(From left) Clay Aiken, Margaret Cole Russell, Nick Ziobro, Lari White and Michael Feinstein stand across the stage at the Great American Songbook induction ceremony honoring singer Barry Manilow, composer Cole Porter and songwriting duo Alan and Marilyn Bergman.
Not many people can say they’ve performed in the presence of legendary American singers. But at only age 15, Nick Ziobro can say he’s done just that.
The Manlius resident performed at a gala celebrating the induction of Barry Manilow into the Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Saturday, June 16, in Carmel, Ind. There he sang in front of celebrities such as Clay Aiken, Andrea McArdle and Manilow himself.
Ziobro, who will be a junior at Fayetteville-Manlius High School in the fall, was granted this opportunity upon winning a national singing competition, after being selected as one of 10 finalists to compete in Indiana on Friday, June 15.
Ziobro said performing at the gala was a true “out of body experience.”
“I got a standing ovation, which was really, really awesome,” he said.
Ziobro said he decided to enter the annual Great American Songbook Vocal Academy & Competition after learning about it through his piano teacher, Tom Reitano. Ziobro said it was Reitano who got him interested in this style of music, specifically the music of Michael Feinstein.
Ziobro said he was considering entering the competition last year, but it was put on hold due to construction to the building in which the event is held.
“We put it in the back of our minds and thought, ‘Well this might be something nice to consider,’” Ziobro said. “We didn’t really expect anything to come out of it.”
But Ziobro and Reitano were in for a surprise.
The young singer placed first in the competition, and received $3,000 and an opportunity to perform with his idol, Michael Feinstein, around the country, including at his New York City nightclub.
Ziobro will also sing the national anthem at the Indianapolis Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis versus the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sept. 23.