By Sarah Sikandar
Signal Staff Writer
It’s Bond, Andrew Bond – the only student from Santa Clarita to be shortlisted for The Music Center’s Annual Spotlight Competition. The 17-year-old senior goes to Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and has been shortlisted in the acting category.
Bond is among 100 students chosen from a pool of more than 1,300 teens from more than 256 schools from Santa Barbara to San Diego. The Spotlight Program is a performing arts competition, scholarship and artistic development platform for teens in various categories. The program also supports performing arts aspirants through various mentoring stages, auditions and performance opportunities. Since it started in 1988, more than 53,000 students have participated, and many have gone on to distinguished careers in performing arts.
Bond, who remembers being a performer since childhood – from putting up performances in his living room to getting involved with theater programs in Santa Clarita – before realizing how much he loves it and found a school to kick it off. It was at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts where he found out about the Spotlight competition, where he will be representing Santa Clarita.
Bond is inspired by his friends as well as his teacher Devin Armstrong. A recent favorite is Jennifer Lawrence’s performance the 2007 movie “Joy.” “She’s incredible.”
Storytelling excites Bond, and acting, he feels, is rewarding. “There’s something so magical about telling somebody’s story, through your perspective and adding your own touch to a character, learning about a person and diving deep into their emotions.”
Thirteen teens made it to the acting shortlist, and Bond is one of them. Each semifinalist will audition again before a new panel of judges, who will then select the top two finalist performers in each category for a total of 14 Grand Prize Finalists.
“I’m a little nervous but I am so excited. Last year was the first time I applied for Spotlight and I made it to the semifinals. I’m so excited we get an opportunity to actually perform it for the judges because I think in-person connection is important.”
He is working on his performance for the next audition, “We’ll see. I have three monologues.”
Jeri Gaile, Fredric Roberts director of The Music Center’s Spotlight program said that the focus of the program is developing students’ artistic skills and nurturing their growth. “
“Our goal is to support each applicant in every way possible, be that providing detailed notes from a judge on how to better their performance or showing them alternative careers in the arts beyond the stage.”
The Grand Prize Finalists are scheduled to perform on June 15 at 7:30 p.m. at The Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.