By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer
It's been called a "classy reality show." Four Cincinnati acts have made the cut to be among the five performances to be heard on From the Top, the nation's fastest-growing radio show, when it is taped before a live audience in Music Hall at 7 p.m. Nov. 11.
The National Public Radio program, hosted by pianist Christopher O'Riley, showcases prodigiously talented kids ages 9 to 18 from across the country.
The program - one of the top five one-hour weekly programs on the air, along with "Car Talk" - is carried on 250 stations and airs locally on WGUC-FM (90.9) at 9 a.m. Saturdays. More than 700,000 listeners tune in nationwide.
Pianist Cameron Logan, 17, of North Bend, a senior at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, is taking it in stride.
"It kind of puts a little bit more pressure on me. But it's different when they're not actually looking at you," says Logan, who has played piano since age 7.
Guitarist Jeremy Collins, 17, of Montgomery, and two ensembles - the Well-Tempered Pans Steel Drum Ensemble from Clark Montessori and the Starling Chamber Orchestra, with violin soloists Tessa Frederick, 14, SuYean Lee, 14, Jonathan Miron, 11 and Charles Yang, 14, from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music - also made the cut.
"It's a great opportunity for those kids, but it's also just really the right way to go about bringing classical music to a young audience," says Kurt Sassmannshaus, who directs the Starling program at CCM.
The fifth performer has not yet been selected. To draw so much talent from one city is an impressive feat, says From the Top's David Balsom, marketing director.
"When the call went out for audition tapes, they came in so strong, we may be using them on shows throughout the season," he said.
Cincinnati's show, one of 18 nationwide, will air locally on WGUC-FM on Jan. 4. Talented hopefuls can still download an audition application from www.fromthetop.org. Tickets to the taping go on sale Aug. 27. 621-2787.
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