Lawrence Toppman

Is your CMS student among these star musicians?

And in the end ... everybody won.

The 1,500 people at Belk Theater got more than two hours of music from some of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools’ most talented ensembles.

The 15 schools in Charlotte Concerts’ first “A Musical Showcase” – another is already scheduled for April 23, 2018 – each got a $500 check. (East Mecklenburg High and Northwest School of the Arts will share one; they formed a combined women’s chamber choir.)

And along the way, a celebrity panel of musically savvy judges handed out another $500 to one squad apiece in each age group.

The Elementary School Award of Excellence went to Waddell Language Academy Choir, directed by Kristen Lutjen and Wendy Maillet. The Middle School Award went to Community House’s 8th Grade Band, directed by David Shives. And director Patrick Butler and the Ardrey Kell Wind Ensemble took the High School Award.

Master of ceremonies Jordan Gross, who became an amateur pianist after retiring as a lineman for the Carolina Panthers, did not end up at the keyboard Monday night. But he did sing Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror,” cuing the audience to join him. You never know what you’ll hear at “A Musical Showcase” – except for a sustained sound of joy.

Toppman: 704-358-5232