Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland is no stranger to talented musicians, and this past Sunday, ten finalists and two alternates in the 2022 Shining Star CLE competition took to the stage to showcase their powerful voices. WRA’s own shining star Alex Newman ’24 was one of them. 

But beyond having the opportunity to perform live for an audience for the first time in two years of this competition’s six, beyond winning a generous scholarship, sharing talent with viewers or meeting young people who share the same passion, Shining Star CLE is about the power of music. Specifically, the ability for music to bridge memory

Sponsored by Key Bank and many other northeast Ohio institutions, all proceeds beyond the scholarships awarded support memory care programs and services offered by Menorah Park. Sunday, September 11, a day of profound sadness for our nation, was at least brightened by talented soloist voices and their potential to connect.

This is the second year Alex has participated in the competition, and the experience has been life changing. Singing “One Perfect Moment in Time” from the musical “Bring It On,” she represented Reserve with the grace of someone comfortable in the spotlight and the promise of a bright future. Alex shared that she chose the song for its “feel good message of hope.” Despite the intensity of the process – video submissions, Zoom try-outs, rehearsals and practice, Alex referred to the experience as “priceless.” 

The team who puts together the show are true professionals in the business,” said Alex, “and working with them is a really exciting way to learn about the business of theater!” Plus, she’s made amazing friends. “My all time favorite aspect of Shining Star is making new friends and connecting with friends I made last year by participating. I love that Shining Star family feeling."

Hundreds of talented performers from 62 high schools across 10 counties entered the contest, and Alex advanced to the final four, winning $1,000 and the excited applause of her biggest fans (aside from our Pioneers) – the contestants on stage. Perhaps nothing was more heartwarming than witnessing the finalists support and congratulate one another as the winners were announced. 

Bravo, Alex! Your talent both brings Reserve great pride and supports an incredible cause! To learn more about Shining Star CLE, click here and don’t forget to “follow your dreams. Last year’s winner tried three years in a row to take the win!” said Alex. “Be true to your love of music, be humble, and give back to anyone who needs a supporting boost who has the same dream."