“Wow!” “Terrific news!”
“I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am!”
These are a few of the comments we received from the recent recipients of OGSA assistance. The Guild is providing $10,000 in grants and scholarships in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.
The Opera Guild gave $2000 in scholarships to two University of Arizona students chosen by the voice faculty. This year’s recipients were Joseph Gouge, an undergraduate, and Brian McNiff, a graduate student. The Opera Guild also awarded Pima College student Katie Cowhey with a $250 encouragement award.
OGSA grants primarily help students with extracurricular activities important to their professional goals. It is a long road for these young singers and very costly. The Opera Guild is proud to assist them as they attend summer workshops, sing in summer opera programs, and work with voice teachers, opera directors and conductors.
Some students will be studying in the continental U.S. this summer, including Ariana Iniguez, an undergrad who will be attending the Redwoods Opera Workshop. Mezzo-soprano Samantha Luna, the first in her family to hold a bachelor’s degree, is currently pursuing her master’s. She will be attending Le Chiavi di Bel Canto, a vocal program in Houston, Texas. Matthew La Rochelle and Brian McNiff, both graduate students, will be attending Opera in the Ozarks, where Brian will be performing the title role of Hoffmann in Les Contes d’Hoffmann. Doctoral candidate Jenina Gallaway was able to audition for the Chicago Lyric Opera last July with the help of an OGSA grant.
Students studying outside the U.S. include Clare Demer, who will be attending the International Vocal Arts Institute in Montreal, and Levi Pratt, who will be attending the Choral Institute at Oxford, England. Seth Kershisnik is performing the role of Count Almaviva in a production of Le nozze di Figaro in Vienna. The company, Sound of Austria, presents fully staged productions for cruise ship visitors. Seth will be able to sing two hundred performances of this opera. Both he and Mitch Sturges, a UA graduate also singing in Figaro, will be exposed to exciting opportunities in Europe through this experience.
All the students who have received OGSA grants and scholarships are extremely grateful for our support. These opportunities are important stepping stones to a future in the opera field, which may not have been possible without outside help. We are excited to be a part of these wonderful young singers’ lives, and we look forward to hearing all about their summer experiences!