MANSFIELD — The most talented singer in Mansfield will officially be crowned on March 21 at the Renaissance Theatre.
The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra will present its fifth concert of the season with “Mash-Up” on Saturday, March 21 at 8 p.m. at the Renaissance Theatre. Under the direction of Octavio Más-Arocas, the event will feature six singing competition finalists and Michigan-based group, Westbound Situation.
The local vocal finalists are Allie Carter of the group Coma Love singing “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, Audrey Lee-Strohm singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, Jarica Awwiller singing Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me To the Moon,” Matti-Lynn Chrisman singing “Shallow” from A Star Is Born, Patrick Clinage singing Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” and Ryan Shreve singing “The Music of the Night” from The Phantom of the Opera.
Half of the group are veterans of the Renaissance, half are making their debut performance, and all six already consider themselves winners for sharing the stage with such good company.
"I'm all about the experience, I'm so excited to be up on stage with a symphony and be able to sing," Allie Carter said. "That's something not everybody gets to do."
"I'm excited I get to do this with such talented people. It's a dream come true, honestly," added Audrey Lee-Strohm.
The six finalists were chosen from 30 video applicants that were narrowed down to 10 finalists. The 10 finalists were then narrowed down again to the current six through online voting that took place during the month of November.
The six finalists were selected by the Mansfield Symphony’s artistic team to perform their song with the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra. Music Director Octavio Más-Arocas will arrange the pieces for the orchestra.
The audience will select the winner at the concert. Third place will receive $50, second will receive $100, and first place will receive $250 and the opportunity to perform as a guest artist in the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra’s 2020-21 Season.
“We have a wealth of local talent in our area, and it’s a tremendous opportunity to showcase these outstanding performers with our symphony,” said Más-Arocas.
Performing with a full orchestra at their backs is an experience unfamiliar to many. Of the finalists, only Patrick Clinage has performed in a similar manner while overseas.
"It's glorious because you can feel people's emotions as they're playing the instrument behind you, and if you let yourself feel the movement of the air around you as they're playing, it's a heavenly experience," Clinage said.
"As you start singing you won't realize there's an audience in front of you because you're so focused on the people behind you and the conductor."
Meanwhile, Jarica Awwiller and Audrey Lee-Strohm are adjusting to appearing as solo performers on the Renaissance stage.
"I'm super nervous, when I'm performing with multiple people they're not focused on me but here, this is my thing. So it's a whole different experience," Awwiller said.
"I've been performing for like 15 years so I'm obviously used to that, but it's always nerve-wracking going to a new place with new people who have really not heard me. I might pee my pants," Lee-Strohm said.
Nerves are still getting to Ryan Shreve and Matti-Lynn Chrisman, who have performed in almost back-to-back shows at the Renaissance for a year now.
"I've done almost 30 shows there and I still get nervous, and this time it's going to be totally different because in my mind it's going to be a different audience than what normally comes to a Broadway musical," Shreve said.
"And on top of that, it's not a character I'm playing, it's myself. I don't have the facade of another character or persona, people are seeing me as me."
Tickets for the "Mash-Up" concert are on sale now at the Renaissance Box Office, via phone at (419) 522-2726, and online at RenTickets.org.
"It's going to be scary, but good," Carter said. "This is something I've always wanted to do and I'm excited I'm able to check it off my bucket list."
This story is brought to you in part by the Renaissance Theatre. For more information on upcoming shows, visit www.rentickets.org.