The Young Artist Award Program was 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.

Eligibility Requirements:

– Be thirty-two years old or younger
– Have completed a minimum of three years of undergraduate study in music
– Be pursuing music at a professional level
– Be able to attend all Monday evening rehearsals from mid-August through mid-May

NOTE: If you are granted an audition, you will need to submit these items by Friday, May 24:
– Audition Form (you will receive this from us upon confirmation of eligibility)
– Resume
– Recommendation Letter (Voice teacher, ensemble director, music professor) giving a professional evaluation of your musicianship, leadership abilities, dependability