Pacific Symphony is asking for the second time: "OC Can You Sing?" Due to the popularity of the Symphony's first amateur singing competition back in 2011, "OC Can You Sing?" returns and has expanded beyond Orange County to include residents of the Inland Empire and the Greater Los Angeles area. All aspiring singers are encouraged to compete for this unique opportunity to perform with the orchestra onstage in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. In addition, they receive coaching from Broadway star Lisa Vroman! To apply, contest hopefuls should submit a video to the Symphony of themselves singing a song of their choice by Nov. 30; for applications and additional information, visit: www.PacificSymphony.org/OCCanYouSing.On Dec. 17, online voting of semi-finalists' videos begins! Finalists are chosen from the top videos and announced on Jan. 24. Those finalists compete during the third Pops concert of the Symphony's season in February, featuring saxophone icon Kenny G. Patrons attending the concerts then determine the winner by on-site voting. The winner returns as a featured soloist on a future Symphony Pops program. "'OC Can You Sing?' is especially exciting because it brings out people who love to sing and perform," says Principal Pops Conductor Richard Kaufman. "One of the greatest things about this competition is that anyone (over the age of 18) can participate. The more people who want to show us their talents, the better! Whether you sing Broadway, Classical, music from motion pictures or your school fight song-we want to hear you! And we want to make sure it's a fun experience. Last time, we discovered we had an awful lot of talented people living here-so I can't wait to see what this year's competition reveals!" Some may remember round one of "OC Can You Sing?," when the Symphony first tapped the dreams so many have of becoming an "American Idol." The singing competition began as the second initiative under the project umbrella, "OC Can You Play?" In March 2011, four finalists went on to compete at the Symphony's Pops concert featuring "American Idol" finalist Katharine McPhee, led by Maestro Kaufman, in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Contest winner Cody Morgan-who won over the hearts and votes of the audience with his rendition of "If Ever I Would Leave You," from Camelot-was then featured as a soloist on the Symphony's Pops concerts featuring Roberta Flack last February. "When I walked out on stage, it was intimidating, to say the least-but also incredibly exciting!" says Morgan. "I'd never performed live with a professional orchestra. And I was in competition with some great musicians. When I found out I won, it was even more exciting! It was a huge deal, an honor and a privilege that I will never forget." "When I was informed that I was a semi-finalist, I was so thrilled," says Amanda Strader, who was the first of the semi-finalists to perform. "It's like the Olympics really, the person going first either sets the bar or falters, so my aim was high-set the bar! It must have been something else because I was called back and selected as a finalist!" "OC Can You Sing?" began in 2011 as one part of the Symphony's three-pronged initiative, "OC Can You Play?," which included a three-week-long project, featuring 20 pianos, colorfully hand-painted by local artists, on display throughout Orange County for everyone to play and enjoy. The final initiative was "OC Can You Play With Us?," amateur musicians performing side-by-side with Symphony musicians. "OC Can You Play With Us?" returned in 2012, due to popular demand, with double the number of amateur musicians.
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