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Applications open for Songbook Academy 2021

12/17/2020 12AM

Finalists Lily Shires of Florence, Kentucky, Robert Barksdale of Buffalo, New York, and Noah Sorscher of Camp Dennison, Ohio, perform at the 2019 Songbook Academy Finals at the Center for the Performing Arts.

National summer intensive connects high school vocalists with arts and

entertainment professionals for week of mentoring, lifetime of networking


Apply at; early-bird deadline Feb. 15


WATCH: Songbook Academy week-in-review video


CARMEL, Ind. – U.S. high school singers with interests in musical theater, jazz and classic popular music can apply now to experience a life-changing week of performances, pre-professional training and personal mentoring from Broadway stars and other arts and entertainment professionals.


The Great American Songbook Foundation has opened the application process for its 12th annual Songbook Academy® national music intensive, taking place July 17-24, 2021, at the Foundation’s home, the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. Candidates may apply at


Only 40 students nationwide are selected each year to experience a lively and rigorous schedule of workshops and masterclasses on topics such as vocal technique, vocal health, song interpretation, phrasing, stage presence, music history, business concerns and auditioning for college arts programs. Participants build relationships with peers and pros, perform before live audiences and join the Songbook Academy Alumni Network to stay connected and informed about college programs, auditions and performance opportunities.


Heading up the roster of professional mentors, as always, will be Songbook Foundation Founder Michael Feinstein, the five-time Grammy-nominated “Ambassador of the Great American Songbook.” The 2021 guest mentors are still to be announced; last year’s included Postmodern Jukebox founder Scott Bradlee, Tony and Grammy nominee Ashley Park, Tony winner Faith Prince and nine-time Grammy winner Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer.


The week culminates in the Songbook Academy Finals, a performance presented by the Center for the Performing Arts in the 1,600-seat Palladium concert hall. Awards are presented for excellence in several categories, and many finalists receive national performance opportunities. The Songbook Academy is sponsored nationally by the Efroymson Family Fund.


Songbook Academy alumni include Maddie Baillio (2014), who appeared in NBC’s Hairspray Live! and Netflix’s Dumplin’ and joins an all-star cast in the upcoming film adaptation of Cinderella; Anaïs Reno (2018), who has performed at Birdland and Feinstein’s/54 Below in Manhattan and recently was profiled in the New York Times among “the next generation of cabaret showstoppers”; and Melinda Rodriguez (2013) and Julia Cooper (2016), who have competed in recent seasons of NBC’s The Voice.


Because of public health concerns, Songbook Academy moved to a virtual format in 2020. With similar contingency plans at the ready, the Foundation intends to offer the 2021 program on-site at the Center for the Performing Arts’ three-venue campus, Executive Director Christopher Lewis said.


“Although we missed gathering in person last summer, the feedback from the finalists and their families was as positive as ever, and the performances reached wider audiences than ever before,” Lewis said. “We’ll be monitoring the developments, but we are confident that we can provide an unforgettable experience regardless of the circumstances.”


How to apply


To be considered for the Songbook Academy, high school students living in the United States are invited to submit videos with performances of two contrasting songs. These selections can include songs from the Broadway stage and the golden age of Hollywood as well as jazz standards written from the 1920s to the 1960s. Submissions are evaluated by a panel of music educators and industry professionals who provide written feedback to every applicant.


The application deadline is March 15, 2021, with an early-bird discount available through Feb. 15. Need-based scholarships, fee waivers and other financial-aid opportunities are available.


More details and application information are available at or by email at


About the Great American Songbook Foundation

The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time Grammy® Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the timeless standards of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. Headquartered at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, the Foundation advances this rich musical legacy by curating a vast archive of items representing its creators, performers and publishers; operating a multimedia exhibit gallery; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars and artists; and providing educational opportunities for student musicians, including the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive. The Foundation is a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum®. More information is available at