a member of Ballet ADI and the Towson University Dance Company where she has performed leading roles in both classical and contemporary works.  Her original choreography No Regrets was selected for the 2012 American College Dance Festival Gala Concert.  After graduation, she hopes to join a professional ballet company. 

Shawn Naar (Monologue)

Shawn Naar is a graduate of Wilde Lake High School and resident of Columbia.  While at Wilde Lake, he was a student of Tracy Adler, whom he credits as his most influential instructor to date.  His most memorable roles are Mortimer Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace and EZone in the Washington, D.C. premier of The Name Game.  Determined to make his passion a career, he is currently studying acting at HCC and plans to transfer to a university in the fall. 

Woobin Park (Piano)

Woobin Park has appeared at venues throughout the U.S. and Korea.  She has participated in a number of master classes, performing for pianists Lazar Berman, Claude Frank, and Alexander Starkman among others.  She has won numerous competitions including the 2004 Liszt International Piano Competition and first prize in the 2007 Elinor Watson Bell Competition in Minneapolis.  She holds a B.M. from Ewha Womans University (Seoul, Korea), an M.M. from Indiana University, and a D.M.A. in piano performance from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.  She has also taught piano privately in Howard County.

Margo Seibert (Musical Theatre)

Margo Seibert debuted in a production of Evita at Toby’s Dinner Theatre when she was sixteen and has gone on to perform at the Folger Theatre, Kennedy Center, Barrow Street Theatre, and Olney Theatre Center.  Her Howard County roots gave her a support network that took her from the stage at Glenelg High School to a vibrant career on the stages of Washington, DC.  She is a graduate of American University and currently lives in New York City where she is pursuing her dream of being a performer.

Tian Lu & Yuri Shadrin, Shadrin & Lu Piano Duo

Tian Lu and Yury Shadrin are both pursuing their graduate degrees at the Peabody Institute, where they study under Leon Fleisher and Kathy Jacobson Fleisher.  While both are active soloists, they have enjoyed playing regionally as a duo since 2008.  Their upcoming concerts include performances with BSO members and a tour in China.  Tian currently leads the adult and youth choirs at Christ Episcopal Church in Columbia. 

Jennifer Sung (Classical Voice)

Jennifer Sung is a student at the Manhattan School of Music.  Born and raised in Ellicott City, she has appeared in a number of operas including Hansel and Gretel, L'elisir d'amore, Die Zauberflöte, and Don Pasquale.  She has performed in many recitals, including a concert tour in upstate New York, and has won numerous awards in competitions such as the National Opera Association competition, LISMA International Competition, and Maryland Distinguished Talent in Arts competition.

Tickets to the 16th Annual Celebration of the Arts in Howard County are available online at www.hocoarts.org or by phone at 410-313-ARTS (2787). 

 

 

 

 

 

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