Now accepting applications for 2019 Summer Music Clinic Scholarships

The Philharmonic Chorus of Madison is now accepting applications from Madison area high school students for three scholarships to be awarded in late April to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Summer Music Clinic, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary of fostering young musicians.

Since 1981, the chorus has joined the UW Summer Music Clinic in offering students an opportunity to spend a week with teachers devoted to excellence in music education. The students can learn music theory, develop their skills, perform in ensembles with peers, and form lasting friendships, an experience that can inspire them to share their gift of music throughout their lives, perhaps pursue it as a career.

The three scholarships, $740 each, cover tuition, room and board for the Senior Session, Sunday, June 23, through Friday, June 28. Application materials were sent to 20 participating schools. The chorus only accepts applications from the school choral director, so interested students must contact their director, who can nominate one student.

The application deadline is March 25, 2019, and the winners will be notified April 11. “Many have had students who were awarded this scholarship and can attest to the benefits of attending this wonderful clinic,” said Barbara Kohler, chair of the chorus scholarship committee. She noted that in 1981, the full scholarship amount was quite a bargain at $50. Back then, the chorus reimbursed the families of winners following the clinic.

Since 1991, the chorus has made payments directly to the Summer Music Clinic on behalf of the winners, cumulatively awards exceeding $60,000 to more than 130 students. The scholarships are based on merit. If a talented student is one in financial need, Kohler said the student and choral director should note that. “There has always been a high priority for those in financial need,” Kohler said.

Now in its 38th year, the chorus scholarship initiative is like no other in the Madison area. That said, the nonprofit, a cappella chorus of 50 members is perhaps known best for its festive Tudor Holiday Dinner Concerts, center stage in Great Hall at the Wisconsin Memorial Union since 1972. “The chorus is able to award these scholarships thanks to the generous support of our patrons, our audiences and the donations of others,” Kohler said.

The 2019 scholarship winners will be honored at a free spring concert, Sunday, April 28, starting at 2 pm at Bethany Methodist Church, 3910 Mineral Point Road, Madison. With this being the 90th anniversary of the UW Summer Music Clinic, Kohler and Gorman extended their congratulations, and Elizabeth Snodgrass, clinic director, expressed her gratitude to the chorus for its scholarship initiative. “Summer Music Clinic aims to provide every opportunity possible for young musicians to attend our camp,” Snodgrass said. “We have limited funding for full and partial scholarships each year, and many of our campers rely on outside organizations, schools, and individuals to provide the extra support they might need in order to attend summer programs like this one.” Continued Snodgrass, “We are grateful for the Philharmonic Chorus of Madison’s endorsement and commitment to supporting young choral students so they can attend our camp through their scholarship program. Summer Music Clinic is a great place to continue developing musically when school programs are on break, and we encourage any interested students to take advantage of this opportunity and apply! 2019 marks the 90th anniversary of Clinic so it is a very special year to participate!”

Gorman was a clinic instructor while earning his doctorate in choral music at UW-Madison under the legendary Professor of Music Robert Fountain. When he became chorus director in 1995, Gorman was struck by the scholarship initiative in existence since 1981. “It was one of the things I was most impressed with, that this was an ongoing project, and I thought, what a great way to assure sort of a passing of the baton to younger people,” Gorman said. He said the clinic, while only a week, has much to offer. “It’s an intense week, lots to take advantage of,” Gorman said. Recalling his experience, he said he taught two classes, music theory and voice, and directed a mixed chorus. “There’s a lot of fun things going on, and so it’s a really productive week, when friendships are made. I think people return home, and they feel like they’re better musicians.” For further words of encouragement, consider the comments of winners last year.

The 2018 winners were Patricia Rivera Torres, an Edgewood High School junior last spring; Emmett Milligan, a Madison East High School sophomore, and Gloria Eddy, a Stoughton High School sophomore. “This helped me better understand my passion for music,” said Torres, a member of three vocal groups at Edgewood. “I learned many things about voice care and the power of my own voice. Thank you, I feel so blessed.” Equally grateful was Milligan, a tenor soloist who also enjoys playing guitar. “Learning from these people was very rewarding,” Milligan said. “Thank you for providing me the opportunity to attend and expand my knowledge as a musician.”

In the past, the chorus has awarded more scholarships, as many as 11 in 2000 when $410 covered all costs. But the nonprofit chorus, all of its members volunteering their time and talent, has limited funding. The chorus is most grateful for its loyal patrons and welcomes new ones.

The Bethany concert Sunday, April 28, is one of three, free spring concerts by the chorus under the direction of Dr. Patrick Gorman. The other concerts are 7 pm, Wednesday, April 24, Oakwood West, 6209 Mineral Point Road, and 7:30 pm, Friday, April 26, at Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 E. Gorham Street.

Nicole Saunders