Algonquin Arts Theatre
Performing Arts | Education | Film
A New Jersey Non-Profit Organization
Box Office: 732-528-9211
Box Office Hours: Monday-Friday 12-6pm | Saturday 12-4pm
173 Main Street | Manasquan, New Jersey 08736
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Rising Stars
2014 Rising Stars
2014 Rising Stars

The 2014 Rising Stars Program is Generously Supported by
Two River Community Bank
The Blend on Main, A Modern American Bistro
& The Jersey Shore Woman's Club, in honor of Ms. Michaline Manno

A special thank you to our 2014 Rising Stars Mentor,
Conductor Father Alphonse Stephenson

Congratulations to our ten 16th annual Rising Star Performers!

The Rising Star program was created through the Algonquin Arts Theatre Education Department through the founders; Fran Drew previous owner and Mr. Lee Weisert from Manasquan High School. This program began over a decade ago and was open to students in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Now, sixteen years later, the program is open to ALL high students in the state of New Jersey. In recognition of excellence in classical music performance, which was exemplified through the participation in the 2014 Rising Stars audition at the Algonquin Arts Theatre, all 10 of these musicians have been selected from a statewide competition that seeks out classical musicians of the highest caliber at the high school level.

Candidates may be either instrumentalists or vocalists, but must be high school students. Students may perform a movement from a sonata/concerto, etude, or sing an aria or art song. Please note that pop, rock, jazz, gospel or Broadway pieces will not be considered for the program. If an accompanist is needed, we will provide one for a fee; however, students must contact the Algonquin Arts Theatre's Education Department immediately to make arrangements.

This is a unique opportunity for students to perform on stage in front of potentially 1,000 people. If chosen, this program can be an asset on a college application. Additionally, we will distribute individual certificates and post the finalists' names on the Algonquin Arts Theatre website as the 2015 Rising Stars.

Finalists will meet with a guest mentor - a professional in the classical music industry. The Rising Stars will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the mentor and further explore the possibility of a future career in the music industry.

If you would like to be part of this extraordinary experience, please refer to this website to obtain information on how to apply in September of 2015 for the 17th Annual Rising Stars Concert.

Rising Stars Alumni


Ruchita Balasubramanian, East Brunswick (Flute)
Amanda Batista, Manchester (Soprano)
Christina Buzzanco, Red Bank (Piano)
Christopher Calabrisotto, Manalapan (Piano)
Madelyn Joel, Point Pleasant (Soprano)
Ethan Lynch, Randolph (Tenor)
Stephanie Park, New Milford (Violin)
Nicole Toms, Point Pleasant (Mezzo Soprano)
Olivia Youngman, Point Pleasant (Soprano)
Justin Zhong, Galloway (Piano)

Guest Mentor:
Father Alphonse Stephenson
Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea


Amanda Batista, Manchester (Soprano)
Nicholas Draper, Point Pleasant (Piano)
Alison Fierst, Point Pleasant (Flute)
Melanie Long, Freehold (Soprano)
Ethan Lynch, Randolph (Tenor)
Moira McGevna, Wall (Oboe)
Nicholas McGowan, Paterson (Piano)
Jenna Najjar, Farmingdale (Soprano)
Gina Ruzhansky, Paramus (Mezzo Soprano)
Kelsey Seaman, Howell (Soprano)
Nicholas Swan, Hamilton Square (Piano)
Nicole Toms, Point Pleasant (Mezzo Soprano)
Jared Winograd, Morganville (Piano)

Guest Mentor:
Maestro Anthony LaGruth
Artistic Director and Conductor of the Garden State Philharmonic


Nicholas Andrej, Paterson (Piano)
John Bogan, Point Pleasant (Guitar)
Lauren Casarona, Princeton Junction (Mezzo Soprano)
Alison Fierst, Point Pleasant (Flute)
Clarice Forbes, Paterson (Piano)
Cassandra Kalinofski, Howell (Mezzo Soprano)
Ilana Klein, Morganville (Soprano)
Andrew Moore, Point Pleasant (Bass)
Zachary Paulus, Point Pleasant (Trumpet)
Samantha Sayah, Howell (Soprano)
Kelsey Seaman, Howell (Soprano)
Zachary Strouse, Manahawkin (Alto Saxophone)
Jared Winograd, Morganville (Piano)

