New "Idol-like" TV Show for Instrumentalists, America's Hot Musician, Begins Production in March 2006

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The American Youth Symphony (AYS), a non-profit organization in the forefront of music education and awareness, has announced it will produce a reality television talent competition for instrumental musicians called America's Hot Musician. The program will air its first 12 episode season in early 2007 in about 200 markets via a coordinated cable network/paid programming schedule, according to AYS executive director Susan Veres.

The American Youth Symphony (AYS), a non-profit organization in the forefront of music education and awareness, has announced it will produce a reality television talent competition for instrumental musicians called America's Hot Musician. The program will air its first 12 episode season in early 2007 in about 200 markets via a coordinated cable network/paid programming schedule, according to AYS executive director Susan Veres.

AYS, (http://www.americanyouthsymphony.org) whose Plight of American Music Initiative has been promoted in publications such as American Teacher, and has been taken up in hundreds of schools nationwide, is developing this television program amid what it calls a "stealth crisis" within the MTV/Hip Hop Generation. The crisis involves the pervasiveness of sampling and rapping which has deterred interest in instrumental performance and patronage by young people, says AYS artistic director, Gregory Charles Royal.

Royal, who is the creative producer of the show, was a trombonist in the Grammy Award-winning Duke Ellington Orchestra , the Broadway hit Five Guys Named Moe, and in the horn sections of many top artists including Gladys Knight, The Temptations and The Four Tops.

Interestingly, Royal also has television writing and production credits which include the PickUp 6 Game Show, a 1997 pilot which aired in major markets including Los Angeles on UPN affiliate KCOP (TV Guide), three music videos for the Canadian group ARIEL, which aired on Much Music and The BOX, and as author of the first stage play to feature a cast of jazz musicians entitled It's a Hardbop Life which debuted at the 2004 New York JVC Jazz Festival (http://www.hardboplife.com).

The show is similar to American Idol in its target demographic, format and entertainment component but will feature instrumental musicians who audition on camera in cities across America. They will compete for a chance to record a solo album.

The judging panel will include a couple of "luminaries" that will be announced at a press conference set for June, 2006. Registration for contestants will begin March 20 through the America's Hot Musician website at http://www.americashotmusician.org. There will be an $8 registration fee for entrants to help offset the non-profit organization's costs.

Veres says "we feel this program is so important to help bridge the gap between instrumental performance and the young demographic which might lead to a more wide spread interest in instrumental performance and patronage".

The plans to produce the program were announced at the AYS conference in Washington, DC last week, which was covered by WTTG FOX 5 and the Voice of America, and included, in addition to Royal, a discussion panel of Travis Bowerman, Washington Performing Arts Society; Ashley Gauthier, media attorney from US News & World Report; Malcolm Inniss, Radio One; and, Ava Spece, DC Youth Orchestra Program.

The panel discussed several issues plaguing the future survival of traditional American music genre including ways to develop young audiences.

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