We are proud to share the following good news from several members of Starlight’s Vincent Legacy Scholarship family. Since 2006, Starlight has proudly awarded $97,500 in scholarships to 40 ethnically diverse Kansas City area middle school students to fund their training in the performing arts.
A big round of applause for the three Vincent Legacy Scholars who joined 25 other middle and high school students involved in Starlight’s education and outreach programs to perform at Starlight's 33rd Annual Benefit Gala on October 12. Scholars Carwin Cooper (2017), James Hawkins (2018) and Amari Lewis (2014) sang and danced their way into the hearts of more than 400 Starlight donors and friends at the black-tie fundraising event!
The following exciting update comes directly from Lexie Hairston: “So much has happened since I was awarded the Vincent Legacy Scholarship, much of which can be credited to it and Starlight. Had it not been for this scholarship award, I would not have received the training necessary to follow my dance passion and audition for Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. I would not have gone on to Temple University in Philadelphia where I am now in my final semester and double majoring in dance performance and strategic communications with an emphasis in public relations. This year, I presented my Senior Choreographic Thesis; not only did I present work that I did not perform in, but I also danced in another senior’s work. I’ve also had the pleasure of performing in #DBDanceProject, a project-based dance company under the direction of Dawn Bazemore. Our multi-show season concluded with a presentation of her works ‘Letters’ and ‘The Browder Project.’ I will graduate this December with two degrees and a post-grad plan to begin auditioning for projects across the world. Thank you so much, Vincent Legacy Foundation and Starlight, for planting a seed that has blossomed into many things. I am forever grateful!”
(Photo: Lexie dancing in a fellow senior's project at Temple University.)
Ansonia Serrano’s original song, titled “Another Life,” is getting regular radio play on “The Sound of Orlando Mix Show” on 98.5 The Wire FM in Orlando, Fla., where she now lives. The show plays Friday (10 p.m. EST) and Saturday nights (11 p.m. EST) and can be streamed live on the 98.5 The Wire app. “This has been such an incredible opportunity, as it has and continues to open doors and create new connections that I’d never dreamed possible,” Ansonia reports. She continues to write and record music and is excited to share more of it with everyone soon (maybe even in a Kansas City performance)!
Kudos to Destane Jackson who graduated in May from Blue Springs High School. Destane will soon finish her first semester of college at Tennessee State University in Nashville. She plans to major in criminal justice, minor in psychology and aspires to be a forensic psychologist.
In addition to being busy with her senior year at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, Amari Lewis is keeping up with a very busy performance schedule, too. Over the next few months, there are several opportunities to see Amari on stage. The first is Nov. 28 at the Plaza Lighting Ceremony where she will sing in the 5-6 p.m. preshow with Vocalocity, her Stage Right Performing Arts show choir. After that, Amari can be seen in Theatre in the Park’s indoor presentation of Hairspray Jr. on Dec. 28-29 at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, followed by Guys and Dolls at Kansas City Kansas Community College on Jan. 24-25. Other upcoming performances will be at the Arts Asylum and at the 2020 KC Fringe Festival. Amari recently was awarded “Top 75 Prose Performer” honors by the National Speech & Debate Association.
It’s been an exciting year for Angel Duong. First, she graduated from Grain Valley High School in May. Then, she headed to New York City where she is now pursuing dancing, modeling and sewing.
Singer-songwriter Lauren “Lorrynne” Howard, who attended Lee’s Summit North High School before transferring to Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, finished fourth in the semi-final round of the Radio.com Opening Act contest this fall. The competition was jointly sponsored by the MusiCares Foundation, which provides health, financial and rehabilitation resources to musicians in their time of need.
It’s definitely a busy performance season for Carwin Cooper. A sophomore at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science, Carwin will play the role of butler Wadsworth in the school’s production of Clue on Nov. 15-16 at 7 p.m. After that, theatre fans can see Carwin in the ensemble of The Living Room’s production of Milking Christmas on Nov. 30-Dec. 23. And, finally, he is cast in the lead role of Nathan Detroit in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools’ districtwide production of Guys and Dolls. Be sure to buy tickets to see Carwin and fellow Vincent Legacy Scholar and Sumner senior Amari Lewis in this beloved Broadway musical at Kansas City Kansas Community College on Jan. 24-25 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 25 at 2 p.m.
A freshman at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, Bianka Morgan is participating in performances with the school’s Vocal Music Department under the direction of Willie Thornton. Recent performances include an all-district parade at 18th and Vine and the Cornucopia Festival at the Power & Light District. Bianka is looking forward to singing at the 90th Annual Plaza Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 28.
Head back to 1962 Baltimore to see freshman Erica Brown perform in the ensemble cast of Hairspray at Grandview High School. The musical takes the stage for three performances Nov. 14-16 at 7 p.m.
After receiving her scholarship this summer, Brielle Jefferson attended a musical theatre camp offered by Coterie Theatre. She enjoyed the camp and said she “learned to hit stronger notes.” Brielle also made the volleyball team at Arrowhead Middle School in Kansas City, Kan., this fall.
A freshman at Truman High School, Breana Smith is busy rehearsing her roles as two different Munchkins in the school’s upcoming production of The Wizard of Oz. Breana reports that both roles have speaking lines, and she is particularly excited about being an Ozian tap dancer and tapping in a big musical number with three other girls. If you’d like to see her on stage, Truman’s musical will be staged Nov. 21-23 at 7 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Nov. 24; tickets are available at the door. She also is performing in Starlight's teen holiday troupe at events citywide in November and December. This fall Breana also made Truman’s color guard, was elected student council freshman class president, and is participating in speech and debate competitions.