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Metro Parks looking for next cultural arts icon

by PRIDE Newsdesk
2020 annual Dr. Matthew Kennedy Memorial Talent Hunt award recipients.

Metro Parks’ will host the annual Dr. Matthew Kennedy Memorial Talent Hunt on Saturday, March 4, at 3 pm. The Talent Hunt aims to encourage and support the creative potential of high school students in the Nashville area and across the globe. Conceived as an idea right after World War II, the original Talent Hunt Program took place in 1946 under the auspices of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, the first international fraternal organization founded on the campus of a Historically Black College.

Young creators and performers (grades 9-12) in vocal, dance, instrumental, dramatic interpretation, piano, and visual arts are encouraged to send a three to five-minute recorded video of a solo performance along with an application to <gammaphitalenthunt@gmail.com>, no later than January 28. The video should be in mp4 or mov format. In-person auditions for the 2023 Talent Hunt will be held from 9 am–noon, Saturday, February 4 at Z. Alexander Looby Theater located at 2301 Rosa L. Parks Blvd, Nashville, TN 37208. Young performers with questions regarding the talent hunt should contact Randy Crawley at <Randy.Crawley@nashville.gov>.

Judges for the competition are Dr. Nita Smith, choral music director, I.T. Creswell Middle Prep School of the Arts; Dr. Kaylina Crawley, TSU professor of Piano Proficiency and Music Appreciation; and Asia Pyron, dance choreographer and founder of PYDANCE. Scholarships will be awarded to the first, second, and third-place winners. The first-place winner will compete to represent the Gamma Phi Chapter at the larger competition at the 5th District (Tennessee and Kentucky) meeting in Murfreesboro, Tenn. in late March.

The Gamma Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity manages the program competition in Nashville to honor the memory of Dr. Matthew Kennedy, a prominent 20th-century African American musician, and educator who was an active member of the Gamma Phi Chapter in the city. Dr. Kennedy was deeply involved with Nashville’s African American community and has mentored hundreds of aspiring music students in the city. His accomplishments were recognized during his lifetime by the Tennessee Arts Commission, Nashville Symphony Association, National Association of Negro Musicians, National Black Caucus of the Music Educators’ National Conference, and Fisk University Alumni Association among others.

Since its inception, the Talent Hunt Program has touched thousands of young people across America and overseas, encouraging and supporting them so they can fully develop their creative potential. Many of the program’s participants have gone on to make outstanding contributions to their communities and earned scholarships, awards, and recognition through their exposure to this program.

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