Interview with Jenny B. Rawson: Heart of Art Award Winner

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TTN: We are so happy to present you with the first annual Heart of Art Award! What were your thoughts and feelings when you learned that you would receive the award?

Jenny: When I heard I was nominated, I thought, “Oh, that’s cool! I wonder who did it?” Then I read the nomination paragraph. That kind of stuff is completely humbling to me. It just blows my mind. It makes me happy to know that I really am having an impact on people, making a difference.  Reading peoples’ comments on the website, too, was a humbling experience. I was touched to see comments from my 85-year-old voice student, GAGC alumni, my mom and my students at the gym. It reminded me of how everywhere I go, even in the gym, music is who I am. Then to win: what an honor. The very first thing I thought was, “This is not about me; it’s about the girls.” It’s the choir, not me, because there wouldn’t be “me” if it weren’t for the choir. All I can say is: wow! Here’s my thing: I’m just me. I’m a mom, a musician, a soon-to-be wife (hallelujah!) and a choral director. Even in all of that, it’s all about those girls. It’s not about me, ever. It’s about the girls and about the music.

TTN: What do you love most about the choir? What feeds you about developing talent?

Jenny: (Long pause) What do I love most? That moment, sometimes at a concert, but much more often at rehearsal, when we’re singing and it’s glorious and it hits somebody. It’s when they “get it”. You know what I’m talking about: they have that “moment”. For those who don’t have girls’ choir, it happens at All-State: when the clouds part and they go, “AHA! That delved deep down into my soul!” It’s not a lightbulb moment; it’s deep, unbridled joy at making something, being a part of making something, creating something. It’s beautiful. My favorite moment is always seeing that on their faces and knowing what it is. That moment is my favorite thing about choir. Also, the process of watching kids become musicians; not good singers, but great musicians. It’s great to see them at a place where they can read anything anyone puts in front of them, rather than just knowing how to sing 27 different songs.

TTN: What’s the vision for the kids you teach? What do you want them to do with those cumulative “moments”?

Jenny: They don’t necessarily have to go on to teach or be music majors or whatever. My ultimate goal is that they are passionate, love to make music, and that no matter what they continue to sing. I want them to continue to make music because they love it and they want to. I want to see them carry that love with them and give it to everyone around them. If they happen to do that via being a music teacher, that’s great, but that’s not my goal. I just want to provide them with a place where they can be with others who love music as much as they do: a place where that love and passion gets fostered and grows so they can take it with them everywhere.  The arts are so important, especially music. It changes peoples’ lives. It would be nice if kids could get involved from the age of three or four, but even the kids I’ve taught who had a late start have been changed by it. I’ve had so many parents tell me that music changed their child’s life and gave them a purpose. I want that to happen to as many people as possible, everywhere. That’s what I want these girls to take with them, and then give away, even if they go into a field completely outside of the arts.

TTN: That’s an incredible vision. How did you get there? What was the path that led you to a career in the arts?

Jenny: Well, I can’t draw a stick figure. I am horrible at drawing! However, the arts have been in me as long as I can remember. I vividly remember piano lessons with Mr. Doubleday in Kindergarten. I remember singing with my mom in the car at four and five years old and saying, “No, you sing my part and let me sing your part,” because I wanted to harmonize. Then we would switch. Santa brought me dance lessons for Christmas when I was 6, and I danced all the way through high school. I always played the piano and sang in chorus. I was a complete music geek in high school; I was the girl who performed in multiple ensembles and accompanied the chorus. My high school choir director was amazing. He’s the one who pushed me to be a great musician; I already had it in me, but he was the one who brought it all out. When I started college, we didn’t live in Georgia. I had plans to go to UCSD. I had no idea what to major in, and definitely didn’t know I would end up as a Music major. My parents moved us to Georgia right before I began my first year of school, and I ended up at Georgia State University. We were still on the quarter system back then. I changed my major to music by the second quarter, and once I did, life was instantly better because I figured out that that was where I belonged. My undergrad major was Theory, and my original instrument was piano, but I ended up switching to voice. I moved to UGA and sang with the ASOC and ASOCC under Robert Shaw, which is what really pushed me to the next level. When you’re amongst that level of musicianship, you rise to it- or get kicked out! (Laughs) I finally found my element once I got there, and I did everything I could. I drove from Athens to Atlanta and back three nights a week for rehearsal, and sat next to Ann Jones, Shaw’s assistant. I loved every second of it. So I got certified to teach, and I’ve loved every moment of it, every child of every age. They’re all golden. Combining kids and music is perfect for me. That’s what girls’ choir is all about: high-level musicianship and kids.

