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LFPR - February 19, 2021 - 0 comments

SAVANNAH, GAFeb. 18 – Last evening, the American Traditions Vocal Competition (ATC) announced the group of talented vocalists selected by judges Kate Baldwin, Lawrence Brownlee, and Kurt Elling to progress to the Final round of this year’s virtual competition.

The semifinalists each performed three songs out of the nine genres of American music: Opera, Musical Theatre, Hollywood, Jazz, Folk, Country, Pop/Rock Singer-Songwriters (1980-today), Art Song, Gospel, Songs of Johnny Mercer, Blues, Religious Music, Popular Music of 1950-1980, Great American Songbook, and Cabaret. The top five contestants who will compete in the final round of the competition are (in alphabetical order):

  • Heather Jones
  • Emily Nicholas
  • Andrea Christine Ross
  • Anastasia Talley
  • Nicole Zuraitis

The following special awards were presented last evening, and each of these contestants will also perform during the Final round on Friday, Feb. 19:

  • The Quarterfinalist Richard Chambless People’s Choice Award and $500 was presented to Isabelle Ham. This award, given by Swann Seiler in memory of her dear friend Richard Chambless, is presented on behalf of the audience.
  • The Sherrill Milnes American Opera Award and $500 – sponsored by Maria Zouves and Sherrill Milnes and Barry & Naomi Cohen – was presented to Heather Jones for best American aria.
  • The Ben Tucker Jazz Award and $500 for the best jazz performance – sponsored by Dr. Margaret Cohen and Dr. Andrew Cohen – was awarded to Nicole Zuraitis.  
  • The Johnny Mercer Award and $750 for best Johnny Mercer performance during the quarterfinal or semifinal rounds – sponsored by The Friends of Johnny Mercer Inc. – was awarded to Jonathan Christopher 

“These five vocalists are fabulous performers and have continued to surprise us with musical choices and risks that have paid off big-time,” said ATC Artistic Director Mikki Sodergren. “We can’t wait to see their final round performances and see who the judges love the most! We look forward to hearing these talented singers continue to demonstrate their vocal abilities both here on our stage, and for the rest of their musical careers as well! On behalf of the ATC, I would like to thank the Savannah Morning News for sponsoring the final round of the competition and all our sponsors that have made this virtual event possible.”

Audiences can still purchase tickets for the final round via the direct competition’s link or visit the ‘Virtual ATC 2021’ section of the ATC website at The $50 ticket grants access to the entire competition and only one subscription is needed per household. Audiences that have this access can also view all rounds of the competition at any time until Feb. 28.

To learn more about the ATC – a nonprofit arts organization seeking to celebrate and preserve all styles of classic American music through a unique vocal competition for highly skilled and diverse singeing performers – please visit

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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at or 229-393-6457, or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).