Two valley girls win teen, junior ‘Singer of the Year’


Performers at the Youth Music Academy. (Submitted photo)

Performers at the Youth Music Academy. (Submitted photo)

The Youth Music Academy, an eight-week series for youth ages six to 17-years-old, hosted its Hot Pipes Grand Finals event from 3–5 p.m. on Sunday, April 12 at Arizona State University Kerr Cultural Center, in which two valley girls were named Singer of the Year.

The event featured performances from 14 students that placed in the top rankings throughout the series.

Scottsdale's Morgan Karam, the junior Singer of the Year, with her trophy.  (Submitted photo)

Scottsdale’s Morgan Karam, the junior Singer of the Year, with her trophy. (Submitted photo)

Katy Litwiller, 14-years-old of the Learning Foundation and Performing Arts school in Gilbert and Morgan Karam, 11-years-old of Cheyenne Traditional School in Scottsdale were awarded the coveted titles of Hop Pipes Showcase Singer of the Year in the teen and junior divisions, respectively.

The program, which is a bi-annual initiative of the nonprofit Arizona Music Festival Foundation, consisted of regular, hands-on workshops with the goal of helping these 30 students become well-rounded performers. Focus areas covered all aspects of stage presence including vocals, choreography, theatrical skills and more.

Each Monday, students would perform during the Hot Pipes Showcase for Singers that featured everything from rock-and-roll and disco-themed tunes to Motown tributes and throwbacks to Billy Holiday and Barbara Streisand. The program also included fieldtrips to a recording studio and the Musical Instrument Museum – giving these aspiring entertainers real-life experiences and top-notch instruction.

Gilbert's Katy Litwiller, teen Singer of the Year, with her trophy. (Submitted photo)

Gilbert’s Katy Litwiller, teen Singer of the Year, with her trophy. (Submitted photo)

“Programs like these are becoming increasingly important, especially as funding for school-provided music initiatives continue to be a challenge,” said Arizona Music Festival Foundation founder, C.C. Jones, who is also a renowned musician and producer. “We’re so thankful for the ongoing support from the Valley Toyota Dealers and are all so proud of what our students have accomplished.”

For those interested in auditioning for the fall program, they can contact Jones at 602-999-9061. The value for the 10-week program is $1,500, but the foundation offers full and partial scholarships based upon need.

The funding from the Valley Toyota Dealers helps to support these scholarships, as well as the instructors and site fees.

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