An East Lincoln High School junior made her way to the final rounds of the Blumey Awards. Rachel Ochoa was one of two students from East Lincoln nominated from this year’s 34 participating schools who took part in a Blumey Awards Bootcamp, a two-day audition workshop intensive led by industry professionals. The workshop culminated with a second round of auditions for a panel of judges. Arturo Galarza Chavez from East Lincoln and two students from North Lincoln High School, Jacob Nuhfer and Riley Washco attended the workshop along with Ochoa. 

Ochoa will now be taking part in the High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as The Blumey Awards, presented by Wells Fargo that will air on PBS Charlotte Tuesday, May 25 at 8 p.m. Ochoa has the potential of being named Best Actress overall and if so, will go on to participate in the National High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as The Jimmy Awards (named after famed Broadway producer, James M. Nederlander). That program will be presented virtually on July 15.

“I sang ‘I’m here’ from the ‘Color Purple’ and ‘Popular’ from ‘Wicked,’ Ochoa said. “I’ve been doing theater since I was in kindergarten and my whole life, I’ve loved singing and dancing.”

When she was nine years old, Ochoa was to take part in a Broadway musical, “The Gospel According to Tennessee” in South Carolina.

“It was a lot on me at nine years old, and I quit three days before we were supposed to perform,” she said. “I was thinking that I’d never be able to make it because of how difficult it was for me.”

The organizers of the show called Ochoa’s grandmother and told her that they needed her because she was “amazing and going to be big.”

“For them to say that, they were trying to push me, but I didn’t see that at that time,” she said. “Now that I think about it, I have always had this fire inside me and I never really knew how to bring it out. Ever since then, I’ve always told myself, ‘you’re not going to quit’ and always have done my best.”

In addition to theatrical productions at East Lincoln High School, Ochoa also takes part in Lincoln Theatre Guild productions.

“The workshops were amazing,” she said. “I learned so much. It was an honor to be there. They could all sing so well. Not any of the girls in my group could sing better than the other.”

The order of performances, arrangement and orchestration for the ceremony will be led by New York-based professional music composer/conductor, David Dabbon. All rehearsals and performance recordings will be conducted safely and follow local and state guidelines.

Blumenthal Performing Arts is committed to continuing the celebration of high school musical theater. Despite the fact that many schools in the region were unable to produce a show this year given the impact of the coronavirus, Blumenthal still wanted to provide students the opportunity to perform. To achieve this goal and ensure the safety of all participants, students auditioned individually for a panel of judges to allow for significant social distancing and safety protocols in excess of CDC and local recommendations.

The Blumey Awards Celebration show, airing on PBS Charlotte May 25 at 8 p.m., will feature the Best Actor and Best Actress nominees from every participating school, two medley numbers featuring the six top scoring finalists in each category and the announcement of the Best Actor and Best Actress winners. 

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