Our productions showcase the many extremely talented youth from Pasco County and surrounding areas. The events are conducted in a professional
atmosphere with judges from central Florida who are outstanding in
their respective fields. Every year youngsters through grade
12 compete in the preliminaries, for the thrill of becoming a "finalist".
There is an application fee to enter, and tickets are required to
attend the final exciting productions. The final performances are attended
by over 600 people from the area communities as the talented finalists
shine for their friends, families and the audience, as well as another
panel of qualified, professional judges.
We give out over $4,000 in cash and trophies to reward the talent
and efforts of students through high school. Singers,
instrumental musicians, acrobats, novelty acts, bands, baton twirlers,
dancers and other forms of entertainment are welcome to participate.
There are several age categories for solos, and one or two general group categories,
and a student may enter as a solo and with a group. Participants
are judged primarily on talent, and also on stage presence and appropriate appearance.
We give beautiful trophies for multiple places in each category. Since we feel strongly that
each finalist is indeed a winner, every single finalist act receives
a trophy. Every child
who auditions and does not make the finals is sent a ribbon which
allows them to attend the finals free of charge as our guest.
Of significant interest is a partial list of accomplishments that
former "Spotlight on Talent" performers have achieved. Many have
attended college on dance or music scholarships, including the Boston
Conservatory of Music, and Indiana and Yale Universities. Spotlight
alums have performed professionally on Broadway in The King and I, with the Festival Ballet of
Utah, with Sheila E, and the Florida Orchestra, multiple participants in American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, one attended the
Aspen Music Festival, and several were named Miss Pasco County among
other pageant titles. Several rock musicians have made CDs. One alum even recently had a guest role on the TV hit "Ugly Betty". Heritage Arts is proud of these young
people and appreciates the positive and creative work that they
can produce. Producer Barbara Friedman notes with excitement that
the 34 year old competition has now come "full circle". Spotlight
"alums" who were annual contestants are now in positions of responsibility
such as judges, HACA Board members, backstage helpers, or teachers
of this year's talented students.
This uplifting and exciting day of entertainment is one of
the highlights of the year for our community, and many gifted young
people eagerly wait each spring for a chance to shine as a true
star! It is indeed a rewarding event for all - sponsors, audience,
producers, and performers!