Three Carmel High School singers to share Songbook experience


By Mark Ambrogi

Tara Lacy couldn’t curb her enthusiasm when she learned she was one of the 40 Songbook Academy finalists.

“I was actually at school in my applied music class, and I opened an email and just started screaming,” Lacy said. “My teacher Mr. (John) Burlace was very excited and so were my classmates. It was kind of a surreal moment. I wasn’t surprised when I found out that Taylor Bickett and Anja Reese made it just because of how talented and versatile the two of them are.”

Bickett graduated from CHS in May while former classmates Lacy and Reese will be seniors in August. Although Bickett said she was surprised she was selected, but not Lacy and Reese.

“They are both insanely talented,” Bickett said.

Bickett said she is most looking forward to the workshops during the intensive instructional program July 15 to 22 at The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, the headquarters of the Songbook Foundation. The week concludes with a concert at the Palladium July 22. Ten finalists will vie for the title of Songbook Ambassador.

“I think that it will be helpful to learn from such seasoned and talented instructors as well as a group of young people who are passionate about singing. Since I will be majoring in music in the fall (at Belmont University), this will hopefully help me improve in my abilities even more before college. I can’t wait to meet all of the other students and get to work alongside them.”

Lacy said she is eager to meet students who share the same love for music standards as she does.

“It is not common nowadays that you find a 17-year-old who actually enjoys listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland, so it’s special when you’re forming bonds with people because of music,” Lacy said.

Reese said she loves all types of music.

“But I have always been drawn to the magic of the Great American Songbook,” Reese said. “I am so incredibly grateful to get to be a part of Songbook Academy, where I hope to learn more about the history of the music, to grow as a performer and as a person.”

While Reese is eager to meet others, she is glad to share this with Bickett and Lacy. All three were Ambassadors, the school’s mixed show choir this past school year.

“I think it’s pretty unique that the three of us who know each other so well get to experience this together,” Reese said. “I’m grateful that I have both of them to share this experience with me.”

Seven locals will be participating in the Songbook Academy.

They include:

Bickett Taylor

Taylor Bickett, Carmel, Carmel High School

Clark Weston

Weston Clark, Zionsville, Park Tudor High School

Elefante Hayden 2

Hayden Elefante, Zionsville, Zionsville Community High School

Kauffman Cynthia

Cynthia Kauffman, Zionsville, Zionsville Community High School

Lacy Tara

Tara Lacy, Carmel, Carmel High School

Reese Anja

Anja Reese, Carmel, Carmel High School

Tucker Grace 1

Grace Tucker, Zionsville, Zionsville Community High School