TTN: What was the defining moment for you? When did you really know that this was what you wanted to do with your life?

Jenny: You know what? I don’t believe there was one, which is weird considering I didn’t start out as a Music major! I just had one of those “Aha!” moments. I thought, “DUH! What took you so long? ” Coming into the Music program, I finally felt like I was home.

There was, however, my student teaching experience. That was an incredible learning experience. I started the week before Spring Break. The woman I was supposed to study under told me, the week before the break, that she had breast cancer, was to have surgery that Monday, and would not be returning after. So I ended up teaching these kids for the remainder of the year. There was a sub present, as Georgia law requires the presence of a licensed instructor, but the actual teaching was all me.  It was sink or swim: I learned really fast what worked and what didn’t. There was a lot of what worked, and we went with it. I loved them, they loved me. We were a team; we had a goal. Four weeks after the break, they had to give a concert for which the music hadn’t even been selected. I chose all of the pieces. That’s when I met Marcia Laird. She would come to observe me teaching and gave me all kinds of feedback, mostly to the tune of “You are a master teacher. I’ve learned so much watching you. How did you know to do (x, y, z)? It didn’t occur to me to do it that way.” Everything I learned was from rehearsals with Shaw, Brensinger, Ann. You fix the problems when they occur so things are learned correctly. Encourage them to make mistakes, to make noise. If you’re not singing out, we’ll learn the piece wrong, and when concert week comes and you’re singing full-voice, there will be mistakes everywhere. If I can hear the mistakes, I can fix them. That’s my job. Once the mistakes are fixed, then we create music out of all of it. I learned this from experience. I only took one class in conducting. I don’t have an Education degree. I’m a very unlikely candidate. I’m a music geek who happens to have a decent enough instrument and a thorough understanding of vocal pedagogy, so I can at least get kids to sing with proper placement, etc. All of that comes from singing with incredible directors from high school onward. All of them were technicians. That’s why I am the way I am. My mom, who sings in a choir I direct, has always said “What an incredible thing to go from watching my daughter’s backside during a concert to watching her face when she directs, and experiencing the connection that happens week after week in rehearsal. You can convince anyone they can do anything, and they eventually do.” I don’t know where that comes from. I think I’m just luckily (or divinely), properly placed in doing exactly what I was intended to do. It’s not a job, it’s a joy. It’s my heart. I love kids; I love music.

TTN: Who were the people who inspired you along the way? Is there anyone you try to emulate?

Jenny: I’m a mishmash of all who influenced me. My mother, of course. My high school choral director Dennis O’Draine. Greg Broughton. Then there was the influence of Robert Shaw, David Brensinger, and Ann Jones. They had such passion for what they were doing and such a meticulous demand for technical perfection, not to mention the musicality you couldn’t get unless they were standing in front of you. I’m quite certain that shaped much of what I do in rehearsal. Also, Marcia Laird, former president of the GMEA and band director at my first school. She and I are the same person: how we are with our children, the way we perceive music, all the same.

TTN: Thank you so much for sharing your time and your love of music and the arts with us. Do you have any funny anecdotes to leave us with before we part?

Jenny: I do stupid stuff all the time! I’ve called people morons in rehearsal (in a totally non-derogatory way). Those things become something goofy everyone says anytime something ridiculous happens, even things completely unrelated to music. I use accents all the time. I don’t know why, I just do. Everything is just fun and joyful. Music is a lot of work. Sometimes it’s hard, especially with the girls, when we’re working that hard not to have those moments of levity. I just want this to be a place where the kids can have fun, make music and be who they truly are. I hear things from the kids, like “There is no place like this choir; it’s home, it’s safe, it’s family. I can just be me and that’s okay.” It is truly special to know that somehow, in some way, I was a part of creating that space for somebody. Kids need it. They need to know that they are loved exactly for who they are, and that they don’t have to be anything different.

