AT&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE ‘connects community’ at Aventura Arts & Cultural Center

By Bari Auerbach….

Choreographer Ben Solmor with dancer Jet Alexandra (left) and Hellen Rivas singing “Let’s Do the Conga”

AT&T’s motto “Keeping People Connected”rang true to life when the world’s largest provider of telecommunication services was the presenting sponsor of the 1st annual AT&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE giving young singing sensations the opportunity to shine and further their careers. Thanks to a “broad band” of entertainers, sponsors and volunteers all connected by the Aventura Marketing Council, the fabulous event at the new Aventura Arts & Cultural Center was a smash hit success!

Furthering the goal of the City of Aventura for the Arts & Cultural Center to foster a sense of community, AT&T’s YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE emceed by TV and recording star Chloe Dolandis and David Kiernan of Pure Energy Entertainment / Mike Sipe Entertainment, was a spectacular production connecting incredibly talented young vocalists with internationally-renowned entertainment industry and recording stars including Placido Domingo, Jr.

A highlight of the evening was when Domingo, joined by 10 year-old Cameron Wheeler, performed a song from his new “Songs for Christmas” EP produced by triple Grammy-Award winning producer Juan Cristobal Losada of Sonic Projects being exclusively released by iTunes. Accompaniment was provided by Peruvian pianist extraordinaire Luis Enrique “Kiki” Sanchez.

The above-and-beyond efforts of creative director Ran Oz, owner of CooLAM Dance Studio and a former Israeli Idol, also contributed to making the SHOWCASE such a show-stopping event featuring high-energy dance performances choreographed by Ben Solmor moving and grooving alongside Jet Alexandra and Courtney Thomas.

Other major sponsors included Warren Henry Automotive that displayed two beautiful Warren Henry cars against the backdrop of the elegant Aventura Arts & Cultural Center. The 2011 Volvo S60 and the exciting Jaguar XJ greeted guests as they entered the Center and brought rave reviews for their sheer beauty and classic lines.

Additional major sponsors were the Aventura Marketing Council, CooLAM Dance Studio, The Chocolate Lounge / madmac and the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center.

AMC Chair Cliff Schulman escorted by lovely hostesses Megan Clementi and Jessica Rafalowski, former Miss Florida USAs, welcomed the audience to the sold-out show and expressed appreciation to Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway for facilitating AT&T’s sponsorship in keeping with the corporate philosophy: The arts have the ability to connect people around the world. At AT&T that’s something we work hard to do always. That’s why we’re a proud sponsor of the A T&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE.

Before future star singers were introduced, the program began with a tribute to the late George Berlin, a founder of the Aventura Marketing Council and City of Aventura plus a special birthday surprise for Cliff Schulman a/k/a “Mr. Chairman.”

Schulman explained, “Back in 1995, the AMC held an event to honor George Berlin, where he was presented with a sculpture of the city created by artist Michael Israel. When George passed away, the Berlin family returned the sculpture to our Council and now the beautiful Aventura Arts & Cultural Center has become the new home for this magnificent piece of artwork. After heartfelt thanks went out to all sculpture sponsors, yet another unique presentation was made in honor of Schulman’s birthday when Chloe Dolandis sang a Marilyn-Monroe style version of “Happy Birthday Mr. Chairman.”

As the young stars prepared to wow the crowd, everyone had the opportunity to read event programs with cover design by Laura Flores and overall design by Dimitry Shaposhnikov, DS Xpress, including a “backstage tour” of how the vision for the AT&TYOUNG STARS SHOW- CASE became a reality.

Following outreach to local schools, talent agents and vocal coaches, youngsters between the ages of 6–19 were nominated. Next, auditions were held to select finalists chosen by a panel of celebrity judges representing a wide range of professionals in the entertainment and business worlds: Placido Domingo, Jr., international composer and singer; Juan Cristobal Losada, Sonic Projects and multiple Grammy- Award winning producer; Pascal Cohen, CEO, FoodInvest Group/The Chocolate Lounge / mad mac.; Ran Oz, owner of CooLAM Dance Studio; Pati Vargas, president of Pati Vargas Entertainment;

Chloe Dolandis, TV star/singer; Aventura Commissioner Billy Joel; Doris Porter, President of South Beach Management; Dutch, DJ/Hip Hop recording artist; Joanie Edwards, owner of Aventura’s Little Theatre School of Performing Arts and Be a Star Talent Management; Vivian Greer-Digon director of Miami-Dade Cultural Affairs; and AMC Chair Cliff Schulman of Weiss, Serota, Helfman.

During countless rehearsals, creative director Ran Oz worked with each young singer on song selection, choreography, costuming and background dancers. Volunteers from AMC’s Dade Partner schools were lined up to help on event night. Videotaping was provided by All In 1 Productions, photography by Humberto Vidal and publicity generated by MizYaffa Public Relations. The award-winning WNMB Video Club from North Miami Beach Sr. High also conducted interviews for a mini-documentary.

The curtain finally went up Sunday, Dec. 5th and business and community leaders are still calling the Aventura Marketing Council to share their rave reviews and ask to be involved in the next AT&TYOUNG STARS SHOW- CASE. But it will certainly be a challenge to outshine the event’s grand finale when the closing song, “Fame” left no question everyone would surely remember the young singing sensations’ names – along with all the generous sponsors who connected to help make the A T&T YOUNG STARS SHOWCASE so “fantastic and phenomenal”.

The VIP reception was as memorable as the show itself, as Pascal Cohen, CEO of FoodInvest Group, brought in his worldrenowned chefs from The Chocolate Lounge / mad mac to create delicacies such as lobster puffs, caviar hors d’oeuvres and intricately designed and incredibly delicious sweets.

Special thanks also goes to Aventura Arts & Cultural Center leaders including general manager Steve Clark; event services manager Jeff Kiltie; technical director Jerry Kinsey and Lacy handling the box office; Ana Garcia and Laura Flores, PRSSA of Florida International University; Danielle Kozavchinsky, production assistant, Krop Sr. High; makeup artist Paula Andrea Lopez; Residence Inn by Marriott at Aventura Mall; Mo’s Bagels; Costco North Miami; Miami Gardens Florist and Gar Mickler and Jessica Bert of the Aventura Marketing Council.

For more information, call Aventura Marketing Council at 305-932-5334.

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