Lee had been named the 1st place national winner in the 2016 Hal Leonard Vocal Competition in high school voices among all submissions from the US and Canada. Thank you, Hal Leonard, for the high honor!
Over a ten-year period 1,400 teenage boys, the “Lost Boys of Utah,” have been dropped off at exit number 27 along the Arizona-Utah border by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) to atone for their sins. Most don’t survive. EXIT 27 is the story of four of those young boys, their attempt to become “good again,” and how a young girl’s visit from the forbidden town of Hurricane changes everything.
Lee feels honored to be a part of this though-provoking, heart wrenching play by Aleks Merilo, telling the unspeakable truth behind the real stories of Exit 27, together with her all-star cast: Thomas Burke, Nathaneal Dunaway, Sam Stinson, Sam Domino, and Southwest Theater Production’s director, Kat Sparks.
Sending in her audition, Lee did not at all expect to be named one of the 44 – 2016 YoungArts National Foundation winners in Theater. Each year YoungArts receives ever growing number of submissions, that in 2015 had topped 12,000 applications. Out of these submissions, 819 young artists ages 15-18 from all across the country were chosen as winners in 12 different categories of performing and visual arts. Among past National YoungArts winners are Broadway and pop stars, renowned dancers, photographers, cinematographers, classical singers and visual artists.
Lee has felt very honored to be named among 14 semifinalists in High School Women Music Theater category of the 2015 NATS National Students Auditions. With semifinals just around the corner, it keeps Lee busy and very excited as she is preparing to compete alongside some of the best young singers.
With persistence and purpose, vocal training, like any other kind of training, becomes one’s nature, ingrains itself in one’s life like a habit, a necessity really. The validation of hard work put into training can come in various ways, – winning prestigious vocal competitions is one of them. Last month, Lee was blessed with not one, but two wins in two separate competitions, – something she’d decided to participate in for the first time in her life. At the regional Classical Singer Competition she had now advanced to the second round held in Chicago, IL, while at the regional NATS student competition she won first place in both Classical Lower Division and High School Music Theater categories. She said that both wins were another reminder to herself to keep working hard and set her goals even higher.
Just recently, Lee had had a privilege of playing an iconic role of Kathy Selden in a wonderful production of “Singin’ in the Rain” at CPHS Theatre. In preparation for the role Lee went on a quest to find the authentic sound that would define her singing such songs as “You Are My Lucky Star” and “Would You?” The journey through the rehearsals and performances was definitely a memorable one.
Work on the Theater Honor Society student run production of ‘Godspell’ had brought students together closer than ever, creative minds and souls, and the final product turned to be a true miracle of art. It was unanimously called one of the best shows Walt Whitman Theater Company had produced so far. Definitely a lot to remember.
Outstanding production of ‘The Wedding Singer’ by Walt Whitman Theater Company had a lot to celebrate with its nomination for 2014 Hunting-Tony award in Best Musical category, while scooping up eight additional nominations in other categories, including Best Lead Actor and Best Featured Actor in a Musical, as well as Lee’s nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the role of Holly.
Second Carnegie Hall performance this season featuring Manhattan Girls Chorus singing ‘Feuersnot’ by Strauss had received wonderful reviews:
The New York Times:
““Maja maja mia mö,” sings the (excellent) children’s chorus over and over like a kindergarten of Valkyries in training.” By Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim,
New York Classical Review:
“Michelle Oesterle’s skilled Manhattan Girls Chorus executed some difficult music commendably.” By David Shengold,
Likely Impossibilities – Blogger:
“Most impressive in this performance was the Manhattan Girls Chorus, whose part in the score was long and complex” By Micaela Baranello
“The Manhattan Girls Chorus sang excellently.” By David Hurwitz,
The Financial Times:
“The Manhattan Girls Chorus, trained by Michelle Oesterle, sang as if lives were at stake.” By Martin Bernheimer
On November 6, 2013 Lee had had an incredible opportunity to perform, for the first time, at Carnegie Hall as part of Manhattan Girls Chorus. The girls sang Boito’s Mefistofele with Eric Owens in the title role, The Collegiate Chorale and American Symphony Orchestra under conduction of Maestro James Bagwell.