By Edward Kliszus

The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center announces winners of the 2022 International Young Solo Contest! In the background, the marvelous Gordon McRae sings the poignant, beautiful song If I Loved You from Carousel.

Upon hearing Oscar Hammerstein’s name, I reflect on the lyrics of the wonderful songs he co-wrote with equally gifted luminaries like Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, Vincent Youmans, Richard A. Whiting, and Sigmund Romberg. Musicals that come to mind include Show Boat, Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, Flower Drum Song, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.

South Pacific rehearsal 1949 L-R Joshua Logan, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Mary Martin, James Michener. Public Domain

South Pacific rehearsal 1949 L-R Joshua Logan, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Mary Martin, James Michener. Public Domain

Almost everyone recognizes timeless musical vocal treasures like If I Loved You, Ol’ Man River, People Will Say We’re in Love, Some Enchanted Evening, It Might as Well Be Spring, and Climb Ev’ry Mountain. Clearly, Hammerstein’s body of work, particularly in developing romantic musical plays, is pivotal in advancing musical theater as the American art form loved and known worldwide today.

Hammerstein’s legacy lives on, not only because the musicals and films he touched continue to draw audiences but also because of the work of the Oscar Hammerstein Museum & Theatre Education Center (aka OHMTEC). This not-for-profit 501c3 organization is currently soliciting donations to purchase Hammerstein’s former home, Highland Farm in Doylestown, PA, to serve, as noted on their site, as a “creative epicenter to make it accessible to people the world over.”

As part of its mission to promulgate the artistic and creative legacy of Oscar Hammerstein, OHMTEC sponsors an international vocal competition for singers ages 23 and younger.

On June 27, 2022, OHMTEC announced the winners of the 2022 competition. One hundred fifty-one competitors from five continents participated, paying tribute to Hammerstein’s oeuvre with delightful performances of his works.

Here are the winners announced by OHMTEC:

College Division
First Place: Eirene Stavropoulos, 19, Naperville, IL – Voice Teacher-Timothy Noble Second Place: Luke Tongson, Quezon City, Philippines
Third Place: Sierra Safran, Doylestown, PA

High School Division
First Place: Helena Badiali, 15, Doylestown, PA – Voice Teacher-Anne Odland Second Place: Fiona Coughlin, Akron, OH
Third Place: Hannah Tramonte, Wadsworth, OH

Middle School Division
First Place: Kylie Kuioka, 11, Brooklyn, NY – Voice Teacher-Justin John Moniz Second Place: Matthew Bussell, Westfield, MA
Third Place: Matthew Vallero, Davis, CA

Elementary School Division
First Place: Reese Racicot, 9, Plymouth, MA – Voice Teacher-Paige Taylor Second Place: Niamh Smith, Wicklow, Ireland
Third Place: Rada Kanjanapruk, Bangkok, Thailand

Bucks County Division
First Place: Charlotte Raynor, 12, Chalfont, PA – Voice Teacher-Linsey Griffin Second Place: Ella Patras, Doylestown, PA
Third Place: Emily Kane, Jamison, PA
Fourth Place: Annabel Bower, Doylestown, PA
Fifth Place: Annamarie Yates, Perkasie, PA

From their site:

Mary Martin with children, during production of the Broadway musical The Sound of Music 1959. Photo by Toni Frissell

Mary Martin with children, during the Broadway musical The Sound of Music 1959 production. Photo by Toni Frissell

“Each winner receives a cash prize and is invited to perform during the cocktail hour at the foundation’s upcoming fundraising gala, “Broadway Sings the Sound of Hammerstein.” Several are traveling to be a part of this fantastic event. They will also receive a voice lesson with Broadway performer and OHMTEC Honorary Advisory Board member Justin Guarini. A prestigious panel of judges evaluated the final round of solo submissions, including vocal coach Bob Marks, playwright David Henry Hwang, and Dan Callaway, Assistant Professor of Voice at Boston Conservatory.

OHMTEC is immensely grateful to last year’s College Division winner, Taylor Mitchell, who paid it forward this year by partially funding the contest. A generous grant from Visit Bucks County makes the Broadway gala possible.

Proceeds from the contest benefit The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center, which is engaged in a fundraising campaign to support the nonprofit’s ongoing vision to secure Highland Farm, Oscar Hammerstein II’s former home and workplace, and realize the dream of a museum and theatre education center on the site in the heart of Doylestown, PA. Tickets are available for OHMTEC’s June 11th Broadway Gala, hosted by Ted Chapin and featuring Broadway stars Christy Altomare, Justin Guarini, and Derek Klena. For more information and to learn how to make an impact and #SaveOscarsHome please visit”

More about the competition can be viewed and heard on Facebook at Oscar Hammerstein Museum & Theatre Education Center.

Here is a LINK to the equally prestigious George London operatic competition. The reader may also enjoy some musical theater reviews like Mrs. Doubtfire, Americano the Musical, Moulin Rouge, and New Talent Showcase.