Funded in part by:

The Young Artist Award Program has provided professional training, performance opportunities and scholarship assistance for local singers under the age of 30 since 1989.  Singers gain experience covering solos in major works, present and annual recital and perform frequently at fundraising and education events throughout the season.  Previous winners include:

– One who has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York
– One who regularly performs throughout Germany and Italy
– One who currently sings with the San Francisco Opera
– One who performs with significant groups like American Bach Soloists
– Numerous who have returned as featured soloists in a Bach Society concert
– Has served over 60 to date

Eligible Young Artists:

– have completed a minimum of three years of undergraduate study in music
– are pursuing a professional vocal career
– are currently in private vocal study
– are under the age of thirty

Award Benefits and Details

The Young Artists Awards were established to enhance professional training for career-oriented singers. Recipients receive an annual stipend of $2,500 payable over ten months and are provided with experiences to strengthen their development as soloists and professional choral singers.

The Young Artists gain experience covering solos in major works and attending dress rehearsals with visiting guest artists, giving them the opportunity to observe and interact with professional soloists. Young Artists also present an annual recital and perform at other Bach Society events including education concerts and fundraisers.

The Young Artists are also responsible for providing musical leadership in the Bach Society Chorus through exceptional preparation of their parts.

Young Artists rehearse as members of the Bach Society Chorus from late August to early May on Monday evenings, 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in the Great Hall at the Church of St. Michael and St. George, 6345 Wydown Boulevard, Clayton, MO, 63105.

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Audition Format

Panel auditions of approximately 20 minutes in the late spring/early summer at the Church of St. Michael and St. George in Clayton, MO, will include evaluation of sight reading, tonal memory and vocalization.  Singers should present three vocal selections from memory which demonstrate their range, timbre, flexibility, diction, expressiveness and stage presence:

– a Baroque aria from a cantata, oratorio or mass in any language (music can be used for this selection)
– an operatic aria in a foreign language
– an operetta/musical theatre song in English, suitable for informal entertainment

An accompanist will be provided.  Please bring music for the accompanist marked for tempo, dynamics, ritards, etc.

A letter of recommendation from a voice teacher or choral director giving a professional evaluation of your musicianship, leadership abilities, dependability and vocal potential is also required for those who are granted an audition.

Audition Panel

In 2018, we changed our audition format to a panel of judges for the Young Artist Award applicant. This year’s pane included: 

Dr. A. Dennis Sparger, Music Director and Conductor of The Bach Society of Saint Louis
Mrs. Jennifer Johnson Cano, world renowned operatic mezzo-soprano
Dr. Jim Henry, Director of Choral Activities at UMSL and the Co-director of Ambassadors of Harmony.

Jennifer Johnson Cano grew up in Fenton, Missouri and currently lives in New York City, is a naturally gifted singer noted for her commanding stage presence and profound artistry with a warm, velvety timbre that has garnered critical acclaim. A graduate of Webster University, Ms. Cano joined The Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at The Metropolitan Opera after winning the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2008, and made her Met debut during the 2009-2010 season. Among her honors are a First Prize winner of the 2009 Young Concert Artist International Auditions, 2011 Sara Tucker Study Grant, 2012 Richard Tucker Career Grant and 2014 George London Award. Ms. Cano has given over 100 performances at The Metropolitan Opera, numerous symphony appearances across the world, and even sang for the private funeral of American icon and astronaut, Neil Armstrong.  Ms. Cano is able to participate on the panel this year because she is returning to St. Louis to perform with Opera Theater St. Louis.

Dr. Jim Henry holds degrees in vocal music education, music theory and music composition, including a Ph.D. in music composition from Washington University. Dr. Henry’s singing experience spans multiple genres.  He currently sings bass with and arranges for Crossroads, BHS International Quartet Champions, and previously, the bass of the Gas House Gang, also International Quartet Champions. The Gas House Gang performed in all fifty states and fifteen countries, and in venues from the Grand Ole Opry to Carnegie Hall. Their numerous television and radio appearances include NBC’s “Today Show,” NPR’s “At the Creation,” and several PBS specials. As a composer, Dr. Henry has won awards for his songs and piano pieces. He served for three years as composer-in-residence at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School under the aegis of Washington University, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Buder Foundation. He was also a music mentor for the “Music, Words, Opera” educational program sponsored by Opera Theatre of St. Louis.  Dr. Henry travels the world as a guest conductor, coach, and lecturer.  He is a contributing author for the Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music and the Grove Dictionary of American Music.  He has won several awards including the Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Past Young Artist Award Recipients:

2017-18 Madalyn Mentor, Emerald Barbour, Kurtis Heinrich, Chris Stanfill
2016-17 Madalyn Mentor, Katherine Menke, Kurtis Heinrich, Tyler Green
2015-16 Madalyn Mentor, Katherine Menke, James Stevens, Ravi Raghuram
2014-15 Mary Beth Freitag, Lori Hoffman, Anthony Heinemann, Ravi Raghuram
2013-14 Mary Beth Freitag, Laura Beth Codispoti, Terrince Tackett, Ravi Raghuram
2012-13 Christine Hemphill-Guthrie, Erin Haupt, Terrince Tackett, Matt Pentecost
2011-12 Stephanie Ann Ball, Erin Haupt, Joshua Stanton, Tom W. Sitzler
2010-11 Stephanie Ann Ball, Debra Hillabrand, Joshua Stanton, Tom W. Sitzler
2009-10 Gina Malone, Debra Hillabrand, Joshua Stanton
2008-09 Melissa Payton, Debra Hillabrand
2007-08 Melissa Payton, Debra Hillabrand, Steve Slusher
2006-07 Melissa (Gowen) Payton, Margaret Gitu, Steve Slusher, Scott Levin
2005-06 Melissa Gowen, Alison Neace, Joseph Michels, Scott Levin
2004-05 Melissa Gowen, Alison Neace, Joseph Michels, Scott Levin
2003-04 Alexin Hotz, Laura Case, David Koch, Scott Levin
2002-03 Margaret Hamby, Laura Case, Jeffrey Freuler, Jay Harley
2001-02 Margaret Hamby, Rachel Edie, Jeffrey Freuler, Jay Harkey
2000-01 Sharen Camille, Alison Neace, Chester Pidduck, Shawn Neace
1999-00 Jennifer Frazer, Alison Neace, Chester Pidduck, Shawn Neace
1998-99 Mary Wilson, Alison (Harner) Neace, Todd Wilson, Shawn Neace
1997-98 Mary Wilson, Alison Harner, Willie Eddie Hitchcock III, Shawn Neace
1996-97 Kristen Frost, Sarah Joy Lawrence, Willie Eddie Hitchcock III, Lance Lancaster
1995-96 Valerie C. Schaefer, Sarah Joy Lawrence, Joseph M. Consiglio, Lance Lancaster
1994-95 Krystiane Cheetham, Leslie K. Remmert, Antoine C. Wallace, Matthew C. Cooper
1993-94 Rosalie H. Toubes, Leslie K. Remmert, Antoine C. Wallace, Michael J. Boschert
1992-93 Rosalie H. Toubes, Kim Loeffler, Antoine C. Wallace, Michael J. Boschert
1991-92 Karen Henrickson, Deborah Good Stinson, Antoine C. Wallace, George Bareford
1990-91 Mary I. Brown, Valerie Graham, Antoine C. Wallace, David Peterson
1989-90 Mary I. Brown