Ten Star Award Winners To Be Honored at 7th Annual Evening of Stars Gala at SCERA Center for the Arts


Those who have made significant contributions to the arts in a variety of categories will be recognized for their achievements in enriching the communities and citizens of Utah at the 7th Annual Star Awards held Saturday, February 25, 2012 at the SCERA Center for the Arts in Orem. 

BYU's Vocal Point will receive the night's biggest award -- The 2012 Star Award.  Janie Thompson will receive the Lifetime Achievement honor. Awards will also be given to David Tinney for theater, Greg Olsen for visual arts, Peter Breinholt for music, Jacqueline Colledge for dance, Diamond Rental as Friend of the Arts, Dr. K. Newell Dayley as Advocate of the Arts, Sandy McDade for volunteerism and Barbara Elison, special recognition.   

"We recognize that the scope of talent and commitment to the arts in Utah is tremendous, and the Star Awards are a way of calling attention to their achievements and applaud their talent and dedication," says Adam J. Robertson, SCERA President & CEO. "The challenge of the nominating committee is in choosing from an amazing array of people, which is the kind of challenge every arts organization should have."

Hosted by popular entertainer, composer and musician Michael McLean, the awards are interspersed with live entertainment, and will follow an elegant dinner by the UVU School of Culinary Arts and a silent and live auction. 100% of the proceeds from the evening will support SCERA's non-profit charitable Endowment for the Arts.

Each honoree will be given a plaque and make a short acceptance speech. A video tribute for each will be shown at the award ceremony, featuring friends, family and associates speaking on the attributes of each honoree and their contributions to the arts. 

Bios on each award recipient follow:


The 2012 Star Award



Maximum a cappella. The only instruments on stage belong to the nine voices of the nationally renowned a cappella group Vocal Point. Their stunning, high-energy performances have won them the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) and a faithful following throughout the world – even more now thanks to their much-deserved rise to fame on NBC's "The Sing-Off," which aired this past fall. With a wide range of vocal possibilities-and seeming impossibilities-these creative crowd-pleasers have it all - rock, pop, country, jazz, and R&B all mixed into the time of your life. Their family-friendly show is a toe-tapper, and their performance is an always skillful and spirited showstopper. Says Deke Sharon, founder of the Contemporary A Cappella Society of America (CASA) and vocal producer of "The Sing Off:" "Well, that's about the most professional group at the collegiate level anywhere…Seriously, that's as close as anyone could ever get to being a rock star."  Their highlights are numerous, their crowds immense. In July 2010, Vocal Point performed The Star-Spangled Banner for an audience of 80,000 at the nationally-televised Boy Scouts of America Centennial Celebration. Vocal Point has performed for the San Francisco Giants at 3Com Stadium and for ambassadors from around the world in Washington, D.C.  The beloved group was also selected to perform at nearly every major venue for the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympic Games. Vocal Point is currently under the direction of James Stevens and assistant director McKay Crockett. BYU alumni Bob Ahlander and Dave Boyce organized Vocal Point in 1991 and less than three years later, the group joined BYU's School of Music to establish Vocal Point as a permanent tradition of contemporary a cappella at the university.  They have surely succeeded in doing just that!


Lifetime Achievement



Now 92 years old, whenever Janie Thompson hears that another BYU student performing group is going on tour, she earns an "atta girl" for her considerable legacy to her alma mater. In the early 1950's, former BYU President Ernest L. Wilkinson lurEd Thompson from a big band career with Ike Carpenter and challenged her to redirect her musical gifts toward supporting the talents of students. By using indefatigable energy, she gave roots to today's touring program at the university. Thompson never had a voice lesson, although the talent was clearly there. She had only two years of formal piano training, although her innate musical abilities were evident as a child. And she never took a production class, but she became legendary at BYU for larger-than-life shows. Janie Thompson's lack of formal training never slowed her down -she has embraced music and entertainment all her life. Thompson was the tornado who energized BYU's performing arts program in 1952, and she remained a whirlwind director/producer/ entertainer until her retirement in 1984. Even now many of her "kids," as she likes to call them, perform in her community concerts and showS. Thompson's career included a stint singing with Tony Bennett, and in his autobiography, The Good Life, he wrote, "Janie was loaded with energy and excitement, and she really thrilled the crowds when she launched into a boogie-woogie number and accompanied herself on the piano." She also completed a two-year singing tour in Europe and was a featured soloist in Los Angeles with Carpenter. After interrupting her career to serve an LDS mission in Wales, she had returned to California when she received the call from BYU that changed her life. Her charge was to lead an organization called the Student Program Bureau, and she did it with a no-holds-barred enthusiasm that has characterized her approach to music all her life. Within four years, she had put together 2,463 shows - all while serving on the general board of the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association for the LDS Church. "I found myself going night and day with very little sleep," she explains. "But I was big and strong and didn't think a thing about it. However, by late 1956 I nearly collapsed." Her solution was to leave for the comparatively easy pace of New York - a city she loved. But when Wilkinson called again in 1959, she returned, thinking she was going to bury herself in Provo. She might have been based in Provo, but she was certainly not buried. Within a year, the world became her campus as she put together groups for tours with the U.S. Defense Department and later with the Department of State. In a little more than a decade, BYU students had performed around the world. All in all she created six touring shows. Two of them – The Young Ambassadors and Lamanite Generation (now Living Legends) – are still thriving in BYU's School of Music.




