The Role and Mission of The Opera Club of The Villages
In 1997, the Opera Club of The Villages established the Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship program to honor the founder of The Villages and to commemorate his lifelong love of music. It is a goal of the Opera Club to encourage and support students of music in developing their talent and achieving their educational goals, which will in turn enrich all of our lives. Since 2005, more than $400,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to students in Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties. Last year, after our 2019 auditions, $42,000 was awarded to eight talented winners.
During the school year, applications are sent to schools in the tri-county area. Students wishing to apply for the scholarships must be graduating seniors with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. They must be planning to major or minor in music education or performance at the college or university of their choice. The student must complete the application and submit it along with an essay, two letters of recommendation, and official school transcripts.
After the submissions are reviewed, the qualified applicants are invited to audition before the Scholarship Judges of the Opera Club of The Villages. On the day of the audition, each applicant is first interviewed by our panel of judges, following which they will perform their musical selections. Upon completion of this process, the judges, who are music professionals, vote on the applicants deemed most worthy to receive scholarships.
In recent years, our judges have felt that some candidates from our local Villages High School may have raw talent, but their lack of professional training has kept them from attaining the next level. In light of this, the Board of Directors of the Opera Club has decided to establish a "Music Assistance Program" (MAP) and to devote up to $20,000 per year to defray the cost of lessons for younger students identified by music teachers at The Villages Charter High School.
Of course, all these activities require money, so in addition to funds generated by our "3 Tenors plus One" concerts as well as special fundraising events, we rely on members and friends to help raise funds for our scholarship program.
If you would like to make a cash donation to our scholarship fund, please send your check to The Opera Club of The Villages, P.O. Box 1128, The Villages, FL 32158. We are a charitable organization under Section 501(c)3 of the IRS code and donations are tax deductible.
2019-20 Opera Club Season begins with CFLO's "That's Amore"
The new season for our Opera Club began with a bang on Thursday, September 26, 2019. After the usual business meeting, Maestro Bill Doherty introduced the program for this month, which was unique in that all of the artists hail from Venezuela originally. Therefore, in addition to a number of opera arias, we were treated to several Venezuelan folk tunes, presented either by a trio or a quartet of singers accompanied by a unique instrument called a "quatro," somewhat similar to a ukulele. Our four singers were Mariangel Cestari, a soprano whom we have had the pleasure of listening to several times previously, Baritone Miguel Salas has also graced our stage previously. Th newcomers were Soprano Maribel Gomez, and Tenor Engelberth Arellano, who also played the "quatro." Maestro Bill Doherty provided his usual stellar piano accompaniment.
(pictured from left to right) -
Some of our Board
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