Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Rising Stars

Posted March 13, 2008

Who are some of the up-and-coming stars in entertainment that you admire? Maybe you have discovered someone in your community. Perhaps it is a young musician, dancer or artist you have seen in person or on television. Please share.

Last night I co-hosted the 25th annual Pieces of Gold program celebrating the amazing talents of Wake County students in music, dance, theatre and visual arts. What a wonderful evening! The performances were fresh, tight and highly entertaining to the sell-out crowd in Memorial Auditorium at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

The evening provided my first opportunity to hear Brandon Cheng. This 13 year old cellist from Ligon Middle School was phenomenal. Brandon is getting ready for his Carnegie Hall debut this month with pianist Melody Lin of the Silver Strings Orchestra at Ligon School in Raleigh. Brandon’s silky style and impeccable intonation wowed the audience.

John W. Lambert of Classical Voice of North Carolina recently reviewed Brandon’s performance at the Carolina Theatre in Durham. Lambert described Brandon’s reading of a cello concerto with the Durham Symphony Orchestra as “ravishing all ‘round; the solo part seemed to glow from within, and the orchestra was with him all the way.” Brandon continues to excel under the tutelage of Leonid Zilper of the NC Symphony.

What about you? Have you heard any ravishing performances lately? Please share.


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  • blytle Mar 13, 2008

    Thanks, Bill and fishnett5977! You guys are the best encouragers in the world!!

  • mlbangel81 Mar 13, 2008 Check out this young lady who is only 14 years old. She sings bluegrass and gospel. I think that you will enjoy!!

  • fishnett5977 Mar 13, 2008

    Amen, Bill!!! :)

  • Celt Mar 13, 2008

    Oh, keep your eyes out for Taylor Madill. Though still a student at Jordan High School, this student of Liz Grayson (Opera Company of NC) has one of the purest, loveliest voices I have heard in years. She is absolutely amazing.

  • suchhappiness Mar 13, 2008

    Wasn't John Holmes a rising star too?

  • bleslie Mar 13, 2008

    And keep your eye on mdoodle and murdock in the literary world!

  • blytle Mar 13, 2008

    Keep your eyes open for John Arthur Greene. He'll be winning a Tony award one day for musical theatre. He recently completed a six-month European tour of the 50th anniversary revival of West Side Story. Many people will remember him for roles with North Carolina Theatre and Kids on Broadway. He has recently relocated from Raleigh to Texas, but we expect him to be back in New York soon, pursuing his dream of taking Broadway by storm. Good luck and break a leg, John Arthur!

  • dryhumper Mar 13, 2008

    Kaki King comes to mind. She plays killer guitar!

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