Members of the Opera Club of The Villages are offering their appreciation to attendees of the recent “Three Tenors Plus One” show for supporting scholarships for local gifted students who want to pursue a career in music.
Fernando Varela, Edward Washington, Miguel Salas and Heather Ard, accompanied by the Maestro Bill Doherty, presented a dazzling program. Local entertainer Kathleen Kane also joined in to serve as the master of ceremonies.
Opera Club President Gerri Piscitelli said she is indebted to members and friends who have generously donated to the Harold Schwartz Music Scholarships in spite of not having monthly meetings. She pointed out that due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, some important changes have been put in place. She added that last year, all 16 applicants received $1,500 scholarships because auditions weren’t possible due to the fast-spreading Coronavirus.
This time around, Piscitelli said, Scholarship Chair Marty Taylor has canceled in-person auditions in favor of an online format that will be put into place on April 3.
“When we receive the students’ applications, instructions will be sent to make a cell phone video that will be reviewed by the judging panel,” she said.
The requirement for winners to perform in person to claim their award at the Opera Club meeting in late April has been waived. Club members are in the process of communicating that to schools and students in Sumter, Marion and Lake counties.
Scholarship applications must be postmarked by Monday, March 1 to be considered. If in-person meetings resume in late April or May, it is hoped that audition tapes of the scholarship winners will be shown to Opera Club members. For more information on the scholarships, visit www.operaclubofthevillages.com.
The Opera Club of The Villages was established in 1997 to present live performances to Villagers and establish a music scholarship program to honor Villages Founder Harold Schwartz. Since it’s inception, more than $550,000 in scholarship money has been awarded to local students in Sumter, Lake and Marion counties who hope to pursue careers in music.