By Ashley M. Casey
Aspiring singer Joshua Batstone of Fulton will compete in the Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Northeast High School Vocal Competition today.
The competition will be held at Yamaha Artist Services in New York City. The regional winner will advance to the national Feinstein Competition in Carmel, Indiana, July 20-25.
Batstone, 17, said his vocal coach, Carol Jacobe of Baldwinsville, encouraged him to enter.
“I’ve done musical theater beforehand and I thought this might be a cool direction to go in,” Batstone said. He has appeared in productions by the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild and Syracuse’s Covey Theatre Co.
Jacobe helped him record and submit two contrasting songs — one ballad and one upbeat piece — from the “Great American Songbook,” which encompasses jazz, pop and musical theater standards from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Batstone entered his work in March and was notified in April that he had been selected for the Northeast competition.
“What I enjoy singing, especially in the musical theater realm, is ballads,” Batstone said. “What I really focused on was finding more of a fit for me when it came to finding an upbeat song.”
Central New York high schoolers have won the Northeast competition before: in 2012, Nick Ziobro of the Fayetteville-Manlius school district won, and last year, Julia Goodwin, who attends Baldwinsville’s Baker High School, took the regional crown.
Ziobro and Goodwin have since released albums, and Goodwin has appeared on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
“That’d be really cool if I could go down there and take back the thing my fellow Central New Yorkers have,” Batstone said.
Batstone, who will appear in Covey’s “Bonnie and Clyde” July 18-26, said his musical theater heroes are Aaron Tveit and Jeremy Jordan. His dream role is Gabriel in “Next to Normal,” a role Tveit originated.
“I look up to them vocally because they have some of the nicest voices on Broadway,” he said.
Batstone said while he is very excited to be singing in New York City, he is looking forward to what the future holds.
“(Winning the competition) would be a starting point,” he said. “It would really kickstart my career in the right direction.”
To learn more about the Feinstein competition, visit thecenterfortheperformingarts.org/Great-American-Songbook-Inititative/Annual-Competition.