 

Interview for The Talent Notes by Melissa Baden

Melissa Baden

 

 

 

Choosing A Great Monologue by Caroline Meisner

© Aleksandr Frolov | Dreamstime.com

© Aleksandr Frolov | Dreamstime.com

The universal archive of monologues available is so vast that it can become overwhelming when searching for the perfect monologue. There are so many different sources to look into, and so many different types of monologues to search through. To help you find the perfect monologue that will work to your advantage, here is a helpful checklist to take with you next time you need to get your hands on a monologue.

  1. CONSIDER THE STYLE OF THE PIECE YOU ARE AUDITIONING FOR. If you are hoping for the role of Juliet in the renown Romeo and Juliet, start your monologue search in the realm of Shakespeare. If you have your heart set on the role of Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire, focus looking in the style of American realism plays.
  2. SHOW YOUR VARIETY. You usually have 1-4 minutes to show off all the acting skills you’ve acquired throughout your training. Find a monologue that will show off the different emotions you can portray! Show the director that you can play the Wicked Witch of the West, but you also have the capability to play Dorothy if that is what you are called for. Don’t let your monologue choice box you into only one character type; your audition choice should work for you, not against you.
  3. KEEP IN MIND THAT THE STORYLINE SHOULD HAVE AN ARC. A great actor is able to tell a story, and a great monologue follows what can be described as a storyline arc. There should be a clear beginning, and then the monologue should start to build until it comes to the top of the arc, or the climax, and then slowly lead back down to the conclusion of the story.
  4. UNLESS THE CHARACTER CALLS FOR IT, PLAY IT SAFE WHEN IT COMES TO FOUL LANGUAGE OR SEXUAL REFERENCES. If you want a role in the next Grown-Ups movie, that’s fine. But sometimes actors cannot pull off these references and such language as well as they think they can, and then it just becomes awkward. Double check yourself before you choose an R-rated monologue.
  5. KNOW WHO YOU ARE. If you are an 18-year-old male applying for a college audition, stay away from monologues that are meant for a character who is 10 years old. If you are a rather petite young girl, don’t choose a monologue that centers around a larger character. This can become distracting to the director and cause the monologue to work against you rather than for you.
  6. KEEP IT FRESH. As you go through the professional world of acting and audition for more and more shows, commercials, etc, you will soon pick up on the most overdone, repetitive monologues out there. Steer clear of those! The best way to avoid overdone monologues is to avoid looking in places like monologue books or monologue websites. Try skimming through scripts instead, ask around, go to the library, or even take note of a monologue you noticed the last time you saw a show.
  7. DON’T JUST RECITE A STORY. Show a real character! A warning sign that this a monologue does not have the best character to portray is when the monologue is written in past-tense. Try to choose one whose story is focused on the present, so you can actually play the character in the moment. Reciting an interesting story isn’t good enough, you want to be able to get wrapped up in the story, and to get the director wrapped up in the story with you.

Written by Caroline Meisner for The Talent Notes

Caroline Meisner

 

 

Newsflash: Jenny B. Rawson Receives The Heart of Art Award Trophy

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We are pleased to announce that our First Annual Heart of Art Award winner, Jenny B. Rawson, was awarded the First Annual Heart of Art Trophy, this past weekend. The trophy was presented to her at a surprise presentation at the end of her concert with The Greater Atlanta Girls Choir this past Saturday night. The Talent Note’s own Melissa Baden was there to present the award, in person, to Ms. Rawson.

Jenny B. Rawson is presented the Heart of Art Award Trophy by Melissa Baden

Jenny B. Rawson is presented the Heart of Art Award Trophy by Melissa Baden from The Talent Notes

The Talent Notes will be featuring Jenny B. Rawson in an upcoming interview to be posted soon. We are so pleased to be able to present Jenny with this award for all she has done to promote talent and the arts!

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Congratulations Jenny B. Rawson!

2013 Heart of Art Award Winner: Jenny B. Rawson

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Congratulations to Jenny B. Rawson!

