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RPO’s First Ever High School Search for a Star Winners Get Their Chance to Shine

Rochester, NY – The practicing is done.  The rehearsals are over.  It’s time to step out onto the stage of the Eastman Theatre and give it all they’ve got.  And they’ve got plenty.  The 10 winners of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra’s “Search for a Star” competition will be featured in concert with Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik and the Orchestra on Sunday, March 4 at 2:00 p.m. at the Eastman Theatre.  “I’m looking forward to having some of Rochester’s most talented young musicians on stage with the RPO,” says Tyzik. Ticketholders are invited to a 12:30 Bagel Brunch at Miller Center Atrium with bagels and coffee generously provided by Bruegger’s Bakeries.

The four vocalists, three classical instrumentalists and three pops instrumentalists will be performing a variety of repertoire chosen to best show off their talents.  They are:

  • Andrew Hawk, piano. A junior at Livonia Central High School, Andrew will perform the third movement from Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No. 2
  • Anna Lenti*, soprano.  A senior at Aquinas Institute, Anna will sing a movement from Mozart’s Vesperae solennes de confessore.  (*A winner in the Rochester Philharmonic League’s Young Artist Audition)
  • Tara Brooks, marimba.  A senior at Fairport High School, Tara will perform a movement from Paul Creston’s Concertino for Marimba
  • Aaron Sperber, tenor.  A senior at Pittsford Sutherland High School, Aaron will sing the traditional Irish song Danny Boy and Giuseppe Giordano’s Caro mio ben
  • Glenna Curren, cello.  A senior at Penfield High School, Glenna will perform the first movement from Haydn’s Cello Concerto
  • Tobias Greenhalgh*, baritone.  A senior at Greece Athena High School, Tobias will sing “Honor and Arms” from Handel’s oratorio Samson.  (*Winner of the RPL’s 2006 Young Artist Audition.)

The following three musicians will perform together as a jazz trio in a suite arranged by Jeff Tyzik of Ellington’s Satin Doll and Gershwin’s Our Love is Here to Stay:

  • Karl Stabnau, saxophone; a senior at Brighton High School
  • Zachary Brown, drums; a senior at Gates Chili High School
  • Gabe Condon, guitar; a sophomore at Penfield High School

To conclude the concert, Zachary Brown and Gabe Condon will perform Harold Arlen’s Stormy Weather with:

  • Jenna Owens, vocalist; a senior at Greece Athena High School

“As a high school student, it is thrilling to be able to perform with the RPO,” says Tara Brooks.  “Over the years, I’ve attended a number of concerts at the Eastman Theatre, but never imagined that I’d have the opportunity to experience a concert as a performer instead of a spectator!”  The “Search for a Star” competition attracted nearly 100 performers from 30 high schools who competed in the first round of live auditions, narrowed down to 21 for the final round of call-backs.  The competition was open to vocal and instrumental performers in both classical and pops divisions from the seven-county area in grades 10-12. 

General admission tickets are $15; $12 for seniors, students, subscribers and donors, available online 24/7 at, by phone (454-2100) and in person from the RPO Box Office, as well as at all Wegmans.  RPO Box Office hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). Wegmans is open seven days a week. A convenience fee may apply. 

Now in its 84th season, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award, and two ASCAP awards for adventurous programming in recent years.

The Casual Sunday Matinee Series is sponsored by the Democrat and Chronicle and Strong Health.  RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County; the City of Rochester; and American Airlines, the official airline of the RPO. 

Note:  Photos and interviews with all the winners are available.