CAA 2018 Overture Award Winners Announced

CAA 2018 Overture Award Winners Announced

The Cincinnati Arts Association has announced the winners of its Overture Awards Competition, held on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater, and the winner of its Arts Educator Award for Excellence in Arts Instruction. The competition awarded $4,000 to six area students for education and training, with 18 runners-up each winning $1,000, while the Arts Educator Award winner received $2,500 and two finalists were awarded $500 each.

The Overture Awards recognizes, encourages and rewards excellence in the arts among Tri-state students in grades 9-12 and is the area's largest solo arts competition. Students are nominated by their schools and/or private studios to compete in one of six disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. There are three levels of competition: Regional, Semi-Final, and Final.

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. The Arts Educator Award finalists and winner are selected by a panel of judges who are arts professionals.

2018 Overture Awards Winners:

CREATIVE WRITING: Frances Timberlake - grade 12, School for Creative & Performing Arts

HOMETOWN: Clifton, OH - Frances studies Creative Writing at SCPA, where writing became an outgrowth of her love for theater and storytelling. Most recently, Frances was named a National YoungArts Finalist and nominated as a U.S. Presidential Scholar of the Arts, in addition to earning recognition through the National Scholastic Writing Awards.

DANCE: Drake Phouasavanh - grade 12, Conner High School

HOMETOWN: Florence, KY - Drake is a competitive dancer with the Expressions Dance Theatre Sundancer team and a past Overture Awards Finalist. He trains in all dance genres, attended the 2017 Cincinnati Ballet Summer Intensive on a scholarship, and has performed in multiple musical theatre productions.

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC: Kash Sewell - grade 12, Beechwood High School

HOMETOWN: Fort Mitchell, KY - Kash has participated in the Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble, Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts, and Kentucky All-State Bands. He is a well-rounded young man with diverse interests. He practices his saxophone devotedly, not from any sense of obligation, but because of the sheer joy he derives from playing and performing.

THEATER: Ellie O'Hara - grade 11, Notre Dame Academy High School/Marilyn Zelcer Studio

HOMETOWN: Park Hills, KY - Since third grade, Ellie has kept true to her dream of becoming a Broadway actress. She studies with both Marilyn Zelcer at Musical Arts Center and Moss Dance Academy. She has played many roles throughout her career, her favorite being Belle in Beauty and the Beast this past summer. Her ambitions are to pursue musical theatre in college and head to the bright lights of New York.

VISUAL ART: Anne Knellinger - grade 12, Walnut Hills High School

HOMETOWN: Pleasant Ridge, OH - Anne began pursuing her artistic interests at a very young age, and started taking AP Art courses in tenth grade. She has won Gold Keys in the National Scholastic competition. She enjoys volunteering, running cross country, and playing ultimate frisbee with her friends. She plans to pursue a career in design.

VOCAL MUSIC: Natalie Choo - grade 12, Seven Hills School/Karl Resnik Studio

HOMETOWN: Montgomery, OH - Natalie studies voice with Karl Resnik at the Musical Arts Center and participates in the Young Artists Preparatory Program, directed by Lincoln Chapman. She has attended summer programs at the Curtis Institute of Music and CCM. She was a Finalist at the Schmidt Vocal Competition, Finalist for the 2018 YoungArts National Arts Competition, and recently named a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

2018 Arts Educator Award Winner:

Ka-Ron Lehman, University of Cincinnati - College-Conservatory of Music

Discipline: Dance

Nominated by Ndaya Hoskins

The Overture Awards Regional Competitions were held on January 20 at the Northern Kentucky School of Music at Immanuel UMC, Northern Kentucky University, and Mount Saint Joseph University. The top 20 percent of competitors in each discipline advanced to the Semi-Finals, which were held at the Aronoff Center on February 2- 3.

Now in its twenty-second year, The Overture Awards was launched in 1996 by the Cinergy Foundation (now Duke Energy) and Leadership Cincinnati (a program of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce). 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 Overture Awards are endowed by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.

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