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2018-2019 Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training

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Opera Theatre of Saint Louis' Monsanto Artists-in-Training Program, recognized as a flagship arts education program in the U.S. for more than 29 years, will be renamed the Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program in recognition of the company's change in name. Since its inception in 1990, Monsanto has provided 29 years of support for the Artists-in-Training Program, with more than $500,000 in scholarships awarded to over 100 students. It has helped launch the careers of celebrated singers, including Julia Bullock, Jermaine Smith, and Derrell Acon. Opera Theatre is honored to partner with Bayer Fund to continue this important work. 


The Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Spring Recital will be held on Sunday, April 14 at 3 p.m. at The Sheldon Concert Hall. It will be adjudicated by Morris Robinson.

About the Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program

Through local auditions, 20 St. Louis area high school students are selected to participate in weekly college-level voice lessons and coachings, participate in master classes and recitals, compete for $12,000 in scholarship funds, receive college guidance, and experience the vibrant arts culture of St. Louis, Missouri.

Graduates of the AIT program who choose to continue vocal music studies receive continued support through advanced study scholarship opportunities. One goal of AIT is to identify students who will go on to further music study and perhaps a professional singing career, but the program has other goals as well, such as encouraging self-discovery, finding new means of expression, learning to set rigorous achievement standards, and rewarding disciplined commitment.

Established in 1990 and unique in the US, Opera Theatre’s Bayer Fund Artists-in-Training Program was one of ten in the nation to be recognized by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities with the “Coming Up Taller” Award for success in serving at-risk youth. Visiting artists have included: Martina Arroyo, Christine Brewer, Jane Bunnel, Cynthia Clarey, Vinson Cole, Denyce Graves, Kathleen Kaun, Evertt McCorvey, Sylvia McNair, Erie Mills, Stanford Olsen, George Shirley, Barbara Smith Conrad, Steve Smith, Kevin Short, Marilyn Taylor, and Shirley Verrett among others.

Students attend performances at venues including Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, the St. Louis Repertory Theater, and more.

Hear from students who participated in the 2018 college tour in the video below!