We are excited to announce the winner of our First Annual Heart of Art Award as Jenny B. Rawson! Jenny definitely embodies the characteristics of supporting talent,  and the arts, and we are happy to announce that she is the recipient of this year’s award! Jenny has obviously touched many lives with her dedication to the arts, as was evident by the number of votes that she received and the sentiments expressed by many. We salute you Jenny, as you continue to make a difference in the lives of others!

What’s next?

Jenny will be presented the 2013 Heart of Art Award trophy AND we will feature a complete interview with Jenny in the very near future, so that you can learn more firsthand about her dedication and why so many people believe that Jenny is truly the “Heart of Art.” Thank you to all of you who submitted your votes, and especially a big thank you to the finalists for all that you have done to support talent and the arts!

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2013 Heart of Art Award Recipient

Jenny B. Rawson

Meet our First Annual Heart of Art Award winner, Jenny Rawson.  Jenny Rawson, mezzo-soprano, has a bachelor of music in Music Theory and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Georgia. Her conducting career has included positions at North Springs High School which is a performing arts magnet school and the Kennesaw Mountain High School Choral Program. For 18 years, Ms. Rawson has conducted the Greater Atlanta Girls Choir, a premier girls choir in North Georgia, which has toured throughout the United States and Europe under her direction, performing in Italy, Spain, Canada, Washington, D. C., San Diego, Boston, San Francisco, The Governor’s mansion and the Biltmore Estate. Ms. Rawson has been a member and frequent soloist with the Atlanta Singers and has had past positions with the Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus, and The Robert Shaw Singers under the direction of Robert Shaw. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her high energy, animation and creativity combine to make GAGC a fun, as well as educational experience for all the girls.

Read Jenny’s nomination:

Jenny has been the most influential person in my development as an artist. She is the artistic director of the Greater Atlanta Girls’ Choir (formerly the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir), and conducts the high school tour choir. She was my private instructor for two years, and helped me earn a scholarship to the University of Georgia for Music Performance. Jenny has an infectious love of music, and she shares it everywhere she goes. She inspires those around her to be better musicians, both theoretically and in performance. I think, actually, that her devotion to the study of music theory is one of her greatest assets; she makes theory accessible and fun! She began at UGA as a Piano Performance major, then switched to Vocal Performance and Theory. She is still a talented pianist, and loves to attempt difficult pieces for fun! She has taught at the Performing Arts Magnet in Atlanta, as well as directed numerous choirs in the greater Atlanta area. She has sung with the Atlanta Singers, the Michael O’Neal Singers, and many other ensembles. Outside of music, she’s a mother of three and an avid advocate of group fitness. She is actually a group fitness instructor, and she inspires others to reach their fitness goals and potential just as she inspires musicians. She has seen me through my highest and lowest points in life, and has always been a great support and role model. She is humble, kind, extremely funny, and loves everyone. She inspires me to be a better daughter, a better student, a better musician, a better person. The expression and energy she exudes when she is conducting is the absolute embodiment of music. She connects with her choir on the deepest, most primordial level, and draws out incredible sounds. When she is conducting, she is the centerpiece that brings the audience and the musicians together in laughter and tears; she holds them in one moment in time that holds everything important, and can never be like any other. I believe that those moments are the Heart of Art, and I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition.

–Anonymous

 

 

Last Day of Voting For The Heart of Art Award!

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The Heart of Art Trophy

Today, Monday, November 25, is the last day to vote for your choice for our First Annual Heart of Art Award recipient! We are overwhelmed with the response we have had, and are so grateful to have found two wonderful finalists for this award. Both of our finalists are so deserving!

Be sure to place your vote before it’s too late! We have had some questions about the “vote count” on the pages that appears next to the voting button. Please be assured these counts are NOT accurate (as we have received hundreds of votes), but the vote counts we receive through our website are accurate, so please,  continue to vote!

We can’t wait to announce the winner of this award! Please take a look at our finalists and vote for your choice.

How to Vote

Click on the names to read the profile of each finalist. At the bottom of the page you will see a voting button, just click and your vote will be recorded!

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Elizabeth Davidovich

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Jenny B. Rawson

Final Day To Vote is Today! November 25th!