Performer. Director. Choreographer. Writer.  Teacher.  Dave Tinney has done it all, and has left an indelible impression on the world of theatre.  And that's just in twenty-five years.  Imagine what the next twenty-five years will hold for this humble, likeable and talented thespian-of-all-trades.  Dave has traveled the world with the Murray Lewis/Alwin Nikolais Dance Theatre, BYU Young Ambassadors, and BYU Dancer's Company. He has directed, performed and/or created works for Sundance Theatre, Tuacahn Center for the Performing Arts, Hale Centre Theatre West Valley, Hale Center Theatre Orem, Capitol Theatre, Deseret Book Company, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Governor Leavitt's 2002 Winter Olympic Program "Light the Fire Within." He recently directed four-time Tony Award winner Audra MacDonald in the musical110 in the Shade, as well as the United States premiere of Zorro! The Musical.  For six years, he taught in the Musical Dance Theatre Department at Brigham Young University and is currently Artist in Residence for the Theatre Arts Department at Utah Valley University.

Visual Arts



Greg Olsen, the man behind the brush, was born in Idaho Falls and grew up in a farming community.  One of his first drawings was on a big piece of butcher paper - an aerial view of his grandparent's farm-complete with every individual bale of hay in the field, and there must have been hundreds. Blessed with supportive parents, he remembers a time as a teenager when he had been hired to paint a large sign for a local grocery store. It was wintertime and too cold to paint in the garage so his parents let him set up a workshop in his bedroom. He promptly spilled two quarts of black and orange enamel paint all over his bedroom carpet. Amazingly, his parents still encouraged him in his artistic endeavors!  Greg started showing an interest in art in 4th grade and by junior high, he began to take it quite seriously, and when he entered Bonneville High School he was fortunate to have an extremely good art teacher, who contributed greatly to Greg's desire to make it his life's work. Greg attended Utah State University where he studied art and met his wife Sydnie. They have six children and enjoy their new role as grandparents. Greg paints in his studio, 37 steps from the back door of their home.  Greg's philosophy on art is quite simple.  He says, "My paintings in many ways record what is most important to me…my feelings and experiences with family and friends along with the spiritual aspects of my life. My hope is that in these images you will find something which will resonate and remind you of what is important in your own life."




A Breinholt concert is a rollicking, good-natured, big and lively wonder with Peter as the ringmaster of a perfect storm of stories and sound!  But his proficient career as a singser/songwriter began on a much quieter note.  Born in Pennsylvania, Peter taught himself to play piano and guitar and, around age 11, began writing his own songs. He remembers going to the Disney movie "Bambi" and just noticing the song- Little April Showers – and beginning his own record collection in second grade. Later, as a college student in Utah, he was persuaded to rent a Salt Lake recording studio and track some of his compositions. Never doing more than two takes during those sessions, the resulting recording was raw and unpolished, which may be one reason the album proved so successful. "It became an underground classic on Utah college campuses" wrote Salt Lake Magazine. The album eventually became one of the best-selling, independently released CD's ever in the state, almost entirely by word of mouth. "If you haven't heard of Peter Breinholt," wrote Event Magazine at the time, "you've been out in the frigid cold. He's [suddenly] the closest thing Utah has to a music phenomenon". Since then, his music has spread around the globe seemingly by itself.  Peter feels lucky to do something he loves. "I'm not into the fame," he says, and prefers to stay close to home and live a normal life. Peter's self-styled acoustic music has sold out every major concert hall in his home state of Utah many times over, including Kingsbury Hall, Tuacahn, Sundance, Thanksgiving Point, and BYU's de Jong Concert Hall, among others. His credits also include seven albums, a concert DVD, guitar songbooks, film scores, songwriting awards, and concerts with several symphony orchestras and choirs, including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.





