American Pops Orchestra Announces Winners of New Vocal Competition

By: Apr. 02, 2018

American Pops Orchestra Announces Winners of New Vocal Competition Maestro Luke Frazier and THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA - Washington, DC's innovative hometown orchestra - has announced the winners of their first annual vocal competition, "NextGen: Finding The Voices of Tomorrow." The First Place female winner is Nia Savoy (Howard University) and the First Place male winner is Evan LaChance (The Catholic University of America). The Second Place female winner is Abby Middleton (professional) and the Second Place male winner is Paul Roeckell (The Catholic University of America). The competition was presented in conjunction with The National Society of Arts & Letters DC Chapter and the final round audition took place on March 23 in Washington, DC at Arena Stage in The Kreeger Theater.

All four winners are guaranteed a mainstage appearance in THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA 2018-2019 season.

Judges for competition included Baayork Lee (Tony Award-winning Broadway Legend), Jim Caruso (Birdland Jazz Club), Kelly d'Amboise (Signature Theater and APO Resident Director), and Robert Pullen (Emmy-nominated Producer and Executive Producer of Nouveau Productions). More information is at

The vocal completion was open to students and recent graduates from American University, Howard University, Catholic University, James Madison University, Ohio University and more, who competed in first round auditions for Maestro Frazier. Each student was asked to sing an American popular or theatrical song written before 1970. Both first place winners received $500 and both runners-up received $250.

THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA focuses on the preservation and promotion of the American Songbook. Through a joint venture with The National Society of Arts and LettersDC Chapter, whose longstanding mission has been to provide scholarship and performance opportunities for aspiring young artists, the APO strives to reach and promote the next generation of artists in our area though this new and exciting competition.

"I was so fortunate to have opportunities during my college years to work with great artists from many different organizations," says Frazier. "There is nothing like putting yourself out there as an artist in front of people who want to help find ways to foster your growth artistically. NSAL and APO are committed to finding ways to give back to students and recent graduates with experiences that are transformational. We are proud to offer this opportunity to students from the DMV and beyond, we want to make room on the stage for everyone."

THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA 2017-2018 season will conclude withLet's Misbehave: Cole Porter After Dark with Betty Who, Liz Callaway and more on May 19, 2018. Tickets are on sale now at

THE AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA founded by Luke Frazier presents innovative orchestral programming, featuring groundbreaking concepts to develop and inspire a new audience for the 21st century. This professional orchestra boasts outstanding musicians from New York and Washington DC. Over the first three seasons, The American Pops has featured top performers from Broadway, film and television in critically-acclaimed world premiere performances. The American Pops presents six main-stage concerts per season, and twenty-four additional free community outreach concerts. The American Pops is proud to make music accessible for every resident of the DMV region.

In addition to self presented programming, other high-profile performances include the Hispanic Heritage Awards, which is nationally broadcast on PBS; theatreWashington's Helen Hayes Awards; The Giving Pledge at the Smithsonian Institute's National Museum of American History; the Beacon Prize, given by Human Rights First to honor commitment to the American ideals of freedom and human dignity; and the DC Standing Ovation Awards, celebrating excellence in the DC Public Schools.

The APO made its New York debut at the all-star Edith Piaf Centennial Celebration at The Town Hall. According to The New York Times, "As much as any individual singer, what warmed the evening was the sumptuous lilt of the American Pops Orchestra, conducted by Luke Frazier."

Luke Frazier - recently named among "40 Under 40" by The Washingtonian - is a rapidly rising star in the Pops world who has proven himself as both an innately musical conductor and a sensitive pianist. His commitment to re-envisioning pops programming has quickly established him as a dynamic force across the music community. Frazier has demonstrated his versatility and range by conducting in venues both grand and intimate, from Lincoln Center to Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center to the Rainbow Room. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch put it best, calling Frazier "so talented, and sensitive to every nuance."

As a testament to his mission to reimagine pops programming, Frazier founded the American Pops Orchestra in 2015, presenting all original programming. His commitment to the American Songbook is also evident through his involvement on the Board of the Great American Songbook Foundation. In demand as a clinician, adjudicator, and speaker, Luke recently addressed the National Symphony Orchestra's "Summer Music Institute" students. He appeared as the Keynote Speaker for the National Society of Arts and Letters (NSAL) Award for Excellence in the Arts at the Kennedy Center and also addressed the VSA (The International Organization on Arts and Disability). In addition to founding the National Broadway Chorus in Washington, DC, he presented an original program honoring the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald's birth with the DC Youth Orchestra in Spring 2017.

Mr. Frazier has worked with artists such as Angela Lansbury, Patti LaBelle, Darren Criss, Vanessa Williams, Liz Callaway, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mo Rocca, Lea Salonga, Laura Osnes, Eric Owens, Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno, Lindsay Mendez, Renée Fleming, Michael Feinstein, Christine Ebersole, Elaine Paige, Arturo Sandoval, and Norm Lewis, among many others. Twitter: @LSFConductor

THE NATIONAL SOCIETY OF ARTS & LETTERS DC CHAPTER On a warm summer day in 1944, Mollie Davis Nicholson and Francesca Nielsen sat in rocking chairs on Mollie's front porch in Chevy Chase near Washington, D.C. and talked about the state of the arts. They discussed the fact that the arts received very little support in this country in contrast to the government subsidies given to artists in European countries. They decided to do something about it, and that afternoon the National Society of Arts and Letters was conceived providing financial assistance to promising young artists through scholarships. Over the years much has been accomplished. True to our mission, NSAL's competitions, scholarships and awards helped open up early opportunities for artist who advanced to become bright stars in their field. Distinguished individuals such Shirley MacLaine, actress/dancer/writer; Jessye Norman, opera singer; Megan Hilty, Broadway and television star; Awadagin Pratt, pianist; and Julie Kent, ABT principal ballet dancer/artistic director of The Washington Ballet can trace career-building experiences through NSAL. NSAL's Washington DC Chapter annually impacts the lives of hundreds of young people through specific programs, including: Awards for Excellence in the Arts; NSAL's Annual Competition Award; Winston Scholarships in Art and Voice; Dorothy Lincoln-Smith Classical Voice Competition; Master Class Programs; Viennese Waltz Ball; and Monthly Washington DC Chapter Programs.