Cable TV

US to have new 'Idol-like' TV show for instrumentalists

MUMBAI: The American Youth Symphony (AYS), a non-profit organisation in the forefront of music education and awareness, will be producing 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, 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," said 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.

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 20 March through the America's Hot Musician website. There will be an $8 registration fee for entrants to help offset the non-profit organisation'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."

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