Perception and The Artist: A Discussion with Music Producer Simone Sello

 

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Photo: Vladi Del Soglio

Simone Sello is an Italian born music producer, who currently resides in Los Angeles.  In addition to producing, he is also a guitarist, songwriter, and music journalist.  He is best known for his work with the Sanremo Festival Orchestra, Chicanery, Billy Sheehan, Aaron Carter, Disney, Hannah Montana, Vasco Rossi, Amber Lilly, and Warren Cuccurullo. He owns RedRum Productions, Session Recording and Music DemoProducer.com, which are all music production companies. Simone recently took time out of his busy schedule to speak with The Talent Notes…

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Photo: Charlotte Osterdal

TTN: Hi Simone. Thank you for suggesting this topic! What would you like to accomplish in discussing how artists are viewed versus how they view themselves?

Simone: I would mainly like to give some insight to aspiring artists. Many young artists seem unaware of what it takes to cultivate a certain view of themselves in the public eye. I have mainly worked in the music industry, and I have seen a lot of potentially great artists fail due to this. For instance, a singer might record a great performance for YouTube alone in their bedroom, but that is different from being asked to create a sound on command, whether that is in the sterile environment of the studio or in front of a crowd of people you’ve never met. It is important that young artists, especially, are aware of mitigating factors like this while they are creating their image.

TTN: I agree – a lot of what makes or breaks a performer is how they are seen! I think people forget that. In your bio, I read your (quite impressive) credentials, and it seems like you have seen almost every angle of the music industry. Can you tell me a little about the different perspectives an artist receives from different areas of production/collaboration?

Simone: I can’t say I know the artist’s perspective in full, because the implications of being a solo artist are not part of my current reality. I see and know some of this through the artists’ eyes when I collaborate with them, but in these days I am more of a producer.

When you are performing, you are trying to please whomever you are working or performing for. As a guitarist, I might get called into a studio or on stage to deliver a service: the artist is basically asking for a piece of what I have to offer… In that respect, the session player has to be able to discern what it is that the other party wants, but also remember that they are not driving. They do not get to make the final call.

Working as a producer, I am co-driving: the artist makes the executive decisions, but I am right there with them, seeing things they cannot, and trying to offer input to broaden their scope and awareness.

As a composer, I try to put a little more of myself in the final product. I like to compose for movies, T.V., etc. Usually I have fewer limitations there; there is more room to leave my personal signature in the work.

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Photo: Petey P. Merryweather

Simone with Aaron Carter and keyboardist Stanley Jones

TTN: I also read that you are a native Italian and have worked with some international artists and collaborators. Have you experienced a difference in the way different cultures perceive their talent?

Simone: Definitely! Living and working in L.A. is a great stroke of luck for me. I believe that the level of artistry and connection with the business side of the entertainment world here is superior to anywhere else. As far as music goes, other places are similar: NYC, Nashville, London, Paris, Berlin. Still, I have to say that L.A. takes the lead over them. And in general, here in the U.S.A. we are exposed to a culture that is a little bit ahead of the rest of the world. This is not always a conscious process, but working in the entertainment industry here means to be ahead. That doesn’t mean that the rest of the world is better or worse: just different.

Though I still believe the U.S.A. is the place to be in this respect, European artists and collaborators definitely have their unique strengths: they tend to be a little more capable of digging deeper and finding alternate solutions, and understand certain trends better than Americans. The U.S.A is better known for doing things first; Europe is known more for being introspective and unique.

TTN: What do you think the two could learn from each other?

Simone: They’re like the right and left sides of the brain – you need both to balance! Europe tends to start with the “Old World” foundations at an early age. I think that’s a great example of something the U.S. could integrate. In America, I understand they have done away with a lot of early music education. Often, you can tell who has been taught the fundamentals from early on and who has not. Sometimes those who have turn out to be better performers, and I think that’s important.

The U.S., on the other hand, is a great example of bravery and pioneering thought.  Americans really know how to take risks and push on to newer and bigger things right away. I think this is also important, and something Europeans could take note of.

TTN: With all of that in mind, what’s the big picture as far as an artists’ image and perception go? How do these all factor in?

Simone: Today, in 2013, we have tools that are very powerful, and were inconceivable years ago. Perhaps we have too many. With a little focus, though, artists can use these tools to learn about the types of things we’ve discussed and to research their craft. There are plenty of opportunities for this in music with Spotify, YouTube and others.

