The Westfield/Mayville Rotary Club members welcomed two groups of Chautauqua Institution vocalists in July, all recipients of general scholarships financially donated by the club.
Each group of four represented different music student divisions - apprentice artists and scholarship recipients. The apprentices are brought to Rotary as a kind gesture by their pianist, Carol Rausch, Chautauqua's music administrator/chorus master. Having served in this capacity since 1995, she oversees the musical components of the company and the Young Artists program.
Opera apprentices were Benjamin Bloomfield of New Hampshire, Jesse Darden from North Carolina, Kate Farrar of North Carolina and Nicole Haslett of New Jersey.
At left, Chautauqua opera apprentices who sang for the Westfield/Mayville Rotarians in July are, from left, Benjamin Bloomfield, baritone; Kate Farrar, mezzo-soprano; Carol Rausch, music administrator/chorus master/pianist; Nicolle Haslett, soprano; and Jesse Darden, tenor. At right, Chautauqua opera apprentices who sang for the Westfield/Mayville Rotarians in July are, standing left, Owen McCausland, Saint John, New Brunswick; Juan Zapata, Dallas, Texas; seated from left, Monica Dewey, Atlanta, Ga; Don St Pierre, pianist/composer; Kendra Broom, Oakland, Calif.
A baritone, Bloomfield has been with the Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music as well as having performed in 20 music festivals, including Tanglewood Music Center. He also was the 2012 finalist at the Chicago Lyric Opera Ryan Center. This year marks his Chautauqua Opera Debut.
North Carolinian Jesse Darden is a tenor and has studied at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, Ohio State University and University of North Carolina. He received Ohio State's Wilson Vocal Award and first place in Euterpe Music Scholarship, Women in Music Competition and NATS competition. He has been a Chautauqua Opera Studio artist for two years.
Kate Farrar of North Carolina is a messo-soprano also at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, University of North Carolina, Opera North, Piedmont Opear and American Institute of Musical Studies. She has been a Chautauqua Opera Studio Artist since 2013.
From New Jersey comes Nicole Haslett, a soprano who studies at Manhattan School of Music and New York University. Her accomplishments include Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Martina Arroyo Foundations Prelude to Performance, Opera in the Ozarks. She was a grand finalist at Metropolitan National Council auditions, took third place at Joan Taub Ades Vocal competition and was a Career Bridges Grant winner. She now is in her Chautauqua Opera Debut.
Currently Rausch also is chorus master/music administrator for the New Orleans Opera Association. She previously was with the Virginia Opera, Greater Miami Opera, Ohio Light Opera and Opera Columbus. She also heads the opera department at Loyola University New Orleans where she has prepared and conducted numerous opera productions.
The four vocalists who received scholarships from the W/M Rotary Club pursue their singing experience in many different modes.
Kendra Broom came from Oakland, Calif, to study at Manhattan School of Music where she is a first-year student. A past Marc and Eva Stern Fellow, she is a graduate of the Young Musicians Outreach program and has been awarded the Emily M. Voorhis, Ambrose Monell and Birgit Nilsson scholarships.
Monica Dewey, from Atlanta, Ga, studies with Elizabeth Colson at University of Kentucky. She recently was seen as Pamina in Die Zauberflote with Lyric Opera Studio Weimar in Germany, Rose in Street Scene with Harrower Opera Workship and Christine in Phantom of the Opera with University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. She holds a dual Bachelor's in Voice and Arts administration from the University of Kentucky.
Owen McCausland is a native of Saint John, New Brunswick, and is a third-year Ensemble Studio Artist at the Canadian Opera Company. Last season, he stepped into the title role in La clemenza di Tito for several performances on the opera's mainstage. Recent credits at the COC include Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte (Ensemble Studio performance), Lord Cecil in Roberto Devereux and Don Juan in Don Quichotte.
Juan Zapata, from Calla, Texas, is pursuing a Master of Music Degree at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and received his Bachelor of Music Degree at Louisiana State University in 2012. He was a finalist in the Union League Civic & Arts Foundation competition and has received awards from the Orpheus Vocal competition. He currently studies with renowned baritone Richard Stillwell.
Don St Pierre, who accompanied the vocalists, is a pianist and composer who teaches at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He has taught at Chautauqua since 1987.
According to Rotarian Helen Baran, who arranges the musical appearances and hosts the songsters each year, the club has been giving a financial donation to Chautauqua since the early 1970s. And, each year, club members look forward to listening to the singing and watching the facial expressions of these extremely talented vocalists.