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Connor Holben ’23 Named to The NextGen National Competition Semi Finals



January 19, 2022 | Georgia Seagraves

Graceland University student Conner Holben ‘23 joined 29 other students from across the nation as a semifinalist in the 5th Annual NextGen National Competition put on by the American Pops Orchestra (APO). Conner and hundreds of other young performers from across the nation submitted videos of their vocal performance to the competition for the chance to win a monetary prize and various paid performance opportunities.

NextGen is a vocal competition created by APO and Music Director Luke Frazier “with the purpose of identifying young aspiring vocalists from across the United States and providing them the opportunity to work with and learn from industry professionals, as well as to perform live with an orchestra.”

The competition aims to promote and preserve classic American music; APO required participants to perform pre-1970 songs and encouraged them to sing lesser-known, classic pieces that demonstrate their vocal capabilities and connect audiences of all ages. Connor chose to sing “And This is My Beloved” by Robert Wright and George Forrest, a song that inspires him to find true love. Holben is a Theatre major and a Music minor, and he aspires to perform on Broadway after graduation and work as a voice actor.

A broadcast of the semifinalists’ performances is being shared with the public through a private broadcast on Saturday, January 29 from 8 – 9 p.m. ET. Free registration for online access is available (a donation of $25 is suggested). Finalists will be selected by a panel of judges and a virtual audience who will receive a voting link after broadcast ends. The finalists will be announced the following day and from the 30 semi-finalists, 10 contestants will advance to the live final round in March.

Read more in the Broadway World Article

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