Nowadays, unless you’re doing an orchestral work or something else that is very specific, you can essentially make a record in a room by yourself if you want. If you’re a singer/songwriter and you want to achieve even a marginal level of success (a handful of followers), you basically need to go on YouTube, compare yourself with others who have a similar story, appeal or age range, and try to relate to them directly. See how they are working their skills, and how you can use that to improve your own and create a respectable image.

It is important not to forget, however, to consult with the professionals; they have been around a while and generally know what they’re talking about. As a producer, I have seen what this can give to an artist: effectiveness and humility.

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Photo: Vladi Del Soglio

TTN: What about individuality? What if someone is trying to create a unique or original idea or image?

Simone: Being original is always a plus, but anything original is always relative to something that has already been done. Jimi Hendrix, for instance, created a lot of things, but he did not invent the electric guitar! He heard someone play and expounded on that.

When studying any art form, the technical aspect is very important, and sometimes people undervalue that.  It doesn’t hurt to know music theory if you are a musician, or to know the classics if you are an actor. To be original, you should own the foundations even better so you can know the rules, then break them.

TTN: Knowing what you know now about how vital an artist’s image is, what would you do differently if you could go back to your performing days?

Simone:  I say this with a smile: I have no regrets! But if I were to change something, I would really do my research and try to see myself from different perspectives. I would try to understand what people are thinking. An artist has to be a psychologist, whether they are aware of it or not, for many people. They have to understand what goes on outside of their “box”. People are there to connect and to find something about you, as an artist, that they love. Some artists simply have a gift; they can wake up and write or perform or whatever without a lot of effort, then connect with a large number of people right away. Most, however, do not, and that’s where the psychological research comes in. Understanding your audience is crucial. If I were to change anything, this would be it; I would do the research and put it into action much earlier. That’s the best advice I can give to any artist/performer.

Contact Simone:  simone@redrumproductions.net OR info@musicdemoproducer.com

Interview by Melissa Baden, for The Talent Notes

Melissa Baden

Vote For Your Favorite Heart of Art Finalist!

 

Heart Of art Phto for FB

Our Finalists Are Revealed:

Congratulations to our finalists for the First Annual Heart of Art Award. They finalists are:        Elizabeth Davidovich and Jenny B. Rawson!

Vote For Your Choice:

Now it is time for voting for the finalist that you feel most embodies the characteristics of the Heart of Art Award. Remember that this award aims to recognize a single individual, who has made a difference in the world of the arts; someone who has given their time, talents, effort or knowledge to the cause.

The Winner Receives:

Our beautiful acrylic First Annual Heart of Art Award trophy, and will be featured in a full-length interview with The Talent Notes!

How to Vote:

Click on the names to read the profile of each finalist. At the bottom of the page you will see a voting button, just click and your vote will be recorded!

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Elizabeth Davidovich

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Jenny B. Rawson

Final Day To Vote is Monday, November 25th!

Heart of Art Finalist: Jenny Rawson

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Meet Heart of Art Finalist, Jenny Rawson.  Jenny Rawson, mezzo-soprano, has a bachelor of music in Music Theory and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Georgia. Her conducting career has included positions at North Springs High School which is a performing arts magnet school and the Kennesaw Mountain High School Choral Program. For 18 years, Ms. Rawson has conducted the Greater Atlanta Girls Choir, a premier girls choir in North Georgia, which has toured throughout the United States and Europe under her direction, performing in Italy, Spain, Canada, Washington, D. C., San Diego, Boston, San Francisco, The Governor’s mansion and the Biltmore Estate. Ms. Rawson has been a member and frequent soloist with the Atlanta Singers and has had past positions with the Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus, and The Robert Shaw Singers under the direction of Robert Shaw. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her high energy, animation and creativity combine to make GAGC a fun, as well as educational experience for all the girls.

