Winners for the nonprofit Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center’s (OHMTEC) International Youth Solo Contest were announced in a pre-recorded awards ceremony broadcast recently. The second annual contest attracted 151 applicants from near and far, including representation from five continents. International participants were from Australia, Indonesia, Ireland, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and the United Kingdom. Twenty U.S. states and the District of Columbia were represented among this year’s competitors.
Director of the contest and OHMTEC board member Jaime Rogers said, “I am thrilled that so many young singers from around the world participated this year…It is truly a testament to Oscar Hammerstein’s legacy and the importance of this project.”
The contest serves the job of educating young musical theatre enthusiasts about the tremendous influence Oscar Hammerstein II had on the development of the modern Broadway musical as we know it. The contest also raises international awareness of the nonprofit’s mission to save Oscar Hammerstein’s Doylestown home and open the home to the public as a museum. Plans include building a theatre education center on the site of the existing bank barn.
Helena Badiali, a student at Central Bucks High School West in Doylestown, and the winner of the High School Division performed the song “The Sound of Music” from the musical of the same name as her entry in the competition. “I chose this song because I had the pleasure of playing the main character ‘Maria’ in my school’s production this year,” said Helena. “Maria Rainer is completely unafraid to be herself. She’s passionate, wild and she loves to sing. But most importantly, she can look the world in the eyes and tell it exactly what she wants. Thanks to Rodgers and Hammerstein, girls everywhere have a confident role model and an iconic song to match.”
A partial list of winners is below. Soloist videos can be seen on Facebook @hammersteinmuseum.
College Division – First Place: Eirene Stavropoulos, 19, Naperville, IL – Voice Teacher – Timothy Noble; Third Place: Sierra Safran, Doylestown.
High School Division – First Place: Helena Badiali, 15, Doylestown – Voice Teacher – Anne Odland.
Middle School Division – First Place: Kylie Kuioka, 11, Brooklyn, NY.
Elementary School Division – First Place: Reese Racicot, 9, Plymouth, MA.
Bucks County Division – First Place: Charlotte Raynor, 12, Chalfont – Voice Teacher – Linsey Griffin; Second Place: Ella Patras, Doylestown; Third Place: Emily Kane, Jamison; Fourth Place: Annabel Bower, Doylestown; Fifth Place: Annamarie Yates, Perkasie.
This year’s winners will receive a cash prize and a voice lesson with Broadway performer and OHMTEC Honorary Advisory Board member Justin Guarini. A prestigious panel of judges evaluated the final round of solo submissions, including vocal coach Bob Marks, playwright David Henry Hwang and Dan Callaway, Assistant Professor of Voice at Boston Conservatory.
OHMTEC is immensely grateful to last year’s College Division winner, Taylor Mitchell, who paid it forward this year by partially funding the contest.
Proceeds from the contest benefit The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center, which is engaged in a fundraising campaign to support the nonprofit’s ongoing vision to secure Highland Farm, Oscar Hammerstein II’s former home and workplace, and realize the dream of a museum and theatre education center on the site in the heart of Doylestown. For more information and to learn how you can make an impact and #SaveOscarsHome, visit www.HammersteinMuseum.org.
- Helena Badiali
- Charlotte Raynor, Bucks County Division winner