The scholarship singing competition, Shining Star CLE
, completed its second annual show this weekend, with Dazzle Award Finalist
Hannah Kulawiak of Aurora High School taking home the top prize.
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.
"I thought this year was incredible," music director Jordan Cooper tells Scene
. In addition to running the music direction for the finals, Cooper spends the months leading up to the performance coaching and selecting the finalists along with a separate panel of judges. This year there were nearly 200 students representing about 80 high schools in eight counties, including home-schooled students who auditioned for the show.
Last night, at the Ohio Theatre in Playhouse Square, the top 10 finalists delivered powerhouse performances in front of sold-out crowd and great panel of judges, including Rashad V. Chambers, Founder and President of Esquire Entertainment, Musical performer, Liz Huff, Mark Pedowitz, President of The CW Television network, Cleveland performer, Tina Stump and Carl Topilow, Artistic Director and Conductor of the Cleveland Pops Orchestra.
"Yes, the kids are insanely talented, but my favorite part is the community that is built," says Cooper. "They truly become friends, they literally all sat backstage and cheered for each other. I couldn't get them to go to the dressing rooms, they were even there cheering for the alternates."
After a stunning show by the top 10 performers, the final four were announced. Delia Brennan from Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School came in fourth, Adriana Holst from Chagrin Falls High School took third, Dylan Grosh-Hoy of Brecksville-Broadview Heights High was the first runner up, but ultimately, it was Kulawiak's rendition of the Academy Award nominated, "Journey To The Past," from Anastasia
that earned the $10,000 scholarship.
"It's an event I took on not knowing that it would become something I'm deeply passionate about," says Cooper. "At first it was just a fun thing I could do to raise money for Montefiore, but it is about so, so much more now."
Along with the $10,000 college scholarship, Kulawiak will also have the opportunity to perform with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra at Severance Hall, as well as a bonus prize of $2,500 to the Aurora high school music department. Grosh-Hoy was awarded a $5,000 college scholarship, Holst was given a $2,500 college scholarship and Brennan won a $1,000 college scholarship.