“The show must go on!” was the rallying cry as the Aventura Marketing Council/Chamber of Commerce (AMC) considered the challenges of producing a virtual showcase after holding ten years of amazingly successful Young Star Showcases live in the beautiful Aventura Arts & Cultural Center (AACC). And the show most certainly DID go on…although virtually…due to the support from so many people…first and foremost, Steven G from Interiors by Steven G. For the second year, Steven G took on the title sponsorship, and in the video he said, “We as a firm are honored to be the lead sponsor. 2020—the year of the pandemic, the year of uncertainty, and definitively a year of a country divided. As they say, and I say, ‘Music soothes the soul’…so forget about the outside world as you listen to these amazing young people as they bring their talent to a stage that will someday hopefully catapult them to stardom.”
AT&T came in as another major sponsor as did many AMC members and friends who had been to prior YSS programs and understood what an amazing show it always was, and wanted to be sure that the tradition would continue while supporting the AMC Education Foundation, the event beneficiary. www.yssaventura.org
Creative and Musical Director Ran Oz, CooLAM Productions, worked with nine Young Stars, ranging in age from 12 to 20, both virtually and then one by one in his studio. In prior years, there were two group songs, but COVID social distancing prevented any group songs. The 2020 Young Stars were Mason Pace who opened the show by playing guitar and singing “I Saw Her Standing There”; Sofia Gonzalez-Granda, “Somebody to Love”; Aniye Strachan, “Is This Love”; Anabella Halfen, “What About Us”; Jazlyn Rose Oritz, “When I Was Your Man”; Kristin Marii Olarte, “What’s Up”; Cameron Wheeler, “Killing Me Softly With His Song”; Camila Pocovi, “We Are the Champions”; and Emily Taylor Kaufman, “Hopelessly Devoted To You”. (see inside page for more about Young Stars). Original music scores were played by the band with Williams Sigismondi, Jr., Music Composer, on the piano, Mason Pace on guitar, Roilan Vazquez on saxophone and German Quintero on drums.
Former Young Star Nick Merico (2010) stopped by to wish this year’s Young Stars well, but accepted the invitation to go onstage to perform his original song, “City Lights”, and later, had a fun jam session with some of the Young Stars.
There were congratulatory messages from special friends, including Aventura Mayor Enid Weisman, Florida Senator Jason Pizzo, Miami-Dade School Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and a surprise message from Dennis Rodman, NBA Champion.
A live Chat Room with the Young Stars and the audience was held after the virtual showcase, and rave reviews came pouring in from around the nation and the world, as families and friends of the Young Stars watched the beautiful show. “Has Simon Cowell heard you all?”, “This is true talent!”, “What a voice!”, “Fantastic!”, “Loving the show!” and “Amazing virtual event!” were just some of the comments that filled the Chat Room as the Young Stars answered questions from the viewers.
The entire YSS was shown on Zoom with Michael and Randy Stern watching over details as Zoom Administrators. Videographer Enrico Carducci, Circo Massimo Entertainment, did a masterful job of editing the video. Although many people said that a digital YSS program book is what ‘everyone does nowadays’, the AMC believed that the event and the Young Stars deserved a more tangible memory of the 2020 YSS, and produced both a digital and hard copy program book, beautifully designed and printed by Dimitry Shaposhnikov, dsXpress/FrandMe.
Let’s go ‘behind the scenes’ to see how the live videotaping went at the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center. Everyone entering the theatre that day had been given a long list of COVID health protocols that were going to be in place. General Manager Jeff Kiltie, Event Services Manager Scott D. Miller, Technical Director Jeff Lerner and an entire team of professionals from the AACC were on hand to ensure that safety was priority one throughout the day.
You would think you were in a Ghostbusters movie as technicians, with giant cannisters of disinfectant strapped to their backs, sprayed the stage in between every performance in addition to the dressing rooms, lobby, bathrooms and hallways. The Young Stars were scheduled to arrive at different times, the live band was socially distanced from the singers as they took the stage. One by one, it was ‘lights, camera, action!’ for the Young Stars as they sang their hearts out to an empty theatre. But they—and their parents—were thrilled and so emotional…just to be on a real stage after nine months of performing on Zoom.
One thing was certain…the incredible young singers deserved to be onstage at the AACC, complete with a live band, professional light and sound technicians, even if there was no audience to wildly applaud them as they had done every year before. But hope springs eternal, and everyone’s greatest hope is that for YSS 2021, the AACC will once again be filled with people who know that they are about to be inspired by young people who have dedicated themselves to their craft and just want to share their music with the world.
For more information, visit aventuramarketingcouncil.com or call 305.932.5334