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 $386,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to students in Lake, Marion and Sumter Counties. Last year, after our 2018 auditions, $54,000 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 $10,000 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.
About 500 people were at the Savannah Center on the evening of Saturday, November 17, 2018, to attend this year's "Enchanted Evening" concert, and a wonderful event it turned out to be. The entertainment was led off by baritone Malcolm Payne Jr. Originally from Arkansas, Malcolm graduated with two music degrees from the University of North Texas, and he is currently touring with the Dallas Opera Educational Outreach Program. Fittingly, he began the program with "Some Enchanted Evening" from "South Pacific."
Pictured clockwise from top left: Malcolm Payne, Jr., Moriah Trenk,
Jocelyn Hansen and Collin Holloway
Moriah Trenk is an accomplished pianist from Boston. She has a masters degree in music from the New England Conservatory, and presently is the full time pianist for the Boston Ballet School of Dance. She is also the concerto staff pianist for the New York Chamber Players Orchestra. The first part of her perfor-mance included compositions by Ravel, Villa Lobos and Chopin.
Classical Guitarist Collin Holloway is from Oklahoma City, and is currently studying at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He has performed across much of America and Spain, both as a soloist and as a part of various guitar and chamber music ensembles. He began his set by playing a beautiful version of John Lennon's "Yesterday."
Soprano Jocelyn Hansen rounded out the first part of the concert. She is a fourth year doctoral student and teaching fellow at the University of North Texas, and is also an Outreach Artist with the Dallas Opera. She displayed her beautiful soprano voice and showed her versatility by performing "Musetta's Waltz" from Puccini's "La Boheme" and "Make Believe" from "Showboat" by Jerome Kern.
The second part of the program featured our artists in reverse order, and began with Jocelyn singing the beautiful "Vilja" from Franz Lehar's "Merry Widow," and ending with Malcolm's rousing rendition of "Oh, what a Beautiful Morning" from "Oklahoma." This truly "Enchanted Evening" ended by giving an appreciative audience the opportunity to meet and greet the artists in the lobby at the end of the show.