The Rochester region is known for its love of the arts. It’s a pipeline for young artists to pursue their dreams. Local music legends were lauded at the Rochester Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony Sunday night, including big names such as percussionist John Beck, drummer Steve Gadd and guitarist Tony Levin.
Before they became legends, they were young musicians with a passion and a dream. The Rochester Music Hall of Fame realizes the importance of nurturing future generations of musicians with its Douglas Lowry award, given to to area high school seniors pursuing music in college. Lowry was dean at Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester who passed away in 2013. Each of the two winners received $1,000 and a chance to perform at the induction ceremony.
The winners this year were cellist Ben Doane from The Harley School, a private school in Brighton and musical theater vocalist Mark Mitrano of Greece Athena High School.
Mitrano, 18, the winner of numerous local and national awards, will be attending University of Michigan come fall, majoring in musical theater. The young prodigy started vocal lessons at 4 years old and is currently a senior high honor roll with distinction student, recently wrapping up his role as Quasimodo in Greece Athena’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
As a sophomore, Mitrano was named Rochester Broadway Theatre League Stars of Tomorrow best actor. He then went on to represent the Rochester nine-county region in New York City and was named best vocalist in the National High School Music Theatre Awards that draws musical theater talent from high schools around the country. In 2017, he was a National YoungArts Foundation winner in theater
Doane, 17, has been learning the cello since he was 6 years old and will be attending Eastman School of Music in fall. In the summer of 2017, he attended the Perlman Music program. The young musician also studied cello at the Heifetz International Music Institute and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. From 2014 to 2017, Doane was the principal cellist of Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Recently, Doane won the Rochester Philharmonic League Aldridge-Tinker scholarship to continue studies in music.
Before a sold-out crowd of over 2,300 people at Eastman Theatre on Sunday night, Doane performed a cello solo titled Julie-O by Mark Summer. Mitrano reprised his role as protagonist Jean Valjean in the musical Les Miserables with his rendition of “Bring Him Home.”
“As well as giving me valuable assistance in applying for college, this award was an incredible opportunity for me to share my music in Rochester’s best-known performance hall,” said Doane.
Mitrano said he was very honored to be chosen for the Lowry award. “It was heartwarming to be part of such an event that brings artists of all styles of music together to share their passion and joy,” Mitrano said. “It was an experience I will never forget.”
Their performances at the Rochester Music Hall of Fame ceremony showcased the promise of youth in our artistic community.