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Column: Variety of Georgia to host Stars of Tomorrow contest
by Sally F. White
Neighbor Newspapers Columnist
February 14, 2014 10:40 AM | 4663 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Finals for Variety of Georgia’s third annual Stars of Tomorrow teenage singing competition will be on stage Sunday at the Buckhead Theatre on Roswell Road.

This is the ultimate vocal showdown as 10 of the best teen singers in Georgia compete for their shot at fame. Eligible 13- to 19-year-olds across the state have submitted videos of their performances and, after a round of preliminary judging, the top 10 will showcase their voices to vie for the coveted champion title.

Finalists are set to perform for an eager audience of friends, family members and community as three veteran show business judges, Amanda Moore, Garrett Schaefer and Robert Ray, crown the winners.

“Teens not only showcase their stunning vocals for industry leaders, but also develop skills they will use for years to come,” co-chairs Carolyn Lee Wills and Mike Dangerfield said.

The intent is to gain experience, exposure and the opportunity to pursue a singing career. The Stars of Tomorrow event benefits Variety of Georgia initiatives across the state as it shines a light on Georgia’s promising young talent.

The nonprofit Variety of Georgia’s Tent 21 was established in Atlanta in 1939 as the 21st chapter of Variety International, commonly known as the World’s Greatest Children’s Charity.

The nonprofit’s mission is to enrich, improve and fulfill the lives of children with disabilities or disadvantages. The name of the event echoes the first Variety fundraiser held in Pittsburgh inside a big-top tent with a circus theme. Following the tradition of the industry, clubs are called “tents” and members “barkers.” Dangerfield is a former chief barker.

Eighty percent of Tent 21’s members hail from the motion picture industry, though membership is open to all who care about children.

Tickets and information: (678) 994-4210 or

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The burgeoning annual Odyssey Brunch benefit supporting the partnership between Atlanta Public Schools and Westminster Schools is set for Tuesday at the St. Regis on West Paces Ferry Road in Buckhead.

The event will honor two major facilitators of the Odyssey program: outgoing Westminster President William Clarkson IV and Odyssey board member John F. Sandy Smith. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN and a practicing neurosurgeon, will moderate the program. Raffle giveaways and a silent auction will add to the fundraising efforts.

Volunteers and supporters of the unique summer academic enrichment program invite the larger community to join in financial support of Odyssey, a nonprofit program targeting students in first through 12th grades with unmet potential.

Odyssey was initiated in 1972 as a partnership between Atlanta Public Schools and Westminster as a nonprofit focused on economically disadvantaged students. The free summer sessions on Westminster’s campus in Buckhead challenge, motivate and equip student participants to exceed their academic goals while preparing them for high school graduation and college. Westminster provides classroom space. The thematic reading, writing, math, science and art sessions are taught by local teachers. Students also participate in field trips tied to their lessons.

Tickets and information: (404) 367-5150 or

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The Atlanta Ballet will honor former Artistic Director Robert “Bobby” Barnett at the 34th annual Ballet Ball Feb. 22 at the St. Regis in Buckhead.

Barnett has been an important link in the successful growth of the Atlanta professional company and the Centre for Dance Education since 1958, when Atlanta Ballet founder Dorothy Alexander recruited him and his wife, Virginia Rich Barnett, from the New York City Ballet to be principal performer and associate director, respectively, for the Atlanta Ballet. Bobby Barnett became the second artistic director in 1962 and served for 36 years, bringing the company from pre-professional to full professional status.

He is one of an elite group authorized by the George Balanchine Trust to stage Balanchine’s works. Bobby Barnett has served on the advisory board for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulton County Arts Council and continues to serve on the advisory committee for the International Dance Competitions in Jackson, Miss., the International Dance Alliance and on the national board for Regional Dance America. He was the recipient of Georgia’s Governor’s Award in the Arts for 1987 and in 1996 was presented with the ABBY Award for Distinguished Service in the Arts by the Coca-Cola Co. and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. The Barnetts now reside in Asheville, N.C.

Besides the honoree presentation, dinner, dancing, live music and auctions, highlights of the evening will be cameo performances by Atlanta Ballet company members and students from the center.

Founded in 1929 by Alexander, whose vision brought dance to the South, the Atlanta Ballet’s eclectic repertoire spans ballet history, highlighted by beloved classics and inventive originals. The center was added in 1996 to nurture young dancers while providing an outlet for adults to express their creativity. Artistic Director John McFall continues a commitment to educate audiences on the empowering joy of dance.

Proceeds from the annual ball go directly to support the operations and initiatives of the organization in bringing professional dance to Atlanta and the centre.

Tickets and information: (404) 873-5811 or

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Why should kids have all the fun? The answer will be a whimsical theme for the Children’s Museum of Atlanta’s annual Amuse’um benefit Feb. 22 at the facility located adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park downtown.

The signature adults-only evening is subtitled and themed Hop! Skip! Jump! Around the World. It will transform the museum into a magical cultural mecca where guests and patrons will enjoy cocktails inspired from around the world, indulge in international cuisine surrounded by entertaining activities including exhilarating auctions and dancing to the Latin beat of Orchestra MaCuba.

Dedicated museum supporters and volunteers Barbarella Diaz, Jeri Moran and Abby Perez are serving as this year’s event co-chairs.

Amuse’um spotlights the nonprofit museum which opened in 2003. It is a smart place to play, offering a family friendly space filled with interactive educational exhibits and programming geared toward children ages 8 and under. The mission is to spark imagination and inspire discovery and learning through the power of play. The museum also offers memberships, field trips, summer camps, parties and private events.

All proceeds of the benefit will support the facility’s early childhood educational programming and community outreach that touches the lives of more than 200,000 children and families each year.

Tickets and information: (404) 659-5437 or

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The 33rd annual Atlanta Heart Ball Feb. 22 at the Ritz-Carlton on Peachtree Road in Buckhead will celebrate life as it shines a spotlight on the mission of the American Heart Association and the work of donors and volunteers in metro Atlanta.

The elegant black-tie dining and dancing evening celebrates donors, volunteers and, most importantly, the lives saved and improved because of the unified efforts of philanthropic leaders joining in the crusade to fight against heart- and stroke-related illnesses. Bill Linginfelter is serving as the overall chairman.

The event is duplicated across the nation each year to generate regional support for the nonprofit association’s mission to promote advances in research and local treatment and inspire others to unite the community toward a healthier, happier future.

Funds from the Atlanta affair will go to the association’s programs to fight the leading cause of death in the Southeast through research and volunteer health programs.

Tickets and information: (678) 224-2065 or

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