High School Singers Get Chance at $10,000 Scholarship Through Shining Star CLE


The 2017 Top Four Competitors Sing Their Hearts Out - SHINING STARS CLE | FACEBOOK
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  • The 2017 Top Four Competitors Sing Their Hearts Out

The scholarship singing competition Shining Star CLE is back in action this year, once again offering a grand prize of $10,000. Any high school student in grades 9-12 (as of October 2018) in Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage or Summit counties (including home-schooled students) are eligible to enter this entry-fee free performance based competition, but the video submission process closes July 1.

Shining Star CLE is the brainchild of Montefiore, a leader in senior health care, as they were looking for an exciting new way to raise awareness and funds to support their Alzheimer's and Dementia unit within their facility.

As there is a deep link between memory care and music, Montefiore came up with the idea of funding a scholarship competition that would access the extremely talented pool of young people that live in Cleveland, while also bringing that energy and music into the halls of Montefiore.

"Shining Star CLE is not only a solo singing competition for high school students in Northeastern Ohio, but is a great way to connect communities and fund a brighter future," Artistic Director Jordan Cooper tells Scene.

These kids have been born and bred in a culture of reality television shows where cruel dream-crushing has been normalized. So Shining Star CLE is an opportunity to foster new growth and provide an encouraging environment for new artists.

"Yes, it’s a competition and there is a winner," Cooper says, "But, every step along the journey is tailored to inspire and support. There is no Simon Cowell waiting to attack."

The selection process is very simple. There is an open enrollment period where the students choose a song that best suits their voice and personality.

All of the video submissions are reviewed by a team of music professionals, and a select number of students are invited to a live audition to sing a portion of their song for Cooper's team, consisting of Cleveland performers Nicole Sumlin and Kate Michalski.

The Top 25 who make it past the live auditions are invited to a semifinal workshop where the students get to know one another, conduct personal interviews, do some group singing and are then given a chance to perform their song as a whole.

"During this workshop, we are given the chance to get to know these brilliant kids as people and as artists," says Cooper. "It’s a day to start truly building the community."

After the semifinals, the Top 10 (including two alternates) are invited to perform their piece onstage live at the Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square. This event is a fully realized production and is hosted by WKYC’s Monica Robins.

From theTtop 10, four are chosen by a panel of Grand Finale judges and the winning performer is chosen by the audience.

Last year's winner was Madelyn Wanke of Notre Dame Cathedral Latin in Chardon.

Cooper realizes the severity of performing in a venue like the Ohio Theatre, but encourages any and all eligible singers to submit an audition video.

"The bottom line is everyone is afraid to perform. No matter how much you love to sing, there are times when singing can be terrifying," he says. "Don’t let that hold you back. We aren’t looking for perfection. We aren’t looking for polish. We are looking for a new voice."

First place awards a $10,000 college scholarship and the opportunity to perform with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra at Severance Hall, as well as a bonus prize of $2,500 to the first place winner's high school music department. Second place is awarded a $5,000 college scholarship, third place is given a $2,500 college scholarship and fourth place wins a $1,000 college scholarship.

Video entries are due no later than July 1, and can be submitted by clicking here.

For a look at last year's competition, check out the video below.

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