Say, they can sing!

Finalists in Pacific Symphony's annual vocal competition aim for solo spot in upcoming Pops show.

February 07, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • Monty Linton, Amanda Strader, Brooke deRosa and Grant Yosenick, left to right, are the four finalists for the Pacific Symphony's "OC Can You Sing?"
Monty Linton, Amanda Strader, Brooke deRosa and Grant… (Don Leach )

They came with music in their hearts and lyrics on their lips.

An audition pool of nearly 50 hopefuls from across Orange and Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire has now been whittled to four.

The finalists of the Pacific Symphony production "OC Can You Sing?" know that it's almost time for a victor to emerge.

Nearing the end of its second run, this is a competition for amateur singers over the age of 18 who filmed themselves singing and submitted video clips between October and November. An initial screening by a panel of Pacific Symphony judges reduced the group to 15 performers, who were invited to Segerstrom Hall for an audition Dec. 15. Public voting ensued between Dec. 17 and Jan. 23.

With nearly 1,500 votes spread almost evenly among the four singers, Richard Kaufman, the principal Pops conductor for Pacific Symphony, decided to send the entire group to the next round. At 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, each finalist, accompanied by an approximately 80-piece orchestra, will belt out Broadway hits during the first half of Pops concerts, which will later star sax star Kenny G. Voters will cast ballots for their favorite, the results of which will be revealed Feb. 18.


Once crowned, the winner will sing a solo spot in an upcoming Pops concert.

The Daily Pilot invited Brooke deRosa, 33, a Burbank-based singer and composer; Monty Linton, 44, of Tustin, a member of the Men Alive Chorus; Amanda Strader, 27, a tutor from Dana Point who enjoys singing show tunes and opera; and Grant Yosenick, an 18-year-old USC music student from Laguna Niguel, to chat about the journey thus far.

Excerpts from those interviews follow.

Why singing? What does it mean to you?

Yosenick: For me, singing has been a way to express myself and channel my energy. Not being very athletic, singing has been my passion and it's given me a voice, an avenue to freely explore my real ability within the arts.

Strader: I think singing is something you have to take personally and enjoy yourself before you share it with others. When you think about instruments, pianos, violins, clarinets and whatnot, they have keys, and you're reading a sequence of notes, playing keys at a very specific time, and there's expression within your air. But your voice is you, your body and your air — it's all you.

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