Guest Mentor:
Mr. Albert Bergeret, Artistic Director/General Manager for the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players


Nicholas Andrej, Paterson (Piano)
Reyna Barnes, Paterson (Piano)
Hannah Black, New Providence (Soprano)
John Bogan, Point Pleasant (Guitar)
Michelle Bonzani, Point Pleasant (Soprano)
Marilyn Dillon, Point Pleasant (Piano)
Lauren Fogarty, Wall (Soprano)
Clarice Forbes, Paterson (Piano)
Christa Grammer, Jackson (Soprano)
Gregory Grimes, New Providence (Tenor)
Lily Kaufman, Westwood (Alto Saxophone)
Samantha Sayah, Howell (Soprano)
Aline Vartanian, Paramus (Viola)
Brianna Eve Vitale, Marlboro (Soprano)
Megan Yi, Rutherford (Violin)


Brandon Eng, Holmdel (Piano)
Nicolette Mavroleon, Freehold (Soprano)
Reesha-Ann Martin, Paterson (Piano)
Andrew Winas, Howell (Tenor)
John Caliendo, Point Pleasant (Piano)
Nicole Rowe, Annandale (Soprano)
Margarita Cabrera, Paterson (Piano)
Nicholas Andrej, Paterson (Piano)
Sara Munson, Rockaway (Soprano)
Aline Kristin Vartanianis, Paramus (Violin)
Claire Tsiporukha, Morganville (Soprano)

Guest Mentors:
Maestro David Wroe, an international music conductor
Brett Colby, an international operatic tenor

Guest Artist:
Christa Dalmazio, co-winner of Gong-A-Thon 2010


John Caliendo, Point Pleasant (piano)
Evangeline Athanasiou, Lincroft (mezzo soprano)
Ashley Grant, Point Pleasant (harp)
Zachary Miller, Marlboro (tenor)
Christa Dalmazio, Leonardo (piano)
Nicolette Mavroleon, Freehold (mezzo soprano)
Adeline Lee, Princeton Junction (piano)
Alfred Califano, Sea Girt (tenor)
Kevin Lin, Tenafly (violin)
Ashleigh Smith, Howell (mezzo soprano)
Liliana Ma, West Windsor (piano)


Jay Puntham-Baker, Morganville (piano)
Martina Gordon, Point Pleasant Beach (soprano)
Alyssa Kempinski, Cranford (soprano)
Jessie Bremer, Point Pleasant Boro (flute)
Alexandria Howley, Rumson (soprano)
Frank Capoferri, Hammonton (piano)
Sarah Merten, Bernardsville (piano)
Mariah Gower, Point Pleasant (piano)
Melissa Chan, Manalapan (piano)
Nicolette Mavroleon, Freehold (piano)
Corey Mosello, Morganville (piano)
Nikita Mamedov, Parlin (piano)


Laura Bembridge, New Egypt (vocalist)
Jamie Cai, Stewartsville (pianist)
Frank Capoferri, Hammonton (saxophone)
Stephanie Chadwick, Belford (vocalist)
Melissa Chan, Manalapan (pianist)
Anastasia Falasca, Haddonfield (violinist)
Magdalena Falasca, Haddonfield (flutist)
Stephanie Hollander, Wall Township (French horn)
Elizabeth Loftus, Little Silver (vocalist)
Corrie-Rose Recchia, Wayside (vocalist)
Danielle Recchia, Wayside (vocalist)
Lori Tishfield, Freehold (vocalist)

Guest Mentor:
Anthony La Gruth, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Garden State Philharmonic


Kevin Carillo, Howell (vocalist)
Elizabeth Ehret, Middletown (vocalist)
Craig Held, Howell (vocalist)
Stephanie Hollander, Wall (French horn)
Jake Jacobs, Rumson (clarinet)
Joe Kristan, Rumson (pianist)
Ji-Nee Lo, Manalapan (pianist)
Justin Pessolano, Middletown (vocalist)
George Somerville, Point Pleasant (vocalist)
Lauren Stefanakis, Oceanport (vocalist)
Joshua Suslak, West Windsor (pianist)
Lori Tishfield, Freehold (vocalist)
David Twitchell, Haddenfield (pianist)

Guest Mentor:
Anthony La Gruth, Conductor and Artistic Director of the Garden State Philharmonic


