The Music Center & KCET Present SPOTLIGHT VIRTUAL GRAND FINALE Featuring Lindsay Mendez, Josh Groban and More

WATCH ON: September 9, 2020, at 8:00 p.m. PT on KCET September 19, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. PT on PBS SoCal.

By: Aug. 25, 2020
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

The Music Center & KCET Present SPOTLIGHT VIRTUAL GRAND FINALE Featuring Lindsay Mendez, Josh Groban and More

The Music Center and KCET have announced an expansion of their broadcast partnership with the upcoming airing of the 32nd annual Music Center Spotlight Virtual Grand Finale on KCET as part of its weekly arts and culture series, SOUTHLAND SESSIONS on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, at 8:00 p.m., and on its sister station PBS SoCal (KOCE) on Saturday, September 19, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. The two public broadcast channels also air the annual broadcast of the L.A. County Holiday Celebration, a Los Angeles tradition since 1959 that is produced by The Music Center and performed at The Music Center's Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

The Music Center's Spotlight is a free nationally recognized annual arts training and scholarship program for Southern California high school students of all talents and abilities. In addition to mentoring throughout the year-long program, including classes with experts, audition opportunities and life skills advice, each finalist receives a $5,000 cash scholarship and the opportunity for a finale performance. The Music Center's Spotlight Virtual Grand Finale broadcast on KCET and PBS SoCal features Tony Award® winner and Spotlight alum Lindsay Mendez as host, along with performances by each grand prize finalist, an inside look at each finalist's Spotlight experience and messages from notable Spotlight alumni including Misty Copeland, Josh Groban, Matthew Rushing and Melinda Sullivan. The Music Center's Spotlight Virtual Grand Finale was produced by The Music Center in association with Hashtag You're It and directed by Nicole Alexander.

With its campus closed due to COVID-19, The Music Center transitioned the final round of Spotlight auditions from the usual in-person tryouts to online video submissions as well as the finale performance, which traditionally has the finalists performing on stage at The Music Center before a live audience. The Music Center's Spotlight Virtual Grand Finale performance took place as an online event and benefit, premiering on May 30, 2020, on The Music Center Offstage digital platform.

"The Music Center's first-ever virtual Spotlight finale celebrates the talent and perseverance of Southern California's most talented teens as they completed their year-long Spotlight journey," said Rachel S. Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center. "We are thrilled to have this wonderful opportunity with KCET's SOUTHLAND SESSIONS and PBS SoCal to showcase the artistry of these students to even more people and to share the merits of Spotlight with their audiences who appreciate quality arts and culture programming."

"The Music Center plays a vital role in the cultural life of Southern California-it has been a part of Los Angeles tradition for more than 60 years. We are excited that this collaboration will help bring arts and culture to millions of viewers at home during a time when it's much needed," said Chief Creative Officer of KCET Juan Devis. "Southern California is home to one of the most important cultural communities in the world and we have an undeniable responsibility to our high school students of all talents and abilities to share their impressive performances."

The Music Center's Spotlight Grand Prize Finalists include two finalists in each of seven categories: acting, ballet, dance, classical voice, non-classical voice, classical instrumental and jazz instrumental. Performing during the KCET and PBS SoCal broadcasts are the Spotlight 2020 Grand Prize Finalists (age, grade and school as of May 2020):

Acting: Tyla Uzo, 16, a junior at Ramon C. Cortines High School (Los Angeles), and Evan Klein, 17, a junior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (Los Angeles);

Ballet: Jacob Jovanni Alvarado, 16, a sophomore at Cabrillo Point Academy of Inspire Charter Schools (San Diego), and Ashley Lew, 16, a junior at Capistrano Connections Academy (San Juan Capistrano);

Non-Classical Dance: Maya Alvarez-Coyne, 16, a junior at Orange County School of the Arts (Santa Ana), and Bergundi Loyd, 15, a home-schooled sophomore (Riverside);

Classical Voice: Estefani Lopez, 17, a junior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (Los Angeles), and Rena Maduro, 17, a senior at North (John W.) High School (Riverside);

Non-Classical Voice: Amelia Aguilar, 16, a junior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (Los Angeles), and Daisy Tye, 17, a senior at Huntington Beach High School (Huntington Beach);

Classical Instrumental: Anoush Pogossian (clarinet), 17, a senior at Verdugo Academy (Glendale), and Albert Gang (violin), 17, a senior at Sage Hill School (Newport Beach);

Jazz Instrumental: Ethan Avery (trumpet), 18, a home-schooled senior (Los Angeles), and Kai Burns (guitar), 16, a junior at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (Los Angeles).

Nearly 1,400 teens representing more than 260 schools, 198 cities and eight California counties auditioned for the prestigious program this year. The finalists succeeded after three rounds of auditions and attended master classes that provided one-on-one coaching and detailed feedback on their performance techniques and skills by leading experts in acting, ballet, dance, classical and non-classical voice, and classical and jazz instrumental.

Since its launch in 1988, Spotlight has transformed the lives of 49,000 students across Southern California by being more than just a competition. An important part of The Music Center's fundamental support for arts education, the arts training program provides students the opportunity to develop their performance abilities, learn about careers in arts management and receive valuable college preparedness and workforce readiness skills to pursue their dreams in the performing arts. Numerous Spotlight participants have gone on to successful professional careers, including those appearing in The Music Center's 32nd annual Spotlight Virtual Grand Finale as well as Joffrey Ballet dancer Dylan Gutierrez, Emmy®-winning composer Kris Bowers and GRAMMY® Award-winning jazz recording artist Gerald Clayton. Many more have joined or performed with professional companies including American Ballet Theatre, Metropolitan Opera, LA Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic; and among others.

This year's Spotlight co-chairs were Pamela and Dennis Beck, Terri and Jerry Kohl and Teresita and Shelby Notkin. Fredric Roberts is founding chairman of The Music Center's Spotlight program and the late Walter E. Grauman is the creator.

For more information about The Music Center's Spotlight program, visit or join the conversation on


To post a comment, you must register and login.