After months of intense competition, the winner of the Rising Star Talent Search at the West Oak Lane Jazz & Arts Festival is violin diva, Charisa Dowe Rouse.
Dowe Rouse, a vocalist as well as an accomplished violinist, took the stage at the festival this afternoon and won over the judges and the audience. Festival attendees voted by text message for their favorite among the three finalists. She beat out finalists Laurin Talese and Victor Shell for the $5,000 prize.
Dowe Rouse says she is no stranger to the stage. “I have a masters degree in classical music,” she said, “and I was sitting on the stage at Carnegie Hall and said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’ and started to do jazz.”
She says that she is excited to broaden her audience here in Philadelphia.