Four vocalists, three instrumentalists, and two dancers. That’s the field competing this year for the title of Howard County’s Rising Star, an honor bestowed annually at the Celebration of the Arts. In the past two decades, this gala fundraiser included food and drinks, a silent auction, and the announcement of the Howie Award recipients, chosen for their contribution to the county’s arts community.
As Patsy Cline sings her bluesy, “The only different, the only thing new, I’ve got your picture, she’s got you,” this year’s program will be zoomed, and we’ll have to watch previously taped three-minute edited pieces to judge the contestants. And we’ll have to provide our own champagne toast to the winner.
While tickets have long been sold-out for tonight’s event, readers can still participate in the online silent auction online until Sunday, Aug. 30 – there are some super buys here. Click here
to to see (and bid on) these treasures.
The online gala will also feature the presentation of the Howie Awards that recognize individual and business for contributions to the arts. Outstanding Artist, Hsien-Ann Meng, pianist; Outstanding Arts Educator Donna Pidel, dancer and choreographer; Outstanding Business Supporter of the Arts, The Howard Hughes Corporation. A special Legacy in the Arts will be presented to Thomas Sankey, Mt. Hebron High School theater director and Howard County Summer Theater director. Let’s hope next summer’s show (“The Music Man” that was postponed?) will be performed to a live audience!
Still, the main event is the Rising Star Performing Arts Competition, where the county’s up-and-coming actors/singers/dancers compete “America’s Got Talent”-style for cash prizes. The 17th annual celebration is a showcase of youngish (18-35) talent who have a connection to Howard County) with nine artists competing this time around for the $5,000 prize. The eight remaining will each receive $500.
Performing artists audition before a panel of professionals who look for artistic merit, experience in the arts and commitment to a career in the arts. HCAC Executive Director Coleen West emphasizes, “Howard County is home to extraordinary artistic talent, and for one night each year the community supports that talent.”
The new crop of “Rising Stars” are Maya Celeste (dance), Kayla Dunn (musical theater), Gabriel Hightower (cello), Kyeongmi Lim (piano), Ching-Yi Lin (piano), Alan Naylor (musical theater), Mayukha Pakala (dance), Gillian Rossbach (classical voice), and Nia Savoy (musical theater).
Nominations for next year’s competition, including the Howie Awards, are now accepted. Go to this link
or call 410-313-2787.
As a side note, two of my fondest memories of the Rising Stars included Alicia Graf Mack stepping onto the stage for the first competition. She had us mesmerized with her undulating body, dressed in pure white, while she held her leg high above her head. She was a winner from the first note. Another dancer who touched us with her passion and poignancy, Maggie Kudirka (who had just finished her first round of chemo for stage 4 Metastiatic Breast Cancer) introduced us to a beautiful, bald ballerina who made us cry. We can only hope to catch these kind of vibes online.