The Howard County Arts Council has announced that the 20th Annual Celebration of the Arts in Howard County will be held on Saturday, March 25, at the Peter and Elizabeth Horowitz Visual & Performing Arts Center, at Howard Community College (HCC), Columbia. Padraic “Pat” Kennedy will serve as honorary chair; Dick Story, senior vice president, community relations and government affairs, and business development liaison, for Howard Bank, will serve as emcee.

The signature event will showcase the arts, artists and arts organizations in Howard County. One of the highlights of the event is a special 20th anniversary celebration of the Rising Star Competition, in which previous winners will return to compete for the Rising All-Star title and $5,000.

The Rising Stars will perform at the celebration before an audience of artists, arts patrons, business and political representatives and community members who will select the winner by popular vote. The award will be presented on stage that evening.

The seven Rising Stars performing at the celebration are Samantha McEwen Deininger, Musical Theater; Mark Dubac, Clarinet; Mark Edwards, Classical Guitar; Sola Fadiran, Musical Theater; Alexander X. Francis, Piano; Maggie Kudirka, Contemporary Ballet; and Tao-Chang Yu, Violin.

  • Samantha McEwen Deininger, Musical Theatre (2012 winner)
    Deininger trained to be an opera singer at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and later studied at the Ward Acting Studio, New York. She received the gold medal for Classical Vocalist in Maryland for the state level of the National Act-So competition in 1998 and 1999.
  • Mark Dubac, Clarinet (2005 winner)
    Dubac joined the clarinet section of the Oregon Symphony in 2008, where he plays second clarinet and E-flat clarinet. He also performs in several Portland-based chamber groups, including Third Angle, fEARnoMUSIC and 45th Parallel. He previously served as principal clarinet of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, among others.
  • Mark Edwards, Classical Guitar (2016 winner)
    Edwards has been hailed by the Montgomery Advertiser as a guitarist who “transfers to another zone, effortlessly strumming, plucking and picking a variety of classical masterpieces with clarity.” His recent engagements include Baltimore’s ArtScape, Trinity Church in New York City, the Toronto Guitar Symposium and Mississippi Guitar Festival
  • Sola Fadiran, Musical Theater (2015 winner)
    Fadiran is a Nigerian-American baritone singer and actor with strong Howard County roots. A Glenelg High School graduate, Fadiran studied with soprano Alina Kozinska and performed with the Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts and Toby’s Dinner Theatre. At 20 years old, he is currently completing his third year at the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati.
  • Alexander Francis, Piano (2008 winner)
    Francis studied piano performance, music production and engineering in Boston, at Berklee College of Music. He is living in Orange County, Calif., where he has worked with, written and produced for major recording artists, including two-time Grammy nominee Luke James (Island Records), The Stereotypes, Sabi, Rihanna (RocNation) and labels such as UMG, Sony Music and Atlantic Records.
  • Maggie Kudirka, Contemporary Ballet (2013 winner)
    Kudirka, who is from Ellicott City, trained with Olga Tozyiakova, Svetlana Kravtsova, Runqiao Du and Francesca Corkle. After graduating from Towson University, she accepted a full merit scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School. In June 2014, following a stage four breast cancer diagnosis at age 23, she created the Bald Ballerina social media movement to raise awareness.
  • Tao-Chang Yu, Violin (2007 winner)
    Yu is a concert violinist and violin teacher. He has performed in recitals and concerto concerts across three continents since the age 12. He began violin study with Shiao-Jun Ma, father and teacher of renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, at age four and released his first recording at age of 12 in Taiwan. By age 12, Yu won the Taiwan National Violin Competition and gave his first concerto debut at Sung Yet-Sun Memorial Hall.

For more information, call 410-313-ARTS (2787) or email [email protected].