Read Jenny’s nomination:

Jenny has been the most influential person in my development as an artist. She is the artistic director of the Greater Atlanta Girls’ Choir (formerly the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir), and conducts the high school tour choir. She was my private instructor for two years, and helped me earn a scholarship to the University of Georgia for Music Performance. Jenny has an infectious love of music, and she shares it everywhere she goes. She inspires those around her to be better musicians, both theoretically and in performance. I think, actually, that her devotion to the study of music theory is one of her greatest assets; she makes theory accessible and fun! She began at UGA as a Piano Performance major, then switched to Vocal Performance and Theory. She is still a talented pianist, and loves to attempt difficult pieces for fun! She has taught at the Performing Arts Magnet in Atlanta, as well as directed numerous choirs in the greater Atlanta area. She has sung with the Atlanta Singers, the Michael O’Neal Singers, and many other ensembles. Outside of music, she’s a mother of three and an avid advocate of group fitness. She is actually a group fitness instructor, and she inspires others to reach their fitness goals and potential just as she inspires musicians. She has seen me through my highest and lowest points in life, and has always been a great support and role model. She is humble, kind, extremely funny, and loves everyone. She inspires me to be a better daughter, a better student, a better musician, a better person. The expression and energy she exudes when she is conducting is the absolute embodiment of music. She connects with her choir on the deepest, most primordial level, and draws out incredible sounds. When she is conducting, she is the centerpiece that brings the audience and the musicians together in laughter and tears; she holds them in one moment in time that holds everything important, and can never be like any other. I believe that those moments are the Heart of Art, and I can think of no one more deserving of this recognition.

–Anonymous

 

VOTE FOR JENNY RAWSON:
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Note: The vote counts above are NOT accurate, please continue to cast your vote!

Heart of Art Finalist: Elizabeth Davidovich

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Meet Heart of Art Finalist, Elizabeth Davidovich. Elizabeth is the daughter of immigrant entrepreneurs, growing up in her parents’ gym and beginning her career as a performer at the age of 3.  She grew to develop an avid interest in both visual as well as performing arts, choosing Rhythmic Gymnastics because to her it was the perfect balance between sport and art.  She competed on a national and international level until the age of 19, taught gymnastics and dance for 12 years at eight different venues, started several after-school dance programs, created Dance Arts dance studio, co-founded You Are Here Productions and got involved in the film community somewhere along the way.  She secured a production internship in the Film/Media/Broadcasting TV department at Comcast, an internship with Mecca Motion Pictures, and participated in dozens of passion projects before finding her passion for stunt work in 2005 .. appealing to her once again as the perfect balance of sport and art.   She’s currently finishing her eighth season as a professional stuntwoman, and this summer created Southeast Movie & Stunt House aka S.M.A.S.H. to serve as a specialized training facility for the stunt community as well as a production house.

Read Elizabeth’s nomination:

I attended high school with Elizabeth. She told me she had aspirations to become an actress back when we both shared an art class together. A few years later, after losing contact with Elizabeth, I ran into her online via Facebook. I came to find out that she achieved her early aspirations to become an actor and now holds a Screen Actors Guild card (SAG) as she is an accomplished actor and primarily a stunt person. She also has produced and co-directed many independent films in her spare time as a volunteer to help promote the local film scene here in Georgia. Her desire to see film grow here in Atlanta is very evident.  Elizabeth is a tenacious and very kind hearted spirit, dedicated to the growth and awareness of the film arts community. I feel that Elizabeth Davidovich is an ideal candidate for the 1st Annual Heart Of Art Award.
–Anonymous

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Louis Stancil in Feature Film, “The Stream”

Louis Stancil (1)

At the early age of 16,  Louis Stancil discovered his passion for the arts and began his acting career in the Drama Ministry of his church. Now Louis can be seen on Film, Television and Print. He can now be seen on the big screen in the film THE STREAM which was released October 18th, 2013 in select Regal Cinemas across the nation, and benefits The Boys And Girls Clubs of America.  Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Louis Stancil, grew up in a very unique household where both of his parents were hearing impaired. Although he was raised in a nurturing home, growing up was not easy for Stancil and his brother. Being an interpreter for his parents and for the deaf community, he had to mature rather quickly and become the primary caretaker for his family. Armed with drive, talent, faith, and perseverance Louis Stancil is paving his path to a long and successful career in the entertainment industry:

TTN:  Louis, it sounds like you had a rather unique upbringing. Can you explain what it was like growing up with two parents who were hearing impaired?

