ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Chantha Luk, Merlyn Garcia, and Kendra Malcolm discuss an Aretha Franklin song at the Lynn YMCA.
By LEAH DEARBORN
LYNN — The third Shining Stars Music Recognition Awards will cast a spotlight on some of the area’s brightest vocalists on March 23.
The event, which sustains the music studio located at the Lynn YMCA on Neptune Boulevard, takes place at the Lynn Museum from 7-9 p.m.
“The performers are all exceptionally talented vocalists. It’s going to be beautiful,” said Audrey Jiménez, branch executive director.
The evening honors artist Ari B, as well organizations Zumix and the School of Rock Lynn with the Spotlight Award for musical influencers. The Rising Star Award, meant to showcase an individual or group relatively new to the industry, will go to Danny Donator, Jossue Giron and Carolyn Cole.
The music program at the YMCA is free for youths ages 8-18 and the room where it’s housed contains both traditional instruments and sound mixing stations. Young audiophiles can take piano or digital production lessons, or concentrate on improving as vocalists.
“We definitely develop talent,” said youth leader Taima Walker, a junior at Lynn Classical High School who volunteers at the studio. “A lot of kids come here with a passion, just knowing that they love music, so we offer everything.”
Three of the program’s students have appeared on the national TV singing competition, “La Voz Kids.”
Lynn student Amanda Mena won in 2014, Merlyn Garcia finished as a finalist a year later and Jossue Giron was a finalist in 2016.
“It was fun, but crazy,” said 13-year-old Garcia. “I wish I could relive it again.”
Jiménez said the while the Shining Stars event is a fundraiser for the continuity of the studio, the focus of the night is really about honoring the mixture of adult and youth performers from the area.
Although he won’t be in Lynn for the night in person, renowned Puerto Rican musician José Feliciano will remotely accept the Legacy Award through the program.
Feliciano is a Grammy award-winning artist who began a musical career at a young age through the assistance of others who helped nurture his talent.
“We found a lot of common denominators there,” said Jiménez, who explained that many of the students have Puerto Rican roots, but that in a broader sense, they’re all beginning to uncover their own musical talents.
She said the music program can be a great companion or alternative to sports as an extracurricular activity.
Aniyah Ross, 11, is a fan of pop music who likes to spend her afternoons in the studio.
“I just love it,” she said. “It’s really fun.”
“It’s a place where they can find their true authenticity,” said Jiménez. “And when they find their true authenticity, they can start to refine those gifts.”
For additional information and to purchase tickets, go to http://www.ymcametronorth.org/news/shining-stars/