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Opera Theatre Announces 2013-2014 Monsanto Artists-in-Training Students

Opera Theatre Announces 2013-2014 Monsanto Artists-in-Training Students

 24 students from the St. Louis Metropolitan area were chosen for the program

 Monsanto continues its 24 year tradition of serving as title sponsor for program, also supporting an opera for young people in 2013

 St. Louis, MO, October 8, 2013 – Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is pleased to announce the 2013-2014 Monsanto Artists-in-Training class, the largest class in the history of the program. Chosen through a highly competitive audition process (with a 30% increase in auditions this year), these students will engage in weekly college-level vocal coaching from faculty at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, Washington University, Webster University, and University of Missouri–St. Louis. The program culminates on Sunday, April 27 @ 3 p.m. in a recital and scholarship competition which will lead to awards of $11,000 in scholarship money.

The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, has been the principal underwriter of the program since its inception. In 2013, the fund gave a combined gift of $90,000 to support both the Artists-in-Training program and an opera for young people, The Very Last Green Thing.

Listed below are the 24 students accepted into Opera Theatre’s Monsanto Artists-in-Training program for the 2013-2014 year:

McLaine Beeman, Junior, Triad High School, 2nd year AIT

Melvin Bozeman, Jr., Junior, McCluer North High School, 1st year AIT

Ian Brinkley, Junior, McCluer North High School, 1st year AIT

Monet Britts, Junior, McCluer North High School, 1st year AIT

Michael Cogshell, Jr., Senior, McCluer North High School, 1st year AIT

Kelsey Degardin, Junior, Ritenour High School, 2nd year AIT

Ben Diamond, Senior, Clayton High School, 3rd year AIT

Maire Gador, Junior, McCluer High School, 1st year AIT

Christina Goetz, Senior, Westminster Christian Academy, 2nd year AIT

Brandi Harris-Stokes, Senior, Central Visual & Performing Arts High School, 3rd year AIT

Michael Hawkins, Junior, Belleville East High School, 1st year AIT

Natalie Hunt, Senior, Nerinx Hall High School, 3rd year AIT

Quntisha Jenkins, Senior, Normandy High School, 1st year AIT

Caleb Johnson, Sophomore, Central Visual & Performing Arts High School, 1st year AIT

Sam Krausz, Senior, St. Louis University High School, 2nd year AIT

Sarah Lally, Senior, Visitation Academy, 3rd year AIT

Lauren Lundy, Sophomore, Notre Dame High School, 1st year AIT

Aileen Markovitz, Junior, Eureka High School, 1st year AIT

Anna Nielsen, Senior, Providence Christian Academy, 1st year AIT

Julia Pottinger, Junior, Cor Jesu Academy, 2nd year AIT

Abigail Powers, Junior, Mehlville High School, 2nd year AIT

Angel Riley, Senior, Belleville West High School, 3rd year AIT

Adam Voelker, Senior, Belleville West High School, 1st year AIT

Marq Williams, Senior, McCluer North High School, 1st year AIT

 

About Opera Theatre’s Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program

Opera Theatre’s Monsanto Artists-in-Training program offers nine months of college-level voice lessons on university campuses to twenty-four high school students in the St. Louis community. The program was recognized as one of ten outstanding programs for youth in the nation by the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities at a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. Four alumni of the AIT program are in the midst of professional singing careers which have taken them to performing venues throughout the U.S. and overseas.  They include tenor Jermaine Smith (1991), mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen (1994), baritone Robert McNichols (1995), and soprano Jennifer Sheehan (2003).  In 2012, alumna Kendall Gladen made OTSL history by being the first AIT graduate to sing a title role on Opera Theatre’s main stage in a production of Carmen. In 2013, AIT graduate Derrell Acon, also a member of Opera Theatre’s Gerdine Young Artist Program, received a Fulbright award to pursue both performance and research in Italy.   Artists-in-Training is supported by the Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, which has been the principal underwriter since the program’s inception.

 

About Opera Theatre of Saint Louis

 

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis is one of the leading American opera companies, known for a spring festival of inventive new productions, sung in English, featuring the finest American singers and accompanied by members of the St. Louis Symphony. With the launch of the 2013 season, Opera Theatre has presented 23 world premieres and 23 American premieres – which may be the highest percentage of new work in the repertory of any U.S. company. Described by The Sunday Times of London as “one of the few American companies worth the transatlantic fare,” Opera Theatre of Saint Louis annually welcomes visitors from nearly every state and close to a dozen foreign countries. Although the size of the theater typically limits box office income to less than a quarter of the budget, the company has consistently produced work of the highest quality while never accumulating a deficit.

 

Opera Theatre also has a long tradition of discovering and promoting the careers of the finest operatic artists of the current generation. Among the artists who had important early opportunities at Opera Theatre are Christine Brewer, Susan Graham, Nathan Gunn, Patricia Racette, Thomas Hampson, Jerry Hadley, Dawn Upshaw, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Dwayne Croft, Kelly Kaduce, and Lawrence Brownlee. Opera Theatre has always been known for distinguished leadership: founding general director Richard Gaddes was succeeded in 1985 by general director Charles MacKay, with famed British stage director Colin Graham as artistic director and Stephen Lord (1992 – present) as music director. Timothy O’Leary was named general director in October 2008 with acclaimed stage director James Robinson succeeding Colin Graham.

Opera Theatre gratefully acknowledges season presenting sponsor Wells Fargo Advisors.

 

Opera Theatre is a sustaining member of the Arts & Education Council of Greater Saint Louis, and receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council.

 

 



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