Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Overture Awards finalists hit the stage on Saturday

By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

Julie Rawe

FORT MITCHELL - Julie Rawe admits that a story about Japanese beetles eating a tree in her back yard may not sound exciting. But it's one of 20 childhood memories she has made exciting through creative writing, giving her a shot at a $2,500 scholarship Saturday.

Julie, 17, a junior at Beechwood High School, is one of four finalists in the creative writing category of the Cincinnati Arts Association's eighth annual Overture Awards competition.

There are 24 finalists in six categories - creative writing, dance, instrumental music, theater, visual art and vocal music - competing for $24,000 in college scholarships. The winner in each category will receive a $2,500 scholarship. The rest will each receive a $500 scholarship.

Creative Writing
Megan Freshley, senior, School for Creative and Performing Arts; Julie Rawe, junior, Beechwood; Rachel Scheller, senior, Simon Kenton; and April Yee, senior, Cincinnati Country Day.
Priya T. Parikh, sophomore, Princeton; Emily Scott, junior, Newport Central Catholic; Megan Vesper, senior, SCPA; and Katie Volkerding, junior, Batavia.
Instrumental Music
P. Connor Chee, sophomore, SCPA; Andrea Lee, junior, Sycamore; Cameron R. Logan, senior, SCPA; and Catherine Turner, senior, Lakota West, senior.
David Andrew Morton, sophomore, Ryle; Joe Sofranko, junior, Walnut Hills; Lauren Sprague, sophomore, Lakota West; and Andrew Wehling, senior, Sycamore.
Visual Art
Tessa Luken, senior, Mother of Mercy; Emily E. Moorhead, senior, Mariemont; Katie Overmann, senior, McNicholas; and Ellen Thomas, senior, Oak Hills.
Vocal Music
Megan Aylward, senior, Anderson; Kristin Conrad, senior, Turpin; Kera Halbersleben, senior, Kings; and Kendall Karg, junior, Milford.What: Overture Awards Finals Competition.
When: 2:30-5 p.m. Saturday. A reception will be held 5-6:30 p.m., with the winners to be announced in the theater at 6:30.
Where: Jarson-Kaplan Theater at Aronoff Center for the Arts, downtown.
Cost: $5 for the finals competition (2:30-5 p.m.) and $5 for the reception and awards (5-7:30 p.m.).
Julie's creative writing piece is titled "Fingerprints." It includes 20 vignettes - each about 50-60 words - that show the people and events of her childhood memories through poetry and prose.

"Even if it doesn't win, it's something I'm very proud of," she said.

There were a record 425 entries this year. Submissions came from students at public, private and home schools in grades 9-12 in 13 Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio counties.

"It's really growing in terms of reputation," said Dana Bango, awards program manager. The finalists in the dance, instrumental music, theater and vocal music categories will be judged on stage at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Finalists in the visual arts and creative writing categories will have their work judged this week off-stage, though Julie will still have to read her piece for about 30 seconds for the audience Saturday.

"I'm nervous, but I think it will be OK," she said.

Julie said she got help on her piece from two of her English teachers - Chris Crouch and Ruth Johnson. Johnson, in her first year at Beechwood, read a summer writing assignment Julie did and was impressed.

"Hers stood out," said Johnson. "She has a way of turning a phrase and writing from the heart."

The winners in the Overture's creative writing category the last two years were Johnson's students at Holmes High School, where she taught for 20 years.

Johnson said Julie should be proud of making it this far.

"Just getting to this level in this competition is extraordinary," Johnson said.


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