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Summer Pops

Bob Benson performs with the Racine Symphony Orchestra at a Summer Pops concert. The RSO is inviting performers of all ages to apply for the opportunity to perform with the symphony in the 2018 Racine Talent Showcase at its August 24, Lakeside Pops Concert at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St.

RACINE — Anyone who’s ever dreamed of sharing the stage with a symphony orchestra has a chance to make that dream come true, thanks to a new event offered by the Racine Symphony Orchestra.

The RSO is inviting performers of all ages to apply for the opportunity to perform with the symphony in the 2018 Racine Talent Showcase at its Lakeside Pops Concert, scheduled for Aug. 24 at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St. And it’s not just string, woodwind and brass players who are encouraged to apply.

Vocalists, dancers and instrumentalists of all genres are invited to send a video recording of their performance to the symphony for consideration. Selections can be 3 to 10 minutes in length and must include the entire performance. Links to a video of the performance posted on YouTube also will be accepted. The deadline to apply is March 1.

Performances should be something appropriate for accompaniment by the Racine Symphony, said Beth Bender, RSO executive director. But they don’t have to involve classical music. While something like stand-up comedy probably wouldn’t work in this setting, Bender said, the showcase is open to other, different kinds of performers. The symphony will assume responsibility for arrangements.

Sharing gifts

Pasquale Laurino, RSO artistic director and conductor, said he hopes the talent showcase will attract individuals or groups, of all ages, “who perform with a unique voice, sound or movement.”

“The RSO is casting a wide net to include unique and deserving talent, and providing a chance to collaborate with the symphony and share their special gifts with the community,” Laurino said.

Because the symphony’s pops concerts — presented twice in the summer and once at holiday time — draw its largest audiences, the Aug. 24 event will offer a tremendous opportunity for talent showcase performers to expand their reach, Bender said.

She also said that organizers are hoping the new event will help change people’s perceptions of symphony concerts as stuffy occasions.

“No one needs to wear a tie to a pops concert,” Bender said. “It is a party atmosphere, and we are hoping people will come and see that.”

How to qualify

Applicants’ video recordings, or YouTube video links, should be sent to Bender at

Laurino will select performers from the applications received and all applicants will be notified by April 3 of the outcome. In addition to being available for the 7 p.m. Aug. 24 concert, applicants must be available for rehearsals on Aug. 21 and 23, from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Questions about the showcase can be directed to Bender at or 262-636-9285.

The 2018 Racine Talent Showcase, with its goal of discovering and nurturing new talent, fits with the RSO’s mission to “enrich, educate and entertain our communities through the power of music.” Other community outreach programs offered by the symphony include its Young Artists Competition, for instrumental students in grades nine through 12; its annual concerts for fifth-grade students throughout the Racine area; its Middle School Mentorship Program; and its Holiday Pops High School Choral Invitational, featuring members of local high school chorales performing together with the orchestra.

For more about the RSO, its programs and performances, go to

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Features Reporter

Lee Roberts is the features writer for The Journal Times, covering a wide range of subjects, from the local arts scene to profiles of interesting people and places in our community. She is also a part-time page editor.

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