Texas girl wins Great American Songbook in Carmel

Maddie Baillio was crowned the 2014 winner of the Great American Songbook Vocal Academy and Competition Friday night.

The 18-year-old from League City, TX, competed with a dozen others from around the nation for the third annual event.

During the finals concert at The Palladium, she sang two American standards: “Misty,” and “Murder, He Says.”

As the first place winner, Baillio receives $3,000 and the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to perform with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein. The winner will serve as the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador for one year and will have opportunities to perform throughout the year.

Last year's winner was Julia Goodwin, who currently is making news of her own as a finalist for America's Got Talent on NBC. Julia will be competing this week live on WTHR-13 at Radio City Music Hall for a chance to win that competition.

Baillio is a recent graduate from Clear Falls High School in League City, Texas. Her musical interest was sparked when she realized that she was not going to succeed in athletics. Since that moment, she has kept her life busy with choir, theatre, and dance in and out of the school setting.

She participates in musicals and plays at regional theatres in Houston, while teaching private vocal lessons to students. Her goal in life is to continue to share her gift of performing and music whether it is performing on the stage or educating others.

Baillio joined 11 other high school vocalists at the week-long academy and competition, held in Carmel.

The annual event is sponsored by The Great American Songbook Foundation and is the only U.S. competition dedicated solely to the music from Broadway, Hollywood musicals and the Tin Pan Alley era of the early to mid-twentieth century.

Nia Savoy, Shreveport, LA, was named Songbook Inspiration Award, and Grayson Samuels, St. Petersburg, FL, was named Songbook Celebration Award, each receiving $1000 toward continuing music education.

Serving as professional mentors this year were Cheryl Bentyne, Grammy Award-winning jazz singer from Manhattan Transfer; Marc Cherry, “Desperate Housewives” creator, television producer, and Songbook aficionado; Michael Feinstein, competition founder and five-time Grammy nominee; Sylvia McNair, two-time Grammy Award winner and regional Emmy Award winner. The mentors selected the Youth Ambassador at the end of the final performance.

Other finalists for the 2014 competition included:

>>> Paige Brown: Senior at Franklin Central High School (Indianapolis, Indiana)

>>> Jacob Stuckert: Junior at Grove City High School (Grove City, Ohio)

>>> Nick Drivas: Senior at the Manatee School for the Arts (Palmetto, Florida)

>>> Nia Savoy: Senior at Caddo Magnet High School (Shreveport, Louisiana)

>>> Grayson Samuels: Senior at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School (St. Petersburg, Florida)

>>> Milla Guerra: Senior at the ChiArts School (Chicago, Illinois)

>>> Molly Hernandez: Senior at Glenbord West High School (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)

>>> Merissa Beddows: Junior year at Yonkers Montessori Academy (Yonkers, New York)

>>> Claire Dickson: Home school student (Medford, Massachusetts)

>>> Jordan Plutzer: 2014 graduate from St. Francis High School (San Carlos, California)

>>> Christina Euphrat: 2014 graduate from Sir Francis Drake High School (San Anselmo, California)

The national sponsors of the Vocal Competition are Irwin and Betty Helford. Program Sponsors are Jeff and Britt McDermott, the Efroymson Family Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation, and The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. The final performance is part of the Stratford Songbook Series and is sponsored by Salon 01 and Aquage. Media support provided by Current Publishing.

The mission of The Great American Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, Founder, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the Great American Songbook.

Media links

Watch highlight reel of Vocal Competition: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNI4rB_S6w8

Watch video of 2013 Winner, Julia Goodwin, Perform at the Competition:


Watch video of 2012 Winner, Nick Ziobro, Perform at the Competition:


Watch promotion reel for Vocal Competition:


Information: www.FeinsteinInitiative.org

Information: www.TheCenterPresents.org