NextGen National

2023 NextGen National Finalists Headed to NYC’s Lincoln Center

Congratulations to our ten outstanding vocalists who will compete in the 2023 NextGen National Finals at Lincoln Center on Sunday, February 19:

  • Sarah Cassidy (Indiana University)
  • Jayna Glynn (Missouri State)
  • Mya Hunter (Howard University)
  • Hannah Kulawiak (Indiana University)
  • David Mejia (Texas Christian University)
  • Chris Richie (Oklahoma City University)
  • TJ Staten (Webster University)
  • Yumeko Stern (New York University)
  • Anthony Voiers (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
  • Sam Yousuf (University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music)
  • Christian Clausnitzer - Alternate (West Virginia University)
  • Jordyn Taylor - Alternate (Howard University)

Our finalists will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City where they will participate in a masterclass with Broadway professionals, rehearse with APO musicians, attend a Broadway show, and compete in the Finals. First place winners will receive $2,000 and second place winners will receive $1,000. All winners will receive multiple paid performance opportunities with The American Pops Orchestra.



  • Chip Hand Prize for Vocal Excellence
    Ethan Hardy Benson
  • First Place Female Winner
    Audri Bartholomew
  • Second Place Male Winner
    Franco Valerga
  • Second Place Female Winners
    Mya Hunter


  • Chip Hand Prize for Vocal Excellence
    Noah Canales
  • First Place Female Winner
    Maya Sistruck
  • Second Place Male Winner
    Edward Ferran
  • Second Place Female Winner
    Madison Russell
    Deepa Johnny


  • Chip Hand Prize for Vocal Excellence
    Zac Doss
  • First Place Female Winner
    Alexa Joseph
  • Second Place Male Winner
    Brody Grant
  • First Place Female Winner
    Rashonda Bentley


  • Chip Hand Prize for Vocal Excellence
    Jose Mangual
  • First Place Female Winner
    Rita Castagna
  • Second Place Male Winner
    Kodiak Thompson
  • Second Place Female Winner
    Ally Dods


  • First Place Male Winner
    Evan LaChance
  • First Place Female Winner
    Nia Savoy
  • Second Place Male Winner
    Paul Roeckell
  • Second Place Female Winner
    Abby Middleton

A Message from The APO

The American Pops Orchestra has made it a priority to not only maintain Pre-COVID content in a virtual form, but also create new content to keep our audience engaged and our musicians employed.  As an organization that strives to break the mold of concerts, we are using COVID-19 to reimagine our normal operations.  Since March we have streamed two full original concerts, created solo performances by instrumentalist and vocalists, rethought our Music and Mindfulness series as a more often and virtual event, and partnered with organizations across the country in our virtual trivia series.  

In addition, APO has held multiple in-person socially distanced outdoor Porch Concerts that provide our audience with the opportunity to safely see live art despite the current situation around us.  Throughout the pandemic, APO has employed hundreds of musicians and artists and in a time when many other organizations couldn’t. In the words of Maestro Luke Frazier, “we never stopped.”

Moving forward, APO is proud to present our NextGen National vocal competition which will include students from across the country competing virtually for the chance to win a monetary prize and the opportunity to perform in a future APO MainStage Show. This will include a virtual audition and semi-finals with a live (COVID permitting) finals in Spring of 2021.  APO has also filmed multiple productions that will be broadcast nationally on PBS.  APO has been grateful to keep creating and making music despite the limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will keep working to bring you, our valued audience, original and unique content.

To support APO as we keep moving forward you can click here, so that we can continue to employ more artists and musicians.  If you have any questions about what APO has been doing during the pandemic, please email Thank you and stay safe.