Two Mater Dei Prep students have been named as finalists for the Algonquin Arts Theater Rising Stars. Yancheng “Cash” Zhang ’20 was named a finalist for his opera performance of “Caro Mio Ben” in Italian, and Jacob Callas ’19 was selected for his piano performance of “Scriabin Prelude Opus 13 Number 1.”
Yancheng “Cash” Zhang and Jacob Callas are both members of Mater Dei Prep Performing Arts Institute and Seraph Players.
Algonquin Arts Theater Rising Stars is a music education and enrichment program for the best high school classical musicians and vocalists in New Jersey. Entering its 20th year in 2018, Rising Stars is a classical music competition that concludes with selected finalists performing in a concert at Algonquin Arts Theater in Manasquan. The program is open to all high school students in New Jersey, and features a guest mentor who provides feedback to each finalist.
Zhang said he was “extremely honored” to be selected as a finalist. “This will be a tremendous asset on my college application and will help me achieve my dream of being part of the Metropolitan Opera, he said.
He thanked fellow Seraph Players performers; Cindy Dwyer, head of Mater Dei Prep Performing Arts Institute; and Nadine Herman, voice teacher at Newark School of the Arts “for all their support, wisdom and guidance in making this possible.”
Callas said his selection as a finalist “is a wonderful opportunity to perform in front of a renowned mentor that will provide me tremendous feedback and help me progress my talent. I have always loved playing the piano and excited to perform on the big stage at the Algonquin Arts Theater.
“It is an honor to be recognized as a finalist amongst the top musicians in New Jersey, he said, thanking Patricio Molina, piano teacher at Newark School of the Arts, “for all his support and instruction over the years.”