Sethe Block, Bradley Beach (vocalist)
Laura Cancio, Spotswood (pianist)
Taylor Deehan, Brick (vocalist)
Elizabeth Ehret, Middletown (vocalist)
Jane Hand, Highland Park (pianist)
Matthew Krenz, Lincroft (vocalist)
Steve Kuei, East Brunswick (pianist)
John Luckenbill III, Shrewsbury (trumpet)
Chelsea Pace, Little Silver (vocalist)
Christine Papania, Middletown (vocalist)
Christina Skleros, Barnegat (vocalist)
Maggie Yee, Matawan (pianist)

Guest Mentor:
Chiho Okuizumi, Manager of Resources for Education & Community Harmony for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra


Jennifer Brush, Shrewsbury (pianist)
Katie Caliendo, Point Pleasant Borough (French horn)
Eric Chang, East Brunswick (pianist)
Cyndi Chung, Toms River (violinist)
Aly Guida, Neptune City (vocalist)
Sora Kang, Jackson (pianist)
John Luckenbill III, Shrewsbury (trumpet)
Christine Papania, Middletown (vocalist)
Doug Peters, Little Silver (vocalist)
Christina Skleros, Barnegat (vocalist)
George Somerville, Point Pleasant (vocalist)
Alexis E. Thompson, Hamilton (vocalist)
The Stellar Strings:
Ellen Kasiske, Jackson (violinist)
Emily Kasiske, Jackson (cellist)
Zuri Malick, Manasquan (violinist)

Guest Mentor:
Raphael Fusco, former Rising Star


Rachael Becker, Little Silver (cellist)
Annamarie Borelli, Ocean Township (vocalist)
Katie Caliendo, Point Pleasant Borough (French horn)
Marissa Caro, Jackson (vocalist)
Sora Kang, Jackson (pianist)
Karina Kwan, Old Bridge (pianist)
John Luckenbill III, Shrewsbury (trumpet)
Carolyn Man-Yu Wu, Red Bank (violinist)
Doug Peters, Little Silver (vocalist)
Jessica Sibelman, Atlantic Highlands (clarinetist)
Ali Weinberg, Atlantic Highlands (piantist)
Amanda Woolley, Point Pleasant (pianist)
Michael Zanghi, Morganville (pianist)

Guest Mentors:
Nicholas Kendall, Violinist with "Young Concert Artists"
Vicki Margulies, Artist Manager


Kara Biehl, Little Silver (pianist)
Faith Bryck, Howell (vocalist)
Laura Burns, Lincroft (pianist)
Katherine Caliendo, Point Pleasant (French horn)
Nicholas Connelly, Little Silver (vocalist)
Jeffrey Dalton, Little Silver (pianist)
Barbara DeButts, Point Pleasant (vocalist)
Alison La Rosa, Manasquan (flutist)
Jennifer Nelson, Little Silver (vocalist)
Christopher Pinnella, Brielle (vocalist )
Amy Polumbo, Howell (vocalist)
Laura Small, Rumson (vocalist)
Kristin Thonack, Eatontown (vocalist)


Crystal Amendola, Ocean Township (vocalist)
Kara Biehl, Little Silver (pianist)
Melissa DeNoia, Little Silver (pianist)
Raphael Fusco, Neptune City (pianist)
Kelly Glover, Belmar (vocalist)
Kathleen Hennessey, Leonardo (vocalist)
Alison La Rosa, Manasquan (flutist)
Ellen Munn, Rumson (vocalist)
Christopher Pinnella, Brielle (vocalist)
Amy Polumbo, Howell (vocalist)
Erik Rose, Point Pleasant (pianist)
Jayne Ruddiman, Allentown (pianist)
Topher Ruggiero, Shrewsbury (pianist)


Lauren Atkins, Point Pleasant (pianist)
Elizabeth DeRosa, Point Pleasant (vocalist)
Alison La Rosa, Manasquan (flutist)
Carin Minchew, Oakhurst (violinist)
Mitra Neshatfar, Manalapan (violinist)
Jarred Tafaro, Jackson (pianist)
Kurt Thum, Red Bank (pianist)
Kiley Tompkins, Spring Lake (vocalist)
Michalina Trucker, Little Silver (pianist)
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