The Overture Awards Finals Competition and Awards Ceremony | Sat., March 11 | Aronoff Center

CAA_Overture Awards logoCINCINNATI, OH – The Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) is proud to present the 2017 Overture Awards Finals Competition. The Overture Awards provides $4,000 to six area high school students for education and training expenses, with eighteen finalists each winning $1,000. The program also provides a $2,500 Arts Educator Award for Excellence in Arts Instruction.

The Overture Awards Finals Competition and Awards Ceremony will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Winners will be announced immediately following the competition.

This year, 476 students were nominated by their schools or studios to compete in one of six artistic disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. The Overture Awards was developed to recognize, encourage, and reward excellence in the arts among Tri-state students in grades 9-12. It also provides students an opportunity to share their talents and interests among their peers in a supportive environment outside of their individual schools. There are three levels of competition: Regional, Semi-Final, and Final.

The Overture Awards Regional Competitions were held on January 21 at the Northern Kentucky School of Music at Immanuel, Northern Kentucky University, and Mount Saint Joseph University. The top 20 percent of competitors in each discipline advanced to the Semi-Finals, which were held at the Aronoff Center on February 10 and 11. Twenty-four finalists (four in each discipline) will compete in the Finals Competition at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater on March 11.

Now in its twenty-first year, The Overture Awards was launched in 1996 by the Cinergy Foundation (now Duke Energy) and Leadership Cincinnati (a program of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce). The Overture Awards is funded and administered by the Cincinnati Arts Association, which operates and manages the Aronoff Center and Music Hall. The Overture Awards also relies on hundreds of volunteers from the community who help raise funds, adjudicate and manage the competitions, and nurture the program.


Overture Awards Presenting Sponsors:  TriHealth; The Eleanora C.U. Alms Trust, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee; Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.; Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.

Scholarship Sponsors:  Arthur Murray – Cincinnati, Doreen Beatrice, Douglas Beal, Bonita Brockert, Cincinnati Ballroom Company, Jozsef Parragh, Pebble Creek Group, Phoenix Rising Ballroom,  Summerfair Cincinnati, Josh Tilford, Western & Southern Financial Fund, The William O. Purdy, Jr. Foundation

Competition Sponsors:  Northern Kentucky School of Music at Immanuel, Northern Kentucky University, Mount Saint Joseph University

Printing Sponsor:  Crest Graphics



  • Presley Hargis – grade 12, Conner High School
  • Hallie Menkhaus – grade 11, Taylor High School
  • Olivia Short – grade 12, Mother of Mercy High School
  • Jessica Sommerville – grade 12, William Mason High School


  • Joseph Harrington – grade 12, School for Creative & Performing Arts/Just Off Broadway
  • Annika Hsi – grade 10, Walnut Hills High School/Northern Cincinnati Youth Ballet
  • Anna Robertson – grade 12, Bellbrook High School/McGing Irish Dancers
  • Ava Sine – grade 9, School for Creative & Performing Arts/Just Off Broadway


  • Cory Bargemann – grade 12, Walnut Hills High School
  • Calvin Huang – grade 11, St. Xavier High School/Inna Terekhov
  • Christina Nam – grade 9, Walnut Hills High School
  • Jiin Woo – grade 11, Sycamore High School


  • Elsa Benson – grade 12, Sycamore High School/Karl Resnik Studio
  • Anthony Frederickson – grade 9, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy/McCready Voice Studio
  • Chandler Hoffert – grade 12, Fairfield High School/McCready Voice Studio
  • Morgan Reece – grade 12, Kings High School/Lincoln Chapman Studio


  • Ava Grannan – grade 12, Wyoming High School
  • Madyson Haynes – grade 12, Dixie Heights High School
  • Geneva Huffman – grade 10, School for Creative & Performing Arts
  • Sarah Kenkel – grade 12, Mother of Mercy High School


  • Taylor Kay Baer – grade 12, School for Creative & Performing Arts /Wyant-Zenni
  • Reed Gnepper – grade 10, School for Creative & Performing Arts/Mary Ann Powers-Buyukisik
  • Katherine Sharp – grade 12, Indian Hill High School/The Music House (Anne Moss)
  • Nathaniel Wilkens – grade 12, St. Xavier High School/Melody Wallace Voice Studio

Arts Educator Award For Excellence in Arts Instruction 

The Arts Educator Award promotes and rewards excellence in arts instruction throughout Greater Cincinnati. An educator who teaches any of the following arts disciplines may be nominated: Creative Writing, Dance, Instrumental Music, Theater, Visual Art, and Vocal Music. They can be a high school arts specialist, teaching artist working with high school students, or an arts professional or educator providing private lessons or instruction. Nominations for the award must come from students between the ages of 14-19 who are currently enrolled in high school. Nominations are made by submitting an on-line application with a three-minute video about why the nominee is an exemplary arts educator.

The winner of the 2017 award will receive $2,500, and two finalists will receive $500 each. The recipients of the Arts Educator Award may utilize the monetary award to strengthen their program or practice, e.g. an artist fee for a guest lecturer or master class, the purchase of equipment, or a professional learning opportunity  such as tuition assistance for either the educator or for students to study with the recipient or another professional.

Arts Educator Award Finalists

Becky Childs, UC-CCM Preparatory Department
Discipline: Musical Theater
Nominated by Annabel Forman

Susan Jung, Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy
Discipline: Theater
Nominated by Carter Jackson

Marion Peraza de Webb, Peraza Music Workshop
Discipline: Instrumental Music
Nominated by Beatrice Baker

Arts Educator Award Honorable Mentions

Hitomi Koyama, UC-CCM Preparatory Department
Discipline: Instrumental Music
Nominated by Chisato Fuji

Melody Wallace, Wallace Voice Studio
Discipline: Vocal Music
Nominated by Anna Greco

Founded in 1992, the Cincinnati Arts Association (CAA) is a not-for-profit organization that oversees the programming and management of two of the Tri-state’s finest performing arts venues – the Aronoff Center for the Arts and Music Hall – and is dedicated to supporting performing and visual arts. Each year, CAA presents a diverse schedule of events; serves upwards of 700,000 people in its venues; features the work of talented local, regional, and national artists in the Weston Art Gallery (located in the Aronoff Center); and supports the work of more than one dozen resident companies. Since the inception of its acclaimed arts education programs in 1995, CAA has reached more than 1.5 million students.

CAA is proud to be a member of Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, Greater Cincinnati Alliance for Arts Education, Greater Cincinnati Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Cincinnati Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, and Performing Arts Center Consortium.

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