Contestants set for “Sing and Play ’23” student music competition on February 23

Siler City, NC – Showcase contestants have been selected for “Sing and Play ’23,” the fifth-annual music competition hitting the stage later this month at Jordan-Matthews High School in Siler City.

Buck and Maggie Thornton of Jordan-Matthews High School won the high school competition at last year’s event and will return to perform as guest artists at Sing and Play ’23 on February 23 at Jordan-Matthews High School. The annual competition was created as a performance opportunity for student musicians and a fundraiser for JMArts. (Photo by Chip Pate)

The showcase concert on February 23 at 6:30 p.m. highlights talented student musicians throughout the area and raises money for JMArts, the Jordan-Matthews Arts Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to provide what student artists need to excel.

General admission is $5 per person and includes one vote in each age-based competition.

Judges Jennifer Benitez, Greg Burriss and Matt Fry selected 15 musical acts during open auditions to perform in separate elementary, middle and high school competitions. Winners will be selected by audience vote and each receives a $50 cash prize.

Elementary contestants are Joy Forester of Chatham Grove Elementary, Evelyn Miranda of Virginia Cross Elementary, Emma Ortiz of Pittsboro Elementary and Zoey Ortiz of Pittsboro Elementary.

Middle school contestants are Ares Adams of Chatham Middle, London Crowling of Margaret B. Pollard Middle, William Forester of Margaret B. Pollard Middle, Sarah Hill of George Moses Horton Middle, Hailey King of George Moses Horton Middle and Eleanor Reece of Silk Hope School.

The competition will conclude with five high school performances. Ari Ibarra, Natalie Morales Zagada, Clara Rojas, Elisa Vasquez Perez and Traycee Wall all represent Jordan-Matthews.

This year’s showcase will feature a guest performance by Buck and Maggie Thornton, also of Jordan-Matthews High School, who won last year’s high school competition. 

“We’re looking forward to another great show featuring students from all over Chatham County,” said JMArts President Rose Pate, who noted that performers from outside Chatham also were eligible. “It’s great to provide a chance for students to perform on the ‘big stage’ and the showcase celebrates them as they grow musically from first through twelfth grade.”

All money raised by the competition will be used by JMArts for educational projects, including its New York Arts Adventure. That annual trip scheduled over spring break gives upperclass musicians, actors and visual artists an opportunity to explore one of the world’s great cities, experience the very best in the arts and gain new perspectives that will influence their lives and work.

More information about “Sing and Play” performers will be published on JMArts social media. Details about JMArts and other events scheduled for this season are online at