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
2019 Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship Auditions
From its humble beginnings back in the late 1990's, our Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship program has grown by leaps and bounds, both in the area of participants, as well as in the amount of money awarded. The auditions for our 2019 scholarships took place at the Laurel Manor Recreation Center on Saturday, April 6, 2019, and a new participation record was set in that we had 30 candidates, considerably more than we have ever had. More amazingly, among those 30 applicants, there were 16 vocalists, whereas we have probably never had more than half a dozen.
Of course, with this many applicants, the work of our 6 professional musical judges was made that much more difficult. Undoubtedly, some worthwhile candidates had to be overlooked, but those chosen were the best of the best. The winners have been notified by mail and we will see them again, and learn the amount of their scholarships when they come back to perform their audition pieces at our April Opera Club meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, 2019 at Laurel Manor.
We hope to see as many members as possible on that occasion. In the meantime, we are picturing below all 30 of our scholarship candidates.
Xavier Solomon Juriea Williams Cayden Johnson Katelyn DiMento Madison Hart
Piano Piano Piano Alto Saxophone Flute
West Port H.S. (Ocala) Leesburg H.S. Homeschooled Belleview H.S. Mount Dora H.S.
Olivia Hanna Matthew Hohota Nicole Walker Cody Saucier Abigail True
Oboe Saxophone Oboe Trumpet Soprano
Mount Dora H.S. Forest H.S. (Ocala) Lake Minneola H.S. The Villages Charter H.S. East Ridge H.S.
Katelyn DiMento Madison Hart Mackenzie Meiers Brianna Pols Antonio Vergara
Alto Saxophone Flute Alto Saxophone Bassoon Alto Sxophone
Belleview H.S. Mount Dora H.S. West Port H.S. (Ocala) Tavares H.S. South Lake H.S.
Stephan Endres Dustin Pruitt Morgan Watts Justice Yates Christopher Kennedy
Saxophone Vibraphone/Mallets Soprano Baritone Bass
Umatilla H.S. Vanguard H.S. (Ocala) South Lake H.S. Tavares H.S. West Port H.S. (Ocala)
Jan Jusino-Medina Kayla Tassone Natalie Mancia Reginald Willis Isabelle Taylor
Tenor Soprano Soprano Baritone Soprano
Leesburg H.S. The Villages Charter H.S. Vanguard H.S. (Ocala) West Port H.S. (Ocala) Montverde Academy
Aubrey Williams Justus Evans Sarah Burns Abigail Shaffer Elizabeth Day
Soprano Baritone Soprano Soprano Soprano
Montverde Academy Lake Minneola H.S. Trinity Catholic H.S. (Ocala) West Port H.S (Ocala). Tavares H.S.
. . . and the Winners are:
from the 30 auditioners shown above, our panel of judges chose 8 young men an women to be the recipients of our scholarships and special encouragement awards.
All of our scholarship and award winners performed their audition pieces at our "Showcase of Winners" held on Thursday, April 25, 2019. Pictured (from left) are 2nd place Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship winner Cayden Johnson, a home schooled pianist; third place scholarship winner Madison Hart from Mount Dora, who plays the flute; and 4th place Harold S. Schwartz Scholarship winner Olivia Hanna, an oboe player from Mount Dora. Our top scholarship winner was soprano Kayla Tassone from the Villages Charter High School. While Kayla performed at the very beginning of he program, she also happened to appear in the Villages High School musical "Into the Woods" which was being performed at The Sharon at the same time as our meeting. The recipient of the Doherty Family Encouragement Award was Jan Jusino-Medina, a tenor from Leesburg High School. Next we have Brianna Pols who plays the bassoon and hails from Tavares and won the Lois Ridge Encouragement Award given in memory of the late Lois Ridge.
Antonio Vergara plays the alto saxophone and is a graduate of South Lake High School. He was honored by being given the Pappadio Encouragement Award given in memory of Paul Pappadio who recently passed away. Finally, we have Justice Yates from Tavares High School. Justice is a Baritone and received the Encouragement Award donated by Diane and Joe Arlt.
President Gerri Piscitelli giving their awards to Antonio Vergara, Brianna Pols, Cayden Johnson and Madison Hart.