Cleveland Student Accepted into Prestigious Theater and Music Intensive


Clarion photo Kira Chan

Morgan Demetre

By Kira Chan, Copy Editor

Incoming junior Morgan Demetre was accepted into a prestigious summer music and theater intensive taught by Grammy winner and singer, Michael Feinstein. “I wanted to do it because it’s an amazing opportunity,” she said.

The Songbook Academy is a workshop put on by the The Great American Songbook Foundation which was founded by Feinstein. It is held in Carmel, Indiana, and lasts one week, beginning on July 15. At the intensive, they work on songs from the Great American Songbook genre; these are pop and jazz songs from the early 1900s, created for Broadway theatre, musical theatre, and Hollywood musical film.

The high-school level performers are able to enhance their theater and music talents by being evaluated and mentored by music industry professionals, award winning singers and performers, and educators. At the end of the week, a final competition is held at the Palladium Concert Hall which seats over 1,600 people. Ten finalists are picked to sing solos, and out of the finalists, one person is chosen to become the youth ambassador for the year. This holds many opportunities, such as singing at NFL games and alongside Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall.

Applicants submitted videos to the program of them singing two different songs of their choice from the Great American Songbook. These videos were reviewed by a panel of professionals who provided written feedback for every applicant. Only 40 people out of the country are chosen, and after a two month wait, Demetre found out she was one of those 40 people.

“I was really proud of myself [when I found out I got in],” said Demetre. “It was kind of amazing actually because it’s a 24% acceptance rate and and it’s kind of one of those feelings; I don’t know how to describe it actually, kind of euphoric, I guess.”

Demetre’s voice teacher introduced her to the opportunity. She has an extensive past of musical theater experience. “I’ve been performing since as long as I can remember,” she said. As a young child she focused on singing, and in middle school was able to immerse herself more into theater when she took drama teacher Tom Beckett’s class at DaVinci Arts Middle School. At Cleveland, she has performed in Night of Ashes, Les Misérables, One Acts, and is on the artistic council. Demetre’s talents extend outside of school as well, as she is a part of the YPs, or Young Professionals, at the Oregon Children’s Theater, and has an agent.

Due to her history and experience in this field, she has been to camps similar to the Songbook Academy in the past, but not to this high of a level. Despite the excitement of the program, she recognized that the bar is raised and here will be a strong sense of competition.

“Honestly I’m just nervous to sing in front of Michael Feinstein. There are also sometimes broadway actresses and actors who come work with you and that’s kind of terrifying because they’re idols of mine. I’m just really excited to go and meet new people and sing songs.”