In June 2012, Nick Ziobro won the Great American Songbook High School Vocal Competition, sponsored by the Michael Feinstein Initiative, at the Palladium in Carmel. He now says, “The last nine months have been a whirlwind.”
Ziobro will be returning to the site of his triumph for the first time since he was named the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador, when he opens for five-time Grammy nominee Michael Feinstein, who will be joined by Tony Award-winner Barbara Cook, to perform music from the Great American Songbook’s golden years, Saturday, March 23 at 8 p.m.
Since winning the competition, the 16-year-old Manlius, N.Y., native has experienced a heady year that has included singing at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency in New York City; hanging out with the likes of Liza Minnelli, Betty White, Joan Collins and numerous other show business luminaries; performing at Jim Caruso’s famed “Cast Party” at Birdland; singing the national anthem at an Indianapolis Colts game; and performing in concerts all over the country with Feinstein.
Ziobro says the most special experience he had this past year, however, was when he performed with composer/musician Marvin Hamlisch and Feinstein last July in Pasadena, Calif. “When I think about it now, I realize what a monumental event it was. I kind of took it for granted when I was working with him. When he, Michael and I took a bow together, a photo was taken and sent to me shortly afterwards. The next week he passed away. Later, I looked at the picture and realized the photo had captured Marvin Hamlisch’s final bow. It was almost an incomprehensible thought,” says Ziobro.
For the past few months, Ziobro has been busy recording his first album, which will be called “Blame It on My Youth” and will include 13 tracks (the release date is unknown at this time). During the same time, and in anticipation of a long-term career, the promising young talent has assembled a team made up of his manager John Iachetti, agent Teresa Wolfe and publicist Dan Fortune.
Ziobro also found time, aside from his professional pursuits, to play Link Larkin in his Fayetteville-Manlius high school production of “Hairspray,” which he says was ”fantastic.”
“We sold out every show. We really got the message of ‘Hairspray’ across and really had fun doing it. Even though it’s my high school show and I have done a lot of exciting professional things in the last couple of months, the high school show is one of the important things to do when you are in high school. I am very glad I did it,” says Ziobro.
When asked what he thinks it will feel like to sing on the Palladium stage again, Ziobro says, “It will no doubt bring back lots of emotions and memories from when I won the competition. It feels like just yesterday. Going back will be really exciting. Not only to see the building again, but also to see Chris Lewis (education director) and the others from the Feinstein Initiative. It’s going to be just a blast.”
While in the area for Saturday’s concert, Ziobro, who is now a junior, says he is also going to make his first college visit when he tours Indiana University, where the illustrious Jacobs School of Music is located. His visit there comes as a result of an invitation by members of the faculty who attended some of last year’s competition events.
Ziobro’s successor will be chosen at the conclusion of The 2013 Great American Songbook High School Vocal Competition. It will take place at the Center for the Performing Arts, July 21-26, during which regional finalists from 22 states will participate in a five-day “boot camp” on interpreting and performing the music of the Great American Songbook. Feinstein and other top music industry professionals will conduct workshops and master classes throughout the week. The final competition performance will be held in the Palladium.
Ziobro says he has been asked to participate in the week’s activities during the competition, and he will also perform at the final competition performance.
As far as how he thinks Ziobro has progressed during the past year, his mentor, Feinstein, says, “Nick has done an amazing job this year serving as the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador. He has proven to be a great spokesman for the Songbook and the Michael Feinstein Initiative. Audiences have responded enthusiastically to Nick as he has performed in venues all across the country.
“Audiences have been asking to see him again, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity. For those who attended the vocal competition last year, they will see how he has grown and matured as a performer. This also provides a chance for those who didn’t attend the 2012 competition to see what they missed. Last year’s show was such an incredible concert that we have added the 2013 competition to the Songbook Series at the Palladium. I think Saturday’s audience will see why.”
For tickets and information about the Barbara Cook & Michael Feinstein concert, call (327) 843-3800 or visit www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org, where you may also obtain more information about the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative High School Vocal Competition.
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