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“Search for a Star 2” Winners Make RPO Debuts

It’s probably safe to say that the nine young musical talents making their Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra solo debuts on Sunday, May 31 at 2:00 pm will consider this event one of the most memorable in their lives.  However, these talented high school instrumentalists and vocalists performing on RPO’s Casual Sunday Matinee’s Search for a Star 2 concert also are stepping into history. Not only is this concert the final of the RPO season, it also marks thefinal RPO concert in the Eastman Theatre prior to its summer renovation and reopening as Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre in October 2009. 
Under Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, the nine winners of the second RPO “Search for a Star” contest will be performing as varied a choice of repertoire as is their range of towns, schools, ages, and instruments. In concert order, the soloists and their repertoire are:
·         Violinist Christen Greer,­ a senior from Brighton at the Summit Christian Academy, opens the concert with the first movement of Dmitri Kabalevsky’s Violin Concerto in C Major
·         Harpist Sarah Kramer, a junior from Brighton at The Harley School, performs the first movement from Handel’s Harp Concerto in B-flat Major
·         Soprano Katherine Edinger,  a junior at Greece Athena High School, sings Arthur Seymour Sullivan’s “Poor Wandering One” from his operetta, The Pirates of Penzance
·         Trumpeter Demian Spindler, a junior from Rochester at Allendale Columbia High School, plays Jean-Baptiste Arban’s Fantasie and Variations on the Carnival of Venice  
·          Soprano Kate Lee Gurnow, a junior at Webster Schroeder High School sings her original composition “You’re on Your Way,” arranged by Jeff Tyzik for this concert
·         Double-bassist Louisa Womack, a homeschooled junior from Penfield performs the first movement of Bottesini’s Double bass Concerto No. 2
·         Soprano Emily Tworek Helenbrook, a freshman at Alexander Central High School, sings Dvořák’s “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka, Op. 114 
·         Flutist Katrina King, a homeschooled senior from Marion, performs Francois Borne’s Fantasie brillante sur Carmen 
·         Vocalist DeAnne Stewart, a senior from Greece Athena High School, closes the concert with Michel Legrand’s “Yentl Medley” (Where Is It Written? / No Wonder / A Piece of Sky)
“These are some of the most talented kids I’ve heard,” said Jeff Tyzik. “In every category, whether it be Broadway, classical instrumental or vocal, or original songwriting, there are impressive and unexpected strengths. The audience is in for a real treat.”
Ms. Greer, Ms. Gurnow, Ms. Kramer, and Ms. Womack all are Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra musicians. Although Ms. Gurnow auditioned – and won – as a vocalist, she also is an RPYO violinist.
At 12:30 pm, ticketholders are invited to a free, informal “Bagels with Jeff” at Miller Center Atrium.

General admission tickets are $15; $12 for seniors, students, subscribers, and donors, available online at; by phone (454-2100); in person from the RPO Box Office at 108 East Avenue, 10:00 am-5:00 pm, Monday-Saturday (non-concert Saturdays, 10:00 am-3:00 pm); and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply. 

 Nearly 60 students from 30 schools auditioned in-person, with 19 proceeding to the final round. The competition was open to vocal and instrumental performers from the seven-county area in grades 9-12. First-round judges included RPO cellist Kathy Kemp; RPO violinist Ellen Rathjen; Rochester Oratorio Society Music Director Eric Townell; and Concentus Women Chorus conductor, Gwen Gassler. Jeff Tyzik joined Ellen Rathjen and Eric Townell for the final round of judging.
The Casual Sunday Matinee Series is sponsored by Rochester Magazine and the University of Rochester Medical Center; Jeff Tyzik’s appearance is made possible by Friends of Jeff.  Bagels with Jeff is generously sponsored and provided by Brueggers Bakeries.  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; and the City of Rochester.