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2009 Jeanie & Stephen Foster Auditions Winners

PRESS RELEASE:  October 4, 2008

CONTACT: Mitzi Nelson (386) 397-7005

                      Jessica Kemper, (850) 245-3029, (850)251-0834



--Competition Awarded scholarships to male & female vocalists--


WHITE SPRINGS – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center showcased popular songs of Stephen Foster and classical and operatic compositions of American music at the 58th Stephen Foster/Jeanie Auditions that was held at the park on Saturday, October 4th .


Established in 1950, the Stephen Foster/Jeanie Auditions is co-sponsored by the Florida Federation of Music Clubs and Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. The vocal competition for both young men and women awarded $5,500 in scholarships to the winners.


From a field of eleven contestants, five were awarded scholarships.  Crowned “Jeanie” for 2009 is

Nicole Estima, from Pembrook Pines and a Junior at University of South Florida.   “Stephen” for 2009 is

Mark Daniel Hakes, from Ft. Myers, and a Junior at Stetson University.  1st Runner-up, is Adrianna odgers from Jacksonville who is a Sophomore at the University of Florida.  2nd Runner-up is Lisa Ulseth from Boyton Beach and a Junior at the University of Florida.  1st Runner-up for “Stephen” is Hal Berkelhammer from Gainesville who also attends the University of Florida.


Wearing period ball gowns and tuxedos, each participant sang one song composed by Stephen Foster, and one song of their choice written by American composers.  The historically formal attire was in keeping with the theme of the event, which is named for a song Stephen Foster wrote about his wife, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.” The event is a tribute to Foster, a 19th century composer who wrote some of America’s best-known songs, including, “Oh! Susanna” and “Beautiful Dreamer.”  Foster also wrote “Old Folks at Home,” which was adopted as the Florida state song in 1935.


“We would like to give special thanks for the continued dedication of the Florida Federation of Music Clubs and their long standing partnership with the Florida Park Service.  This event has continued to represent our commitment to our mission of preserving our Cultural Resources and celebrating American Musical Composer Stephen Foster for the past 58 years” stated Park Manager, Ben Faure.


To learn more about the park, visit online at www.FloridaStateParks.org/stephenfoster.


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