As a development of our popular Arts4All Florida Young Soloists program, designed to identify and offer performance opportunities to talented young musicians throughout the state, we are pleased to announce our new Arts4All Florida Young Performers Program. This expanded program will increase our reach to recognize extraordinary performers, ages 14-24 in not only music, but also dance and theatre performance, that have a disability. Two emerging artists from each category will be selected by a panel of judges that are professionals in their specific field of performance.
All applicants will receive adjudication scores and personal written critiques that can be used to improve and refine their performance skills as they continue to develop. Winners of each category will be given the opportunity to perform at a professional venue that will be determined each year.
Applications for the 2019-2020 Arts4All Florida Young Performers Program are being accepted online. Application deadline has been extended to Monday, February 3, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
2019-2020 Florida Young Soloist Winners
This year’s winners are 16-year-old Lawrence Carter from Pasco County and 14-year-old Jenna Terbrueggen from Duval County for their excellence in dance performance. 18-year-old Bailey Mienik and 19-year-old Hailey Buxton, both from Pinellas County were selected in the drama/theatre category. Both as vocal and instrumentalists, 19-year-old Mira Gaitanis from Leon County and 17-year-old Sarah Hardwig from Collier County are recognized for their outstanding musicianship.
Through a long standing partnership with The Florida Orchestra, both music category winners are scheduled to make their first appearance on Friday, May 15th in a pre-concert lobby performance in Morsani Hall at the Straz Theatre in Tampa before The Florida Orchestra takes the stage at 8 PM.
For more information, contact The Florida Orchestra.
More about the winners:
Lawrence Carter fell in love with music and movement by the time he was seven years old. Following a brief summer camp introduction, he was enrolled in year-round classes in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, lyrical and musical theatre at Kelly’s Dance Academy in New Port Richey, Florida. By the time he was 10, Lawrence was dancing with a competitive team, giving him a chance to meet other male dancer role models who would inspire him to continue his intense training. Since age 11, Lawrence has increased his invested time to training 5-6 days per week and is an active member of the Universal Movement Competition Team at Mary Jo’s Performing Arts Academy. To date his
repertoire includes the Sleeping Beauty Ballet, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland and The Nutcracker. He completed the Joffrey Ballet NYC Summer Intensive in 2018 and attended the Next Generation Ballet’s Summer Intensive in 2019. He pursues college training in hopes of a professional career in dance.
Jenna Terbrueggen was born prematurely, yet literally grew up in a dance studio beginning lessons at the age of three, wanting to be like her older sisters. Flash forward eleven years and Jenna has become an accomplished dancer competing and winning awards and scholarships. She attends middle school at LaVilla School of the Arts and looks forward to continuing her education and training at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, a Jacksonville magnet school that offers a broad arts curriculum. “My hope is to one day be a professional dancer in New York City; I feel as if dance lives inside me and when I am in a classroom or on a stage, I feel alive and want to share my joy for dance with others.” Jenna hopes to one day attend college and become an instructor to teach those who want to dance…especially boys and girls with a cognitive processing disability like herself.
Hailey Buxton began participating in musical theatre performances in her freshman year at Seminole High School in Pinellas Park. With roles in High School Musical, Cinderella and the Wizard of Oz, she felt equipped to begin working with the local community theatre, Theatre eXceptional, that producestwo professional quality shows each year to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma so often placed on disability and mental illness. Hailey, who has autism, has taken lead roles in Oliver, Bye, Bye Birdie and Our Town with the theatre and aspires to attend St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida to continue her theatrical training.
Bailey Mienik has had a passion for performing since the age of 3. Diagnosed at age six with Type 1 diabetes, she hasn’t let that stop her from doing what she loves. Currently, she plays piano, sings, acts, and writes. She is a Scholastic Art & Writing award winning playwright and novelist (Gold and Silver Keys) and is self-taught in all areas of the arts. Her heroes are Carole King and Jessie Mueller. Favorite past roles include Mrs. Edith Frank (The Diary of AnneFrank), Trix the Aviatrix (The Drowsy Chaperone), and Ensemble (Newsies). In the future, after achieving a musical theatre BFA with a minor in piano performance, Bailey hopes to perform on stage and off as a Broadway actress and musical director/accompanist. Her dream is to play Carole King in the Broadway revival of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. She encourages those reading this to remember that “you’re beautiful as you feel!”
Mira Gaitanis plays both the violin and viola, starting lessons in first grade at Mason’s School of Music in Tallahassee. She learned through the Suzuki method playing songs by ear and through memorization, an accessible way to accommodate her low vision due to retinopathy of prematurity. With a firm grasp on her musical ability, Mira continued, learning to read music and participate in middle and high school ensembles as well as the Tallahassee Youth Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra. More ensembles and group opportunities came, leading to an invitation to join a band that would later be known as Flat Moon Theory. Through a Kickstarter campaign she initiated, Mira raised enough money to record their debut album, Dreamer in the Dark, which was released on December 13, 2019 and can be found on most streaming sites. She writes, “These successes wouldn’t have been possible without the help from my eye doctors and music teachers; they were always thinking of new and innovative ways to make their programs more inclusive.” For example, Mira gives thanks to the instructor who brought clip-on lights to illuminate her music when on a dark stage and to her optometrist who helped devise a monocular mounted on a pair of glasses to read music from a distance, improving her posture when playing her instruments. “One day, I hope to gain a record deal with my fellow band-mates, and we could change the world together. Music has powers beyond our reckoning.”
Sarah Hardwig performed her first solo at her kindergarten graduation. Her music teacheridentified her with perfect pitch and told her parents she had a future in music. Sarah attends Naples High School as a sophomore and sings with her school and church choirs. She has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic Youth Choir for seven years and has been taking acoustic guitar lessons with a former Nashville songwriter for four. She has performed the national anthem well over one hundred times, including at Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Orioles games. Sarah travels to Nashville annually for the Country Music Association Festival, and through dedicated networking hasmet top songwriters and musicians. She has performed duets with Lauren Alaina and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, and was selected by country singer Chris Young as one of three guest artists at his fan club party in Nashville. She is associated with music publisher BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) and is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association International. She participates in the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival in Fort Myers and has recently begun performing her original songs. Sarah, who is blind, is known throughout southwest Florida for her talent, and her positive message is inspirational to many.
2018-2019 Florida Young Soloist Winners
Sarah Hardwig had her first solo at her kindergarten graduation. Her music teacher identified her with perfect pitch and told her parents she had a future in music. Sarah attends Naples High School as a sophomore and sings with her school and church choirs. She has been a member of the Naples Philharmonic Youth Choir for seven years and has been taking acoustic guitar lessons with a former Nashville songwriter for four. She has performed the national anthem well over 100 times including the Miami Dolphins and the Baltimore Orioles games. Sarah annually travels to Nashville for the Country Music Association Festival and through dedicated networking has met top songwriters and music artists in that arena. She is a member of BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) for publishing as well as the Nashville Songwriter Association International. Sarah participates in the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival in Fort Myers and has recently begun performing her original songs. Sarah, who is blind, is known throughout southwest Florida for her talent, and her positive message remains inspirational to many.