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5 young F-M musicians compete for national stage

Five musicians from Fargo-Moorhead are competing for the chance to perform with internationally recognized pianist Ethan Bortnick during the "Celebration of Music" talent search. PBS / Special to The Forum1 / 5
Cassie Ishaug, 15, is competing at Ethan Bortnick's "Celebration of Music" talent search. Special to The Forum2 / 5
Kwaician, of Fargo, is competing in Ethan Bortnick's "Celebration of Music" talent search. Special to The Forum3 / 5
Victoria Sharp of Fargo is competing in Ethan Bortnick's "Celebration of Music" talent search. Special to The Forum4 / 5
Sisters Katherine Leiseth, 17, and Hannah Leiseth, 15, are competing in Ethan Bortnick's "Celebration of Music" talent search. Special to The Forum5 / 5

FARGO — Five young musicians from Fargo-Moorhead have been chosen to compete for the chance to perform with internationally recognized pianist Ethan Bortnick live in concert and on PBS during the "Celebration of Music" talent search.

They include Cassie Ishaug, Katherine Leiseth and Hannah Leiseth of Moorhead and Victoria Sharp and Kwaician of Fargo.

Ishaug, 15, sings and plays the violin, cello, electric bass, piano, guitar and ukulele.

Ishaug's Moorhead High School classmate Hannah Leiseth, 15, is performing with her sister Katherine Leiseth, a 17-year-old Moorhead High School senior. The Leiseths have been in band, choir, orchestra and musical theater. They compete for the Moorhead High speech team and perform in the summer with the Gooseberry Park Players.

Sharp, 16, attends Fargo South High School. She plays the piano and violin and has played for the Royal Conservatory of Music's certification program in Toronto, Canada.

Kwaician is a Chicago native who graduated from Fargo South High School. A guitarist and singer, he has headlined a show at the Fargo Theatre.

The F-M musicians, along with the other contestants, can be seen 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, during a PBS special promoting Bortnick's Sept. 23 Bismarck concert where the winner will be announced. The winner will get to perform live with Bortnick and will be invited to perform at the Los Angeles Celebration of Music National Show later this year.

At the age of 9, Bortnick was recognized by the Guinness World Records as "The World's Youngest Solo Musician to Headline His Own Concert Tour." Now 17, Bortnick is seeking to highlight other young talents across the United States.

In addition to the Fargo-Moorhead contestants, other regional finalists include: Rose Bateman of Minot; L'Ambizioso Duo of Thief River Falls, Minn.; North Dakota State University student Jacee Beth Engels of New Rockford, N.D.; Emily Gilsrud and Olivia Erickson of Wahpeton, N.D.; Elizabeth Hendrickson of Culbertson, Mont.; Ella Henry of Grand Forks; Emma Lyste of Grand Forks; Royal Rhapsody of Minot; and Chloe Marie Watterud of Minot.

The winner will be chosen based on votes received on the Celebration of Music website, www.celebrationofmusic.com/north-dakota, and during the concert on Sept. 23.

Find out more

Find out more about competing Fargo-Moorhead musicians and other contestants by watching "Ethan Bortnick: Celebration of Music — Talent Search," which will air at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 9, on PBS. The winner of the North Dakota concert will be announced during Bortnick's Sept. 23 concert in Bismarck that starts at 7:30 p.m. at Belle Mehus Auditorium.

Tracy Briggs

Tracy Briggs is a former TV anchor/radio host currently working as a features writer and video host for Forum Communications.

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