The Opera Club of The Villages encourages all lovers of good music who are residents of The Villages to attend our regular monthly meetings and the special performances scheduled. You do not have to sing or know all about opera - a love of good music is our only requirement. Members as well as visitors are welcome.
The main mission of the Opera Club is to collect donations from members and friends, or from special fund raising events, to fund the Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarships, which are awarded to graduating high school seniors from Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties, who are planning to pursue music education in college.
If you would like to make a contribution toward our Scholarship Fund, a remittance form is attached here.
In the past three years we have awarded $126,000 to deserving students.
In addition to checking the Recreation News of The Villages "Daily Sun," you may receive advance notice of upcoming events, as well as news about the club by signing up for email. To get on our mailing list or to change an existing email address, please contact Membership Chairman Lou Sasmor at firstname.lastname@example.org or Roy Ullrich at email@example.com
Scholarship Auditions Scrapped Due to COVID-19
April 4, 2020 was to be the date of our annual Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship auditions, this year to be held in the lobby of the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center, which, in fact, is the former Church on the Square. Prior to 2013, this was the venue for our scholarship auditions.
Your Scholarship Committee had done a yeoman's job in preparing for the auditions, working on the logistics, scheduling people to man the various stations, soliciting judges, notifying candidates, etc. All of this was for naught, of course, once the pandemic hit our community and caused the closure of all entertainment venues.
In the meantime, your Board of Directors addressed the question of how to handle the scholarship candidates who had applied. 16 young men and women from tri-county high schools had filled out applications and submitted supporting documentation. Applicants' musical achievements were many and varied, including honor bands and choirs at the District and State levels, as well as many prestigious individual awards. Some had performed with the noted Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Ocala Symphony Youth Chorus. High School transcripts obtained showed top GPAs and outstanding performance in very rigorous course schedules while balancing music studies, numerous extracurricular activities and significant community service.
After considering all of the options, the decision was made to award equal scholarships in the amount of $1,500.00 to all sixteen applicants. Following is some information about the diversity of our scholarship candidates:
The high schools they are graduating from are Forest, Vanguard, West Port, and Trinity Catholic in Ocala; South Lake, Lake Minneola and Leesburg in Lake County; and our own Villages Charter High School, as well as South Sumter in Sumter County.
Their musical talents range from Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Clarinet and Flute to Violin, while the vocal candidates are a Soprano, Mezzo Soprano, and Alto, to a student aspiring to succeed in Musical Theatre.
Although decision date is not until May 1st, some of the prospective colleges cited were Florida State, Stetson University, Central Florida, Rollins College, Seminole State, University of Mobile, University of North Florida, Lee University, and New York University. Unfortunately, we neither have photos of our candidates, nor are we able to publish their names until a later time.