Local girl competes in Detroit Celebration of Music contest

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published April 29, 2019

 Chloe Szymanski, of Shelby Township, is a Detroit finalist in the Celebration of Music, a contest that showcases young musical talent across the country. Winners will be announced during the Ethan Bortnick concert at the Detroit Music Hall May 4.

Chloe Szymanski, of Shelby Township, is a Detroit finalist in the Celebration of Music, a contest that showcases young musical talent across the country. Winners will be announced during the Ethan Bortnick concert at the Detroit Music Hall May 4.

Photo provided by Amy Szymanski

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP —  A young Shelby Township resident is hoping to make it to the top in a music contest put on by Sun and Sky Entertainment Inc.

Chloe Szymanski, a 12 year-old from Shelby Township, was selected as a contestant in the Detroit Celebration of Music and could win May 4 with the help of her peers’ votes.

The Celebration of Music contest was started in 2017 and showcases young people’s musical talent across America, including singers, musicians, bands and dancers between the ages of 4 and 25.

The Celebration of Music was inspired by Ethan Bortnick, an American pianist, singer, composer, songwriter, actor and musician who became the youngest artist to have his own national PBS concert special, “The Power of Music.”

There are a total of 35 finalists in Detroit, and Szymanski is one of them competing for the title.

“I am very excited that I made it to be a finalist. I can’t believe that I was selected, because there are so many talented singers and musicians in this competition. It would be amazing if I win, but if I don’t, this will still be a good experience for me.” Szymanski said.

Szymanski had submitted a video of her singing “Think of Me,” from “The Phantom of the Opera,” for the audition in December. This is a song that she sang at the Music Achievers Conservatory’s Fall Classic competition at Evola Music last November, where she won first place in her age group.

According to mom Amy Szymanski, Chloe was notified via email from Sun and Sky Entertainment at the beginning of February that she had been selected as a finalist for the Detroit competition.

At the age of 9, Chloe began taking formal vocal and piano lessons at Evola Music in Shelby Township. Her vocal teacher recognized her talent and encouraged her to audition for the Michigan Opera Theatre Children’s Chorus.

From the age of 9 to now, she has performed on the Detroit Opera House stage and participated in performances of “The Mikado,” “The Hobbit” and “H.M.S. Pinafore.” She even had the opportunity to sing onstage with the chorus and Ethan Bortnick at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn during her first year in the chorus.

Chloe received her first lead role as Cowboy Bobbie in “Footloose” last summer and has also taken acting classes at Peanut Gallery Players at Oakland University.

She takes vocal and drama classes at Malow Junior High School and was selected to participate in the Michigan School Vocal Music Association 6-7-8-9 Honors Choir this year.

One of Chloe’s voice teachers, Monta Jones, had let her students know of the contest, and Chloe decided to try out for the competition because she loves to sing and there was nothing to lose by trying.     

“If she didn’t try, she would have no chance at winning at all,” said Amy.

Chloe has done a few competitions, such as the American Guild of Music Great Lakes Regional, National Federation of Junior Festivals and the MAC Open Fall Classic, but nothing as big as this, where she’ll be on television.

Chloe has been singing all of her life, and her mother said Chloe would hum herself to sleep before she could talk.

Her performance first aired on Detroit PBS April 26, and voting will go until May 4. The winners will be announced during the Ethan Bortnick concert at the Detroit Music Hall May 4. Votes can be cast on the website and also at the concert.

The winners of the contest will sing a solo during the May 4 performance and will also go to Los Angeles to perform in a show that will be aired on PBS nationwide.

All of the contestants will participate in a group performance during the finale of the May 4 concert and will have the opportunity to meet Ethan Bortnick.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for her, and we are looking for community support, as one winner is selected based on votes. The other winner is selected by the producers,” said Amy.

If Chloe does win, she said she would be excited to get to do all the things the winner gets to do.

“It will be really cool and fun to go to Los Angeles if I win. I’ve never been there, so it will be really cool to see what it’s like. I’ve always wanted to go to California. It will also be a great experience to be on the national TV show for Celebration of Music,” said Chloe.

She said she hopes to see herself doing big things with music when she is older.

“I would love to be on Broadway. If that doesn’t work out, I’d like to be a choir teacher or a wedding singer,” said Chloe.

Amy said she is proud of her daughter’s achievements.

“I’m always proud of this girl, whether she is singing or not,” she said.

“I love her determination and that she continuously pushes herself out of her comfort zone. If she wins, she will be singing a solo performance in a venue that has seating for over 1,500 people,” said Amy.

“The voice is a very personal instrument. When you sing, your emotions and nerves come out in your voice, and to allow yourself to show that kind of vulnerability in front of an audience, that takes bravery,” Amy said. “I admire her for that.”

For more information on the contest, visit celebrationofmusic.com.

To view Chloe’s bio and voting page, visit celebrationofmusic.com/chloe-szymanski.

To see all Detroit contestants, visit celebrationofmusic.com/detroit-mi-2019.

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