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YoungArts Awards Recognizes Vocalist Olivia Rivera ’25


Olivia Rivera sings into a microphone, her accompanist visible at the piano behind her

Ravenscroft choral arts standout Olivia Rivera ’25 has been named a 2024 YoungArts Award recipient in the Voice/Jazz category. YoungArts is a national competition that has been recognizing, developing and empowering young artists across a range of visual, literary and performing arts categories for decades.

Rivera is among the nearly 700 award winners chosen from more than 9,000 applications across 10 artistic disciplines: classical music, dance, design, film, jazz, photography, theater, visual arts, voice and writing. The application process is highly competitive, with panels of notable artists following rigorous adjudication standards. 

“I am so honored to be recognized as a YoungArts winner!” Olivia said. “I really enjoyed the audition process. I had to prepare four tunes in four styles — swing, ballad, bossa nova and blues — and, having just started jazz voice lessons in the fall, I didn’t know what to expect from this competition. I felt good about how I sang, and I was able to record each piece in one take, which was a first for me.”

“We are immensely proud of Olivia for being selected as one of the winners for the 2024 YoungArts competition in the Voice/Jazz category,” Ravenscroft choir director Robert Strebendt said. “Her passion for singing is truly inspiring, and what is even more impressive is her versatility as a singer. This year alone, she has received individual distinctions for her abilities in pop, classical and now jazz singing.”

“It is an extraordinary privilege to welcome these brilliant young artists into the YoungArts community,” YoungArts President Clive Chang said in a news alert about the 2024 winners. “We’re honored to recognize and encourage these artists at this critical stage in their careers, and we’re looking forward to playing an active, ongoing role in what will no doubt be an incredible artistic journey for each of them.”

Olivia said she feels inspired by the opportunities this recognition opens up.

“I have sung in many different styles over the years, like classical, pop and musical theater, but jazz has been my favorite style to sing in by far. I still have so much to learn, and I will continue to get out of my comfort zone with experiences like this to immerse myself as much as possible,” she said. “Being a winner in the Voice/Jazz category opens up many opportunities for me moving forward, and I am so grateful to be a part of this community!”