LOUIS: My older brother and I accepted it, and it was very normal to us. It had pros and cons, just like any other family. But it was very interesting that I could speak well in two different languages. Knowing sign language is very unique; it’s a language that helps you strive in life.

TTN:  Did that knowledge and experience become useful in your acting?         

LOUIS: Yes, it did, because it forced me to grow up and be a caretaker. I always had to interpret for my mom and dad. So it was very interesting to grow up like that. And at auditions they want kids to still be kids, but at the same time act mature, so they play hand in hand.

TTN:  You recently appeared in the film The Stream. What can you tell us about the film? How did you find out about the film?

LOUIS: I first found out about the film through my agent, after wrapping production for After Earth, starring Will and Jaden Smith, as my cousin was Jaden’s photo double. Several days after wrapping in Utah, my agent had an audition for me. So I went to audition, and a week later I booked the role. I was on set for five weeks. I, basically, came from After Earth for four months and then jumped right into another production for five weeks.

Learn how the film THE STREAM benefits Boys and Girls Clubs:

TTN:   You mentioned you were the on-set guardian of Jaden’s photo double in Will Smith’s film After Earth, that must have been quite an experience. Has acting always been something you and your cousin have had in common?

LOUIS: No, it was Darien’s very first gig. I initially auditioned for a role in the film and decided to submit my cousin to the casting director as well. Then, Darien booked the role as Jaden’s double in the film. So, as his on-set Guardian, we traveled to Costa Rica, Philadelphia, Utah and California for four months. So, my career went on hiatus. It was just an amazing opportunity to be on the other side and to watch the professionals do what they do best.

Louis Jaden and cousin

Louis Stancil, Jaden Smith and Darien Seaberry (cousin)

TTN: Was it different to film in a place like Pennsylvania?

LOUIS: No, I’m familiar with the state of Pennsylvania as the feature After Earth filmed in Philadelphia for two months, so we became very familiar with the state. Then, The Stream happened to film in the state of PA for 2 and half months. It was cool to be in the city of brotherly love… haha!

TTN:  What was it like working with the teens to make the movie?

LOUIS:  It was awesome! I’m young myself, and being on set with young teens/kids created this positive energy all around. The teens/kids were very hands on. It was very cool to come straight from a big production like After Earth to The Stream; Seeing that The Stream crew members were actually Boys and Girls Clubs of America members.  I have to be honest, when I first walked on set, I wasn’t expecting a lot of teens to be our crew members. So, it was interesting to watch them come to production and be hands on.  The B&G Clubs would switch out different members every week from different areas, like California, Chicago, New York, Philly, New Jersey and more.  They came in and trained for a week, and they got to work with professional actors such as Rainn Wilson, Mario Lopez, Kelly Rutherford, Chris Gorham, and upcoming artists like myself. It was very, very humbling just to see the kids being exposed to the arts.  

The Stream Cast

Louis Stancil, Rainn Wilson, Mario Lopez and the cast of “The Stream”

TTN:  How would you compare the making of this film to others you’ve been involved in?

LOUIS:  This one, by far, was the best project that I’ve been involved in because of the cause behind it. It was a movie that was made by the teens for the teens, to benefit the teens. All for a great cause. It impacted me because 80% of the film proceeds went back to B&G Clubs of America. Being involved in this cause alone was awesome!!!

TTN:  What was your favorite part of working on this film?

LOUIS: My favorite part was working with the Boys and Girls Clubs members from different area each week, for sure! Each club had good energy, and they wanted to work every day. I will leave with great memories from this film!

TTN:  Speaking of memories, what do you think was one of the best memories you have from that film?

LOUIS:  Too many to name, LOL… But overall as a film, it’s seeing the B&G Club members physically being exposed to the Arts. The kids/teens were up close and personal with the film making process. By, being an editor on the film, a director of photography, working on audio to makeup!

TTN:  Would you be interested in doing a project similar to The Stream again?

LOUIS:  I would, hands down, because of the cause behind it! So, I would work with Dreaming Tree Foundation or another production company having a great impact in the world!

Louis Stancil red carpet

Louis Stancil (Globe-Photos)

Click here for Louis Stancil’s website

Learn more about the film THE STREAM
Interview by Caroline Meisner, for The Talent Notes
Caroline Meisner