Seventeen-year-old Idyllwild Arts Academy senior Mark Beebe was one of 14 “future superstars” selected as Grand Prize Finalists at The Music Center’s 31st-annual Spotlight Program. He will perform at the ticketed Grand Finale Performance at The Music Center’s Walt Disney Concert Hall at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 4.
About 1,600 students auditioned from more than 253 high schools in 195 cities and eight California counties in seven competition programs. Mark was entered in the Jazz Instrumental program, playing alto saxophone. He selected Billy Strayhorn’s “Isfahan” and Benny Golson’s “Stablemates” for the competition and was backed by IA grad Owen Zorn on bass and a drummer. In addition to performing in the Grand Finale Performance, Mark won a $5,000 scholarship.
According to Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center, the Spotlight Program “nurtures nascent talent into blossoming performers or even future arts administrators by preparing them for the road ahead.” She views high schools as “the ultimate crossroad of life,” adding that Spotlight “offers a vital step forward for those students dreaming of a performing arts career.”
Jeri Gaile, director of the Spotlight Program, stated, “We’re so impressed with this year’s cadre of Spotlight finalists. They have the insight now to decide their path forward. We’re excited to watch these stars shine even brighter in the future.”
Paul Carman, one of Mark’s instructors at Idyllwild Arts, opined that Mark is “definitely the best sax player we’ve graduated” and “one of the very best jazz performers.” Carman related that for next year, Mark has been accepted at many fine schools, including Berklee College of Music in Boston, The New School in New York City, California Institute of the Arts and Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio, and that Mark will be attending the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in the Netherlands, which Carman praised as having a “very, very fine reputation.”
Tickets to the June 4 Spotlight Grand Finale Performance are $20 and can be purchased from the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Box Office at 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012, by calling 213 972-0711 or by visiting musiccenter.org/spotlightfinale.