Jacqueline P. Colledge became a member of Ballet West under the direction of Willam Christensen in 1968, dancing with the company while attending the University of Utah on full scholarship. While with Ballet West, she danced various solo roles and worked with numerous renowned choreographers and instructors, such as Lew Christensen, Jacques d' Amboise, Michael Smuin, Dimitri Romanoff and Francia Russell. Following her retirement from professional dancing, she opened the Jacqueline School of Ballet in 1976, desiring to bring high caliber education and opportunity to aspiring young dancers through the art of ballet.  She started out with only six students, but that number soon grew to more than three hundred. She founded Utah Youth Ballet in 1981, providing the community with exceptional quality ballet performances, and just three years later this became Utah Regional Ballet to illustrate the artistic growth and capacity of the company, and Ms. Colledge continues as its distinguished Artistic Director.  URB is the premiere professional performing company in residency at Utah Valley University. In 1999, URB established opportunities for ballet artists by providing professional contracts - paving the way for brilliant artists to continue to live and work in Utah.  They perform three to four major productions each year, including the family Christmas favorite "Nutcracker," and daytime performances for school children.  Ms. Colledge is currently on faculty at UVU, where she developed the curriculum for the ballet program. The university now offers a BFA with an emphasis in Ballet Performance.  Because of her tireless commitment and the discipline instilled in her dancers, URB has accomplished amazing success and is a tremendous treasure of artistic excellence.  Her peers and other well-known professionals throughout the United States and Europe hold Ms. Colledge in high esteem. She served on the National Board of Regional Dance America (1995-1999) and on the Utah Dance Educators Board (2006-2008), and is presently serving on the board of RDA/Pacific, and URB has received honor credit in their regional festivals every year since 1988. Ms. Colledge received the Outstanding Choreography Award for her work 10 in Four Movements.


Friend of the Arts



Diamond Rental is a business who gives unselfishly to keep positive events and organizations in the state alive and thriving.  As an event rental company, they contribute thousands of dollars of materials and services to non-profit groups including United Way, Women in Philanthropy, Boys & Girls Club, LDS Film Festival, Cooper's Run, SCERA, Princess Festival, Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, March of Dimes and a host of others.   Diamond Rental, with locations in Orem and Salt Lake City, believes that when people work together they make their communities brighter.  From tables and chairs to linens and décor, they create a classy and professional atmosphere for a wide variety of events that energize communities and breathe life into our cities.  Diamond Rental is a shining example of generous community giving and has established a charitable legacy that is valued by the many arts organizations they willingly serve.  


Advocate of the Arts

DR. K. Newell Dayley


Dr. K. Newell Dayley has been involved professionally in the arts for more than fifty years, beginning with work as a performer in symphonic, recording, jazz, and commercial venues. Throughout the intervening years he has been an advocate for the arts in many ways. He performed in Utah elementary schools over a period of 25 years under the auspices of Young Audiences, Inc. of New York, helping young people learn about the arts in a live setting, and was responsible for the Performing Arts Series at BYU for many years. He is an emeritus professor of music at BYU where he served nearly forty years in teaching and administrative roles. He was a teacher, mentor, conductor, director, and producer while also serving as department chair, dean, and associate academic vice president. His advocacy has been accomplished through work as a festival adjudicator in Utah and surrounding states, President of the Utah Music Educators Association (an affiliate of the National Association for Music Education), committee chair for the Utah High School Activities Association, performance and administrative work associated with BYU's International touring program, and playing a lead role in creating and developing BYU's interdisciplinary Music Dance Theatre program. Dr. Dayley was a member of the Provo Arts Council for ten years, serving as Chair during the planning, construction and opening of the Covey Center for the Arts. His work with the Utah Arts Council began in 1983 as a panelist and culminated in 2009 while serving as Chair of its Board of Directors. He served for eight years as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Promised Valley Playhouse and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Hale Center Theatre in West Valley. Dr. Dayley is currently serving as Dean of the School of the Arts at Utah Valley University. During the past year he has been honored with the Governor's Leadership in the Arts Award and induction into the UMEA Hall of Fame "in recognition of a lifetime of service and distinguished leadership." 


Sandy McDade


"You cannot live a perfect day until you do one nice thing for someone else."  A favorite quote that Sandy McDade lives by.  She was born and raised in Lehi on a family farm, with parents that taught her the value of hard work, giving to others, and treating those with special needs with respect. She and her husband Mark were blessed with four children – their second, Joshua, was born with congenital heart disease and passed away when he was only 3 months old, and their fourth, Meagan, was born with brain damage in the speech center of her brain.  It has been a long journey with their sweet Meagan, who is now 23 years old.  But it has been a journey that has helped Sandy and her family be more compassionate to others who struggle with physical and mental limitations.  When Meagan was nine years old, Sandy was blessed with the opportunity to attend a performance of PALS (Performing Artists Lengthening Strides), a special needs dance group then under the direction of David Whitlock. She was so moved by the thought of a chance for Meagan to perform with a group of her peers.  They joined PALS the next week, and have been involved and loving it ever since.  When Whitlock left Utah to pursue other opportunities, he found two BYU students to take over PALS, but after a year and half they were unable to continue.  Even though she says she has two left feet, Sandy couldn't just see the group end.  So somewhat nervously, and with the help of another mother, she stepped in to save the group.  Every Monday, the group meets at SCERA, and on the days when her rheumatoid arthritis flares up and her feet and knees hurt, she finds herself buoyed up by love and extra energy when she sees the joy her daughter and her PALS friends feel as they get to dance.  And her supportive husband comes with her every week!  The group's enthusiastic dancers are always looking for places to share their talent, and while they love to have people cheer for them, audiences are also blessed through their support of these special needs artists.  Not one to rest on her laurels, Sandy also cares for her three grandchildren every day while their parents work as well as for her aging parents on evenings and weekends. After twelve years of teaching preschoolers and eight years in Cub Scouts, she values and loves time spent serving her family.  Sandy says she'll be involved with PALS as long as she can still physically dance…that's the level of dedication and attachment she has to her "friends."  A special thanks from Sandy to Tanny Peters, who would not take no for an answer when the foster child she had living in her home wanted to dance, but no dance group would take her because she had special needs. PALS is her brain child.  These special performing artists, along with their beloved director Sandy, have lengthened their strides, and in the process have found purpose and brought joy into the lives of thousands. 


Special Recognition



Barbara Elison has touched thousands of lives through 60 years of teaching music. At an early age, her mother got her a piano, and her proficiency on the keys began when she was just ten years old, playing in church which was held in their North Dakota home. She knew just 2 or 3 songs then!  By age eighteen, Barbara had already won numerous awards at piano competitions and was starting what would become a lifetime of teaching piano to others. Counted among the early students of this great lady are renowned pianists and performers Kurt Bestor and David Glen Hatch – along with several hundred others who have come to her Orem home for warm conversation and professional music education. Barbara graduated from BYU in 1952 with a degree in English and a minor in Music. She accompanied all four years of the college's Opera Workshop under the direction of Dr. Don Earl and studied extensively with J.J. Keeler, who has trained organists at Temple Square.  Barbara played for Utah Valley Opera shows in the late 50's, including their inaugural musical "Oklahoma." She served six years on the board of the Utah Music Teachers Association, and has written theory papers and given workshops to piano and music teachers throughout the state.  Thirty-eight years ago, Barbara co-founded the Utah Valley Junior Music Festival, which has grown from 76 participants to 600 this year. Also an inventor of sorts, Barbara recently developed numerous games for teaching piano to children called "Sizzle: Have Fun & Make Music," which are sold at piano stores and music festivals. Barbara has always used her musical passion and talent to serve others, playing for her LDS ward choirs and for her husband Jerry's musicals at Orem Jr. High School. She met Jerry at a vocal recital he attended with his sister (who knew Barbara), and he mentioned "Boy, that's a cute girl - and what a fine musician." They got set up soon after. Barbara jokingly says "I think he married me because I played the piano!" The happily married couple are parents to seven, grandparents to 28, and great-grandparents to two - all of whom, of course, learned to play the piano.  

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