2020 Overture Awards Finals Competition And Awards Ceremony Announced at Aronoff Center

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2020 Overture Awards Finals Competition And Awards Ceremony Announced at Aronoff Center

The Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) is proud to present the 2020 Overture Awards Finals Competition. The Overture Awards provides $4,000 to six area high school students for education and training expenses, with eighteen finalists each winning $1,000. The program also provides a $2,500 Arts Educator Award for Excellence in Arts Instruction.

The Overture Awards Finals Competition and Awards Ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 1:00 PM at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Winners will be announced immediately following the competition. Visual Art Finalists Exhibition will showcased in the Aronoff Center's Center Stage Room (adjacent to the Weston Art Gallery on 7th Street) from Tuesday, March 3 - Saturday, March 7, 2020.

This year, 369 students were nominated by their schools or studios to compete in one of six artistic disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. The Overture Awards was developed to recognize, encourage, and reward excellence in the arts among Tri-state students in grades 9-12. It also provides students an opportunity to share their talents and interests among their peers in a supportive environment outside of their individual schools. There are three levels of competition: Regional, Semi-Final, and Final.

The Overture Awards Regionals Competitions were held on January 25 at the Immanuel School of Music, Northern Kentucky University, and Mount Saint Joseph University. The top twenty percent of the competitors in each discipline advanced to the Semi-Finals, which were held at the Aronoff Center on February 6-8. Twenty-five finalists will compete in the Finals Competition at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater on March 7.

Now in its 24th year, The Overture Awards was launched in 1996 by the Cinergy Foundation (now Duke Energy) and Leadership Cincinnati (a program of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber). The Overture Awards is funded and administered by the Cincinnati Arts Association, which operates and manages the Aronoff Center and Music Hall. The Overture Awards also relies on hundreds of volunteers from the community who help raise funds, adjudicate and manage the competitions, and nurture the program.

The 2020 Overture Awards Finalists


  • Sam Bowden, grade 12, Wyoming High School
  • Clara Conover, grade 12, Mount Notre Dame High School
  • Sylvia Nica, grade 12, Cincinnati Country Day School
  • Deeya Prakash, grade 10, Sycamore High School


· Alicia Gan, grade 10, The Seven Hills School / Just Off Broadway

· Judi Hu, grade 12, Mason High School / Bing Yang Chinese Performing Arts Center

· Trista Mullenix, grade 9, School for Creative & Performing Arts / Just Off Broadway

· Ava Sine, grade 12, School for Creative & Performing Arts/ Just Off Broadway


· Kathryn Guo, grade 10, The Seven Hills School / Won-Bin Yim

· Meagan Hipsky, grade 12, Homeschool / Cincinnati Young Artists

· Arun Kamath, grade 11, Sycamore High School / Van Dyke Piano Studio

· Kasey Shao, grade 11, Walnut Hills High School / Ran Dank


· Jalaysia Bell, grade 12, School for Creative & Performing Arts

· Micah Day, grade 12, Turpin High School / Xan Jeffery

· Payton Hines, grade 10, Sycamore High School / Karl Resnik

· Jake Jervis, grade 11, Sycamore High School / McCready Voice Studio


· Gabrielle Grace P. Chiong, grade 12, Walnut Hills High School

· Cailee Plunkett, grade 12, Oak Hills High School

· Olivia Sheldon, grade 12, Indian Hill High School

· Halle West, grade 11, Kings High School


· Anna Gaddie, grade 12, Conner High School / Moss Performing Arts Academy

· Annalyn Gauger, grade 12, School for Creative & Performing Arts / Angela Powell Walker Studio

· Luke Randazzo, grade 10, School for Creative & Performing Arts / Kathy Cammett Studio

· Grant Shields, grade 12, Kings High School / Kathy Cammett Studio

· Mary Wilkens, grade 11, Ursuline Academy / Melody Wallace Studios

The Arts Educator Award promotes and rewards excellence in arts instruction throughout Greater Cincinnati. An educator who teaches any of the following arts disciplines may be nominated: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. They can be a high school arts specialist, teaching artist working with high school students, or an arts professional or educator providing private lessons or instruction. Nominations for the award must come from students between the ages of 14-19 who are currently enrolled in high school. Nominations are made by submitting an on-line application with a three-minute video about why the nominee is an exemplary arts educator.

The winner of the 2020 award will receive $2,500, and two finalists will receive $500 each. The recipients of the Arts Educator Award may utilize the monetary award to strengthen their program or practice, e.g. an artist fee for a guest lecturer or master class, the purchase of equipment, or a professional learning opportunity such as tuition assistance for either the educator or for students to study with the recipient or another professional.

Arts Educator Award Finalists

Matt Eckerle, Notre Dame Academy

Discipline: Visual Art

Nominated by Kenzie Eberhart

Trio Jeng, CCM Prep

Discipline: Vocal Music

Nominated by Ishana Galgali

Melody Wallace, Private Teacher

Discipline: Vocal Music and Piano

Nominated by Ava Huelskamp

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