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The Judges Have Made Their Decision!

Rochester, NY – For nine local high school students, those long hours of preparation – paired with some serious talent and the willingness to dream big – have culminated in the chance to play onstage with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra at the Eastman Theatre in May 2009 in the final RPO concert of the season. With instruments ranging from trumpet to harp and voice to double bass, these talented young stars were the hand-picked winners at Sunday’s live auditions for the RPO’s second “Search for a Star” Competition.  The reward for their music gifts is the rare opportunity to perform live with the RPO and Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik on Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 2:00 pm at the Eastman Theatre in the closing concert on the RPO’s Casual Sunday Matinee Series.  The following is a list of the winners, with their schools, instruments and towns of residence:

• Christen Greer – Senior, Summit Christian Academy; violin (Brighton)
 Katrina King – Junior, Homeschooled; flute (Marion)
 Sarah Kramer – Junior, The Harley School; harp (Brighton)
 Demian Spindler – Junior, Allendale Columbia H.S.; trumpet (Rochester)
• Louisa Womack – Junior, Homeschooled; double bass (Brighton)

• Katherine Edinger – Junior, Greece Athena H.S. (Greece)
• Kate Lee Gurnow – Junior, Webster Schroeder H.S. (Webster)
• Emily Helenbrook – Freshman, Alexander Central H.S. (Alexander)
• DeAnne Stewart – Senior, Greece Athena H.S. (Greece)

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.

Nearly 60 students from 30 schools auditioned in-person on Sunday, with 19 in 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.

Celebrating its 86th season in 2008-09, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music, presenting nearly 200 performances each season to a combined audience of an estimated quarter of a million people, including more than 70,000 who experience the RPO’s broad range of educational and community programs.  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.  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