By Kelly Ettenborough

Ready to thrash with the next punk rock star? Or hear an original piano composition from an 8 year old?

Meet our rising stars who are getting ready to take on the world – while still turning in their homework on time and keeping their rooms clean.


Destiny Stevens, 15, dances it all: ballet, contemporary, modern, lyrical, jazz, jazz funk, poppin’, krump and breakin’. She discovered her love and talent when she took a single hip hop choreography class when she was 11. By the next year, she was enrolled in multiple classes.

“It is my way of expressing any emotion I am feeling. Dancing also allows me to play a part in relation to a song. Dancing brings life to music,” says Destiny, who spends 15 hours a week or more practicing.

Her dream: I want to become a professional dancer. I want it to take me to endless possibilities. I want it to allow me to travel around the world.
Did you know? Dance helped me conquer my extreme shyness. Dance has made me a more outgoing and confident person.
School: Westview High School, Avondale
Favorite subject: Science
Studies dance: Cyphers Center for Urban Arts (, Dance Gallerie ( and private classes with Brooke Anderson at Dance Studio 111 ( in addition to master classes and workshops in the Valley, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Fun: Spending time with my family and friends.
On TV: Dance Moms, because it shows the hard work and discipline needed to be considered an amazing dancer.
Good advice from Destiny’s parents: Support your kid as much as you possibly can.


When Matthew Schoenthal, 8, grows up, he wants to be a musician and a veterinarian. That may be why his Boxer named Patience inspired one of his original compositions, Patience’s Adventure in a Dream. “She is my first dog,” Matthew says. “She is a beautiful Boxer dog, and while I was working on my composition I was able to express my feelings about her.”

He started studying piano at age 4 and practices at least an hour a day, five to six days a week, in addition to writing music.“I was nervous but very excited to share my music for the first time,” Matthew says.

Next goal: I want to represent the United States in the Yamaha International Junior Original Composition in Japan.
Did you know? I read 3 million words this year.
School: Chandler Traditional Academy – Liberty Campus, Chandler
Favorite subject: Math
Studies piano: East Valley Yamaha Music School (
Favorite music: Jazz and classical.
Fun: Reading, playing with my dog and watching sports on TV with my brother and dad.
Good advice from Matthew’s parents: Find the right music school for your child. It is important that your child have that connection with her/his music teacher.


Sam Primack was Jack in Valley Youth Theatre’s production of Into The Woods, this past summer. You may know him as Jack or Pugsley or the Hen that Laid the Golden Egg. Sam Primack, 14, likes to become all of the different characters he plays. One day, he hopes you will see him on Broadway.

“I love the feeling that I get when I’m on stage. I love to make people happy and to see their reactions with each performance that I do,” Sam says.
His first role was at age 4 as that Hen Into The Woods at the Jewish Community Center in Scottsdale, and most recently, he took on the role of Jack of Into The Woods in the Valley Youth Theatre production.

Most exciting role: Pugsley Addams in the national tour of The Addams Family Musical. I traveled all over the country for six months and performed in 48 different cities.
Performance prep: I rehearse an average of 20-25 hours a week. It takes about six weeks to get ready for a performance with rehearsals, memorizing lines, choreography and voice lessons.
School: Chapparal High School, Scottsdale
Favorite subject: Language Arts
Theatre group: Valley Youth Theatre (
Good advice from Sam’s mom: The best thing about living in Arizona is that there are tons of fantastic community and professional local theatres so kids can experience a production, then decide if it’s something they want to pursue. Check out Allyson Primack’s blog, and her book You’ll Be Swell!: What to Expect When Your Child Will Be a Star.


Bailey Pyritz, 14, loves the energy she feels on stage, that moment when she loses herself in the music.

“My first performance was in A Carol For Tiny Tim at Fountain Hills Youth Theater. I remember it felt exhilarating to perform in front of an audience,” Bailey says.

Since joining Scottsdale School of Rock in January, she has become more interested in punk and rock music and recently was part of a camp that ended in performing Green Day. She wants to be a singer/songwriter in a punk band when she grows up.

Favorite performance: Singing “Hold On I’m Coming” (by Sam & Dave) at School of Rock’s Motown vs. Stax show in May.
Inspiration: My dad shares the same love of rock and punk music that I do. He takes me to concerts and keeps me safe in the mosh pit.
Did you know? I used to write and film parodies of commercials with my Flip video camera and make my family and friends act in them.
School: Fountain Hills High School, Fountain Hills
Favorite subject: English and creative writing
Studies music: School of Rock Scottsdale (
Awards: Outstanding Achievement Award in Choir at my middle school promotion ceremony in May and Principal’s List Awards for a 4.0 GPA.
Good advice from Bailey’s parents: We wholeheartedly encourage other parents to allow their children to pursue their interests in the performing arts.


Maybe you’ve seen Ileyna Witenstein’s work during First Fridays or through the Teen Artist Guild of the Phoenix Art Museum. At 18, she is not only on her way to a career in art, she also is the only member of the Teen Artist Guild who has sold her work. She’s been featured in group and solo art shows, too.

“Love of art runs in my family so art has somehow always been in my life,” Ileyna says. “Art has been my way of escaping and it’s a way of communication for me. Art is my way of talking and that’s why I love it so much. I want to make the viewer feel something.”

Focus: I love everything, but use paint and chalk pastel the most. I want to be a professional artist who creates murals, paintings, drawings and more. I want art to consume my life. I hope to reproduce my artwork onto functional items, too.
Awards: Outstanding Art Student and People’s Choice Award at a school art show.
Most challenging piece: A chalk pastel drawing I did of my friend. It’s a realistic piece showing her from the neck up in a shower of water. I wanted to get every water droplet perfect. It was also one of my largest pieces.
Inspiration: I find my inspiration through feelings I’ve had, looking at other artists work, or getting ideas from my other art friends.
Did you know? I have a fraternal twin sister. I’m obsessed with the Little Mermaid! I’m an art nerd and an Ariel/mermaid fanatic!
School: ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Tempe
Favorite subject: English
Good advice from Ileyna’s parents: Embrace your child’s artistic desire and allow them to experience art in all mediums, no matter how messy! Remember there is no right or wrong in art, only expression and endless creativity. Provide your child space, objects and time for art.