VSA Ohio To Present Annual Young Soloists Awards

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The first place winner in VSA Ohio's Young Soloists Awards this year is Brian Michael Moore, a vocalist and bone cancer survivor from Cincinnati.(Photo: Courtesy Photo)
The first place winner in VSA Ohio's Young Soloists Awards this year is Brian Michael Moore, a vocalist and bone cancer survivor from Cincinnati.(Photo: Courtesy Photo)

VSA Ohio – The International Organization on Arts and Disability – is a statewide service organization in support of artists with disabilities that aims to empower people with disabilities creatively and inclusively through the arts.

The organization was founded in the 1970s as Very Special Arts by Jean Kennedy Smith. Now in her 80s, Smith remains active in the national organization (VSA Ohio is now one of 30+ statewide branches).

VSA Ohio Executive Director Erin Hoppe says the arts are power for everyone but are beneficial to people with disabilities.

The organization works with opera singers who are blind, painters who are deaf, film makers who can’t walk, and visual artists in wheelchairs.

When you experience their art you forget quickly the term “disability”, and focus on the beauty and the talent  before you.

VSA Ohio Presents Annual Young Soloists Awards

On Thursday, May 12 at 4 p.m. in the Vern Riffe Center, VSA Ohio presents a 25th Anniversary Celebration honoring people who have increased access to the arts over the years.

This year, four young soloists, artists overcoming challenges all under the age of 25, have been named VSA Ohio Young Soloists of the year:

Brian Michael Moore, baritone has survived two bouts with cancer that left him with a fused shoulder joint. The sports he loved were out, but music remains very much in. Brian is a multi award winner for his singing. Here’s why:

[audio src=" http://wosu.org/audio/classical/2011/BRIANVSA.mp3"]

Macy McClain, from Bellefontaine

Macy McClain has been blind from birth. She marched in the 2010 Rose Bowl Parade with the Ohio School for the Blind Marching Band.

Mary uses braille music, but also uses Lime, music notation software that helps her learn pieces by ear. Mary is a music education major at Wright State University:

[audio src="http://wosu.org/audio/classical/2011/MARYVSA.mp3"]

Jacob Kopcienski, from Bowling Green

Jacob Kopcienski was diagnosed with bi lateral moderate to severe hearing loss. He wears hearing aids in both ears.

Jacob has played the saxophone from a very young age. He’s actively involved in chamber music with the award nominated Phrixos quartet. Jacob is majoring in music education and saxophone performance at Bowling Green State University:

[audio src="http://wosu.org/audio/classical/2011/JACOBVSA.mp3"]

James Sundquist, from Gallipolis

James Sundquist was diagnosed with type 1 insulin dependent diabetes when in the 2nd grade. His sugar levels are controlled by an insulin pump.

James is a pianist, clarinetist and hand bell musician who studies music education, choral music and piano at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

[audio src="http://wosu.org/audio/classical/2011/JAMESVSA.mp3"]

To hear these young soloists in performance, and to learn more about VSA Ohio in the company of smart, dedicated people, come to the Riffe Center on May 12.

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