Opera Club of The Villages

Our mission is to inspire lifelong interest and encouragement in opera and classical music, and to promote music education for students, including financial support.

Proud sponsor of the Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship Program

Meet The Opera Club

The Opera Club of The Villages was established to present live musical performances, operas, and concerts to Villagers. Meetings are held the fourth Thursday of each month at Laurel Manor Recreation Center from September through May. In 1997, the Opera Club founded the Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship Program to honor the founder of The Villages. The goal was to encourage and support students who plan a career in music by awarding scholarships to applicants in Marion, Lake and Sumter Counties. Over $567,479 in scholarship money has been awarded to 89 students. Our major source of income is our “Three Tenors Plus One” concert scheduled for February 12, 2022 to be presented at The Sharon Performing Arts Center.

During the school year, our Scholarship Committee sends applications to schools in the Tri-County area. Students applying must be seniors with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. They must be planning to major or minor in music education or performance in college. The student must complete the application and submit it with two letters of recommendation. In the past, qualified applicants were invited to audition in April at Laurel Manor. Scholarship auditions are adjudicated by professional judges. This year, due to COVID restrictions, the auditions were online, The students were sent instructions on how to make cell phone videos of their auditions. The Judges reviewed the recordings and voted their rankings. The deliberations were through a ZOOM conference.

Next year, 4 Scholarships will be awarded: $12,000, $10,000, $8,000 and $4,000. Three Encouragement $1,000 gifts will also be awarded.

The Oscar Feliu Award is given annually to a student at The Villages Charter High School who consistently demonstrated outstanding contributions to and participation in the music program. The $3,000 award is in memory of Oscar Feliu, one of the founders of the Opera Club.

Board of Directors

Gerri Piscitelli - President/Program Chair

Roy Ullrich - Newsletter

Sandra Ricciardi - Vice President

Joanne Kells-Murphy - Membership

Dave Harrold - Treasurer

Geri Dempsey – Community Relations

Ann Forrester - Recording Secretary

Mary Boczkowski - Director-At-Large

Pearl Kosa - Corresponding Secretary

Gigi Letrende - Raffle /Sunshine

Marty Taylor - Scholarship Chairman

Marlene Croft/Rosalie Locke - Hospitality

William Peck - Webmaster

Connie Connor - Archivist

Bill Doherty - Advisor

Pauline Pan - Director Emeritus

The Opera Club of the Villages is a 501©3 Corporation

Mailing address : PO Box 1228, The Villages ,Fl 32158

Greetings From Our President

Over 100 members attended the first meeting of the new season on Thursday, September 23 at Laurel Manor. The Opera Club met for the first time in many months. The camaraderie and conviviality was amazing! Everyone was so happy to be together, and enjoyed a live musical performance

Appreciation Awards we’re presented to outstanding Board members: Rudy Ruckert, Shirley Agness, Dr. Pauline Pan, Helga Sharp, Roy Ullrich,Lou Sasmor, and In Memoriam for Norm Schuster who passed away this summer.

New Board members were introduced: Sandy Ricciardi, Vice President, David Harrold , Treasurer, Joanne Kells-Murphy, Membership Chair, William Peck, Webmaster, and Connie Connor, Archivist.

Geri Dempsey, our Community Relations Coordinator announced Three Charity Booth events at the Three Squares in October, November and January. This will be a spirited Meet and Greet, to introduce the Opera Club to new residents. If you would like to join in the fun, please contact Geri Dempsey at 631-525-7825 It will only take two hours for the event you choose. First event, Tuesday, Oct. 5th at Spanish Springs.

After the business meeting, Maestro Bill Doherty presented a beautiful program “Singers Serenade” featuring Mariangel Cesstari Inaty, Kaitlyn McMonigle, Alec Speers, & David Ghering - artists with the Central Florida Lyric Opera. Followed by a feastive dessert table hosted by Rosalie Locke and Marlene Croft. It was a joy to be together once again. Village Residents are welcome to attend.

Next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 28, at 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm.

We look forward to seeing you!

Gerri Piscitelli, President

'Opera Club of the Villages'

First General Meeting of the 2021-2022 Season

[September 23, 2021]

Spectacular Performers!!!!

[L-R] Alec Speers, David Gehring, Bill Doherty, Mariangel Cestari Inaty, Kaitlyn McMonigle,