The competition, held at Center Stage Theater in Naperville, drew a crowd nearing one hundred people, with eight singers from Naperville, Aurora, Oswego, Plainfield, and Batavia performing that were selected through an online audition process held in September.
The singers selected for the live competition were Prarthana Prashanth, Riya Sudana, Kaylani Toum, Kara Lynn Sittler, Juliana Filapek, Madison Manzano, Jenica Jeevan, and Isabelle Afshari.
Singers competed for top three, first prize receiving $200 and second and third place receiving prizes that promote mental wellness, and all three receiving free studio time generously donated by Gremlen Recording Studios in Aurora. The audience was amazed by the talent of the singers as many of the singers were only in middle school.
The competition was judged by an esteemed panel of judges, Dr. Sonja Mihelcic, CEO of the Naperville Music Academy, Ms. Maggie Blackburn, recent graduate of the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Ms. Emily Moran, experienced music teacher in West Chicago and at Naperville Music Academy.
The first place winner was Riya Sudana from Waubonsie Valley High School, in second place was Juliana Filapek from Fischer Middle School, and in third place was Kara Lynn Sittler from Drauden Point Middle School.
While the Music Box Competition sought to recognize the young talent that lies within our community and give them opportunities to grow as artists, the competition also advocated for mental health, reaching the diverse crowd from many different areas brought together through music. Dr. Laura Langes, licensed psychologist from Oasis Mental Health in Aurora, spoke about the importance of mental health, symptoms and treatment for mental illness, and general mental wellness practices.
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