Chattanooga Christian School’s production of “Meet Me in St. Louis” took home three 2018 Spotlight Awards on Saturday night, winning for Best Set Design, Best Ensemble and Best Show.
“The thing that really stood out about these awards were that they all focused on collaboration and community,” says Director of the production, Mary Catherine Schimpf. “Winning set design really applauds the entire crew for their immense work. Winning Best Ensemble awards the entire cast for working together to perform better than any one of them could do alone. And winning best show is an incredible honor, and awards the larger team who collaborated and worked together across several art forms, and came out with a cohesive, impactful whole. I couldn’t be prouder of this team of adults and students who have learned and applied a very valuable life lesson that we are better together.”
Participating in the program for the first time, Chattanooga Christian School is one of only two high schools from East Tennessee to join 24 Middle Tennessee high schools in the 5th Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, or Spotlight Awards, created by Mike Fernandez, Dean of Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts, to recognize excellence in local high school theatre.
“We were so happy to be a part of this, and hope to do it again, for several reasons. It was an excellent learning opportunity to receive solid feedback from judges, and compete against other schools. Part of the event is a full day of workshops at Lipscomb University, in which students are able to take classes from professionals in the theatre industry. And maybe most importantly, the day was about supporting each other. We felt so cheered on and supported throughout the day. It was an uplifting, encouraging experience,” said Schimpf.
Now, presented in partnership with the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the program evaluated musical productions from 26 Tennessee high schools and recognized individual and ensemble talent in 27 categories after students participate in all-day workshops on the Lipscomb campus.
The Tony Awards-style ceremony on Saturday was hosted by award-winning actress and classically-trained musician Elizabeth A. Davis in TPAC’s Jackson Hall. Tiyanna Gentry of Hillsboro High School (Davidson) and Sevon Askew of Central Magnet High School (Rutherford) won the 2018 Spotlight Awards for Best Actress and Best Actor and will travel to New York next month to compete nationally in the Jimmy Awards on June 25.
Additional individual awards went to Cassidy Alexander of Franklin High School and Madeleine Hall of Christ Presbyterian (TIE Standout Female Dancer), Lelan Wilhoite of Siegel High School (Standout Male Dancer), Diamond Goins of Siegel High School (Standout Female Soloist), Keller Montgomery of Lipscomb Academy (Standout Male Soloist), Lorelei McDaniel of Christ Presbyterian Academy (Standout Supporting Actress), Zeth Dixon of Hume-Fogg Academic High School (Standout Supporting Actor), Kaitlyn Sumner of Franklin High School (Standout Ensemble Actress), Keegan Spurr of Grace Christian Academy (Standout Ensemble Actor), Emma Harvey of Station Camp High School (Standout Comedic Actress), David Torres of Nashville School of the Arts (Standout Comedic Actor), Abigail Wilson of Mt. Juliet Christian Academy (Standout Dramatic Actress), Will Ryan of Brentwood High School (Standout Dramatic Actor).
Other school honors went to Independence High School’s “Legally Blonde” (Best Choreography, Best Music Direction), Lipscomb Academy’s “Cinderella” (Best Vocals, Best Overall Tech), Mt. Juliet Christian Academy’s “Singin’ in the Rain” (Best Costume Design, Best Direction), Hume-Fogg Academic High School’s “Hello, Dolly!” (Best Orchestra), Station Camp High School’s “On the Town” (Best Hair and Makeup Design), Grace Christian Academy’s “Beauty and the Beast” (Best Lighting Design) and Hillsboro High School’s “Into the Woods” (Best Overall Design Concept).
The 26 Tennessee high schools participating in the program include (DAVIDSON) Cane Ridge High School, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Davidson Academy, Father Ryan High School, Hillsboro High School, Hume-Fogg Academic High School, Lipscomb Academy, Nashville School of the Arts, Overton High School, St. Cecilia Academy; (DICKSON) Creek Wood High School; (HAMILTON) Chattanooga Christian School; (KNOX) Grace Christian Academy; (MAURY) Columbia Academy; (PUTNAM) Monterey High School; (RUTHERFORD) Central Magnet High School, Siegel High School; (SUMNER) Hendersonville High School, Station Camp High School; (WILLIAMSON) Battle Ground Academy, Brentwood High School, Franklin High School, Independence High School, Page High School, Ravenwood High School and (WILSON) Mt. Juliet Christian Academy.
Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment & the Arts is one of the fastest-growing colleges in the university, with a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. The mission of the college is to be a Christ-centered, innovative, entrepreneurial arts community committed to rigorous artistic training, creative collaboration and professional growth that seeks to train the next generation of believer artists who seek to uplift, challenge and entertain. For more information, visit cea.lipscomb.edu.
Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America and Coca-Cola. TPAC is funded in part by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission.