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Spotlight Awards

April 07, 2002|Patt Diroll; Ann Conway

Start them young. That's been standard operating procedure ever since Walter Grauman established the Music Center Spotlight Awards as a springboard for young talent 14 years ago. And the bar gets higher every year.

Fewer than 200 students auditioned in 1988; now nearly 1,400 apply for the competitions. Each fall, applications are sent to public and private high schools from San Diego to Santa Barbara. After regional auditions and semifinalist competitions, the dozen finalists who perform at the annual gala are chosen.

"The Spotlight Awards exemplify the power of arts education in the lives of all young people," said awards chairman Fred Roberts. The finalists, ages 15 to 18, who appeared on the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion stage Tuesday night credited their success to early exposure to the arts and dedicated teachers.

This year's winners and runners-up, who receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively in prize money, are:

In classical dance, Diane Booth of Newport Beach and Nicole Clarke of Santa Maria; in nonclassical dance, Timo Nunez-Bellamy of Santa Barbara and Stacey Aung of La Habra; in classical instrumental, Yevgeniy Milyavsky of Tarzana and Ying-Hsueh Chen of Idyllwild; in jazz instrumental, Drake Price of Los Angeles and Mahesh Balasooriya of Hollywood; in classical voice, Alexandra Lee of Monte Nido and Lisa Algozzini of Irvine; in nonclassical voice, Georgina Concepcion of Phelan and Sharon Youngblood of Arleta.

Judges included John Meehan, Gerald Arpino, Rebecca Wright, Vincent Patterson, Toni Basil, Kenny Ortega and Julie McDonald in the dance categories; Esa-Pekka Salonen, Martin Chalifour, Deborah Borda, Kevin Eubanks, Horace Silver and Gerald Wilson in the instrumental categories; Rodney Gilfry, Suzanna Guzman, David Romano, Tony Berg, Hal David and Gary LeMel in the vocal categories.

For actor John Ritter, who emceed, it was a homecoming of sorts. He noted he launched his professional career at the pavilion--as an upper-balcony usher, while attending USC. After a standing ovation for the artists, nearly 900 attended the gala post-performance dinner in the pavilion's Grand Hall, where the menu included stick-to-the-ribs steak and mashed potatoes, rich desserts and caramel apples.

The show's producer-director was Jeff Margolis. Bank of America, represented at the event by Leticia Aguilar, is principal program sponsor; Helen and Peter Bing are among longtime program benefactors.

The event dinner, sponsored by the Fraternity of Friends, was chaired by Dennis Beck and his wife, Pamela. Proceeds will benefit the Music Center's Fund for the Performing Arts.

--tt Diroll

Junior League

Andrea L. Van de Kamp and Carol Keith Mancino were honored by members of the Junior League of Los Angeles at their spring gala benefit, In Concert With Los Angeles, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel Monday.

From the halls of academe to the intrigues of the fine-art auction world, Van de Kamp has become the quintessential volunteer. As the first woman to chair the board of governors of the Music Center since its founder, Dorothy Buffum Chandler, stepped down in 1976, she oversees its 35 volunteer groups, which total more than 3,000 members. For her accomplishments, which include a leadership role in the $200-million campaign to build Walt Disney Concert Hall, Van de Kamp received the league's 2002 Lifetime Community Achievement Award presented by architect Frank Gehry and conductor Salonen.

"Andrea and I have been hanging out together for a long time," Gehry said. "I'm really not sure what she does. I guess she does fund-raising, but Esa-Pekka and I are grateful for whatever she does."

A member of the Los Angeles league since 1983, Mancino received this year's Spirit of Volunteerism Award from past awardee Nancy Munger. A former Robinsons-May executive, Mancino serves as president of the Council of the Children's Burn Foundation and the Getty House Foundation and is on the boards of the Young Musicians Foundation, Planned Parenthood of Los Angeles, the YWCA, Good Shepherd Center for Homeless Women, Cuisine a Roulettes (Meals on Wheels), the Friends of Robinson Gardens, Club 100 of the Music Center, the Costume Council of the L.A. County Museum of Art, and Sonance of the House Ear Institute.

The event raised nearly $225,000 for league programs.

Singer Susan Egan entertained at the gala; weatherman Fritz Coleman oversaw the auction. Brenda Adrian chaired the gala committee, which included Dale Harbour Day, president of the 1,100-member L.A. league; Claire O'Reilly, Andrea Korpita, Valerie Baldwin, C.C. Pulitzer-Lehmann, Lainie Rose, Wendi Woods-Chandler, Carolyn Enenstein and Gayle Wilder.

--D.

Family Services

The Sophisticates support group of the Assessment and Treatment Services Center celebrated the food and styles of Spain at its 19th annual luncheon and fashion show at the Hyatt Regency Irvine.

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