On July 22, Finn Sagal (12) was selected to serve as “2017 Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador” out of 40 talented, young singers by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning musical artist Michael Feinstein, who is the principal conductor of the Pasadena Pops. The Academy is a summer program in which high school singers learn music under the counsel of performing arts professionals Eden Espinosa and Marc Cherry. As one of the ten finalists who were selected to perform solo and compete for awards at the finals, Sagal amazed the audience by singing “Luck Be a Lady” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
Finn claimed the title after a one-week seminar held by Feinstein’s Great American Songbook Foundation’s Songbook Academy held in the organization’s headquarters in Indiana. During the seminar, participants worked all day under the instructions of their team leaders and accompanists.
“I’d say it was the most shocking moment of my life. The people I was competing with were the most talented people I had ever met, and I felt so lucky and honored to be given this opportunity,” Finn said.
As Songbook Ambassador, Finn will receive a professionally written musical arrangement to sing in performances nationwide alongside Songbook Foundation Founder Michael Feinstein. Previous Ambassadors were given the chance to sing at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Kennedy Center. Finn will also sing the National Anthem during the fall at the Indianapolis Colts game.
As a talented singer, Finn has been in the school’s choir program for three years under teacher Jeff Brookey.
“I am so incredibly proud of Finn and his remarkable accomplishment. Finn has been a model student in our program for years. Not only is he talented, driven, and passionate about music and performing, he shows great respect and concern for others. He will be very successful this year and beyond and I couldn’t be happier that he’s representing our choral music program, school, and community,” Dr. Brookey said.
The academy has helped Sagal to become more interested in singing and to pursue singing as a career. In order to continue studying and exploring music, Sagal plans to study opera in college.