NextGen National

Semifinalists announced, NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow

Collegiate singers from 23 different colleges and universities across the country are now one step closer to being named a 2024 NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow.

The following vocalists have been tapped to move forward to the semifinals round, which will be broadcast Sunday, January 7, at 3 p.m. EST. Viewers from anywhere in the world are invited to tune in and vote for their favorites.

  • Alejo Rodríguez Sanchez
  • Alexandra Henderson
  • Alli Sutton
  • Amanda McGovern
  • Amia Korman
  • Annalese Fusaro
  • Bradyn Debysingh
  • Brooke Hayes
  • Charlie Steiner
  • Christian Clausnitzer
  • Cinderella Ksebati
  • Cole Strelecki
  • Cristina Clare
  • Elizabeth Rutt
  • Emily Goulazian
  • Ian Pathak
  • Jake Koch
  • Jalen Kirkman
  • Jantanies Thomas
  • Jayna Glynn
  • Kate Bresnahan
  • Katie Nam
  • Kaytie Jeffries
  • Maria Naleith
  • Megan Almonte
  • Neil Devlin
  • Noah Van Ess
  • Owen Scales
  • Shannon McCarthy
  • TJ Staten
  • Yumeko Stern

NextGen National: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow is a vocal competition created by the American Pops Orchestra that gives collegiate vocalists the opportunity to learn from industry professionals while competing for a chance to win scholarship money and paid performance opportunities with APO.

This year marks the seventh year for NextGen. Finalists win an all-expenses paid trip to New York City and compete live at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center Center this spring. Since launching the competition, APO has seen significant growth in interest and participation.

“For the 2024 competition, we received more auditions than ever before, with 240 submissions from 112 colleges,” said Madison Russell, APO’s director of education. “We’re also thrilled to expand our reach with this program, with competitors from 40 states this year—another record for APO.”

To watch the semifinals, register here. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for college students; and free for anyone under 18.
Ten finalists will be named and will compete in the NextGen National Finals round on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 2 p.m., in the Lincoln Center.

About NextGen

Founded in 2018, our NextGen competition began with students from five universities and has now expanded to include students from across the United States and Canada. During the COVID-19 pandemic NextGen transitioned to a virtual setting, allowing us to reach an even wider audience and larger pool of aspiring young artists.

NextGen strives to provide opportunities to each and every student who wishes to participate; there is absolutely no cost to compete. In addition, APO provides free masterclasses about performing, recording, and working in the music industry, among other topics. Competitors also receive accompaniment tracks and custom arrangements free of charge.

APO is proud to award the Chip Hand Prize for Vocal Excellence to the first place male vocalist. Made possible by the generous support of Ambassador Lloyd and Ann Hand, the prize memorializes their beloved son who was an acclaimed musician and recording artist. The annual presentation of the award allows Chip’s legacy to live on through young, aspiring performers.

Past Winners


  • Chip Hand Prize for Vocal Excellence
    Chris Richie
  • First Place Female Winner
    Mya Hunter
  • Second Place Male Winner
    David Mejia
  • Second Place Female Winner
    Jayna Glynn


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