Michael Feinstein to Introduce 2014 Songbook Academy Winner, Madelyn Baillio, at Birdland, 12/16

On Dec. 16, Michael Feinstein is slated to introduce teen vocalist Madelyn Baillio as part of his limited engagement at Birdland Jazz Club. Baillio is the winner of the 2014 Great American Songbook Academy, a project founded by Michael Feinstein.

" I created the Songbook Academy to foster young artists who have an interest in the American Songbook, which includes the music of classic Broadway, Jazz standards, and popular music. Through this program, we are reaching a new generation to teach the music of the American Songbook and the history that inspired and influenced its composers," said Michael Feinstein, founder of the program and the organization called the Great American Songbook Foundation.

Baillio, an 18-year-old from League City, TX, sang two American standards at the July Academy: "Misty," and "Murder, He Says." As the first place winner she received the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to perform with Michael Feinstein during his engagement at Birdland Jazz Club.

As first place winner Baillio is serving as the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador for one year and will have multiple opportunities to perform throughout the year.

Baillio is now a freshman at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, where she studies theatre. She has sung tunes from the Songbook recorded by Ella Fitzgerald and Betty Hutton among others, and was drawn to the music because the lyrics and melodies were so genuine and truthful. She believes the music has staying power because there is so much heart and wit written into each lyric.

Baillio joined eleven other high school vocalists at the week-long academy, held in the Indiana city of Carmel. The annual event is sponsored by the Great American Songbook Foundation and is the only U.S. high school program dedicated solely to the music from Broadway, Hollywood musicals and the Tin Pan Alley era of the early to mid-twentieth century.

The December 16 performance will mark the kick-off for the 2015 Songbook Academy. The application will be available online at www.TheSongbook.org until March 25, 2015. High school students grades 9-12 have the opportunity to participate. Forty students will be invited to the Songbook Foundation's headquarters in Carmel, IN, July 18-25, 2015, to participate in a seven-day academy on interpreting and performing the music of the Great American Songbook.

Five-time Grammy nominee, Michael Feinstein, and other top music industry professionals will conduct workshops and master classes throughout the week. The final performance will be held in the 1,600 seat Palladium Concert Hall at the Center for the Performing Arts.

Students will be eligible for various awards and recognition opportunities. One student will be awarded the title of Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador and the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to perform with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein. The Youth Ambassador will serve for one year and will have opportunities to perform throughout the year.

Participation in the Songbook Academy is open to high school students who are U.S. residents and live in the continental United States.

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