DC’s Top Ten high school performing artists to take center stage

Celebrity artist judges to determine 2015 winner of "DC-CAPITAL STARS: A Tribute To Rock ‘n’ Roll” at major Kennedy Center event. Ted Leonsis also on this year's panel.

Savion Glover, Alyson Reed and Mark Rivera
DC-CAPITAL STARS 2015 competition judges (L-R): Savion Glover, Alyson Reed and Mark Rivera. (Photos courtesy DC-ARTS)

WASHINGTON, March 25, 2015 – Selected via a city-wide audition and public voting process, the top 10 outstanding D.C. public and public charter high school student DC-CAPITAL STARS finalists will take center stage on April 1 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to compete for college scholarships in the star-studded “7th Annual DC-CAPITAL STARS: A Tribute to Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

During the show, a panel of celebrity judges—including Tony Award-winner, dancer, choreographer and producer Savion Glover; film and Broadway star Alyson Reed, whose credits include “High School Musical,” “Cabaret” and “A Chorus Line”; and musician, singer, music director and longtime member of Billy Joel’s Band Mark Rivera—will provide American Idol-style feedback and encouragement to this year’s student finalists. Ted Leonsis, 2015 gala chair and DC-CAP board chair will also join the celebrity guests as a judge.

Votes from the audience will also help determine this year’s grand prize winner, who will be awarded a $10,000 college scholarship. Each of the remaining performers on the roster will also receive a scholarship, to be applied toward their first year of college.

2015’s top 10 list includes Paris McMillian, vocalist from Woodrow Wilson; Benjamin Roodman, instrumentalist from Washington Latin; Robert Alston III, vocalist from Duke Ellington; KeAsiah McLaughlin, dancer from Eastern; Jennifer Li, instrumentalist from Woodrow Wilson; Angel Haythe, vocalist from Thurgood Marshall; Carlso Hood, vocal rap from Woodrow Wilson; Jiamond Watson, dancer from Duke Ellington; Esther Okechukwu, dancer from Banneker; and Jadian Headley, vocalist from the School Without Walls.

Now in its seventh year, DC-CAPITAL STARS is an annual presentation of the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP). It’s the organization’s largest annual fundraiser, showcasing talented student finalists’ artistic abilities in vocal, dance and instrumental performances.

The city-wide talent search for this year’s finalists began with a series of more than 200 auditions that took place in September 2014. The audition participants were chosen from an initial list of more than 3,000 entrants submitted via online tallies and input from a local panel of independent professional vocalists, dancers, musicians and educators from the D.C. metropolitan area.

In November, the top 40 young artists selected via the September auditions were posted on DC-CAP’s Web site for the public to view and choose their favorites in the vocal, instrumental and dance categories. It was from this list of young competitors that this year’s top 10 performers were chosen.

This year’s DC-CAPITAL STARS will be held at 7 p.m. April 1 at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater.  It will be followed by a private reception for gala ticketholders.  


DC-CAPITAL STARS began in 2009 as the 10th anniversary celebration of that organization. Now it is a platform for some of the city’s most vulnerable young people to showcase their talent and an outlet to express their deepest emotions.  This year’s event also honors the organization’s founding chairman, Donald E. Graham, for his many contributions and efforts to give every D.C. student a chance at a college education.

DC-College Access Program is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping all D.C. students prepare for, enroll in, and graduate from college as the cornerstone of a successful future.

Since 1999, DC-CAP has worked with parents and educational partners, inspiring, counseling and providing fundamental support to help under-resourced students believe that college is possible, find the path to get there and complete their education.

By building long-term relationships and connections, DC-CAP is with students every step of the way, navigating the complex waters of the college application and financial aid process, as well as providing integral support while in college.

For more information on the organization and this year’s gala event, visit the DC-CAP website at www.dccap.org/gala.

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  • Al Behrta

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