Graham Music Studios, from Dade City, recently competed at Access Broadway in Orlando, and came home the big winners.
“I am absolutely thrilled. It’s sort of a David and Goliath kind of thing because the other studios are just mega-studios,” said Alison Graham, who is the director of Graham Music Studios. “They come from cities where they have multiple performing arts magnet schools, and we come from a city where the big high school doesn’t even have a chorus.”
“There were six top vocal awards for the whole weekend. We were entered in four of them, and won three of them,” Graham said.
“We were incredulous,” she said, referring to herself, the girls and their parents. “The first time, we were just jumping and screaming. The second Broadway Star, I just started bawling. And then the third one, I was like: “I cannot believe this.
“It was really, really exciting,” she said.
To understand how well they did, Graham said, “you have to see the mega-studios, with all of their props and money.”
Graham credits the singers’ success to their commitment, and the support of their parents and the community of Dade City.
“These girls, they work so hard,” Graham said.
One team, called Showbiz, won Platinum and took first place overall.
The team competed against 536 other acts from performing arts studios, and came out on top.
Another team known as Showstoppers — also received a Platinum rating and placed fourth overall in the competition, with their performance of “Up The Ladder To The Roof” from Everyday Rapture.
The Dade City studio also won the award for the best Broadway Vocal, for its performance of “Five Forever,” from Little Women. In that competition, Graham enlisted the aid of a boy singer to round out the group. She knew she had the right group of voices to compete well with that song, she said.
Showbiz is made up Sarah Atkins, Carly Bowling, Gianna Como, Isabella Como, Ellie DeLloyd, Lyra Lacson, Larkin Mainwaring, Kassie Miller, Mackenzie Robinson, Payton Rodgers, Analee Tomkow, Marlee Tomkow and Karis Williams.
Another team from the Dade City music studio — its oldest group of performers, known as Showstoppers, is made up of Catherine Beard, Victoria Campos, Amanda Cloversettle, Genevieve D’ Water, Lyndsey Furtado, Analiese Gallagher, Jasmine Kurz, Kallie Keith, Mikayla Mauradian, Megan Phillips, Macy Pickerall, Georgia Piersall, Bernadette Richter, Channing Romesser, Emma Shireman and Shelby Surratt.
The singers winning the best Broadway Vocal were Roman Ricardo, Macy Pickerall, Isabella Como, Megan Phillips and Shelby Surratt. They received a Platinum rating, as well as first place.
Shelby Surratt and Megan Phillips also took home the award for the best duet/trio of the weekend with their performance of “You Love Who You Love,” from Bonnie and Clyde. They received a Platinum rating, first place overall and are the title holders for best duet /trio vocal.
The youngest group from Graham Music Studios, Showtime, received a High Gold Rating for its performance of “You’re Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile.” They placed third place overall in their age group.
That group is made up of Katarina Carroll, Kennedy Eldridge, Kassidy Graham, Anabelle Harris, Sally Harper, Sarah Hoerbelt, Kaylab Kelly, Emeley Poblick, Sophie Poblick, Asha Queen-Badal, Rio Riccardo, Mackenzie Trenkle and Keaton Ward.
Winning in Orlando qualified the group to compete in New York, but it typically doesn’t compete at nationals because of the expense, Graham said.
However, this year, a group of about 30 will be traveling to New York, to take part in an invitation-only master class with the cast of “Anastasia.”
The students will get to take part in the master class, get to meet the cast members at a party and have their photos taken with them. Then, they’ll get to watch the play, too.
It’s an experience that Graham expects will leave quite an impression on the girls: “To get to go backstage in the warmup rehearsal hall of “Anastasia,” and have a master class, with the actual people in the show —it’s just incredible.”
The trip is planned over spring break.
And, it’s happening partially because of fundraising efforts and generous gifts to help defray expenses.
One of Graham’s former students has sponsored one of the girls, making it possible for her to make the trip.
Others have chipped in during fundraisers.
When they were seeking donations at a Publix store, a fire truck pulled up, Graham said.
“Five firemen jumped off and gave us like 20 bucks each,” she said.
That’s just one example of the community’s generosity, she said.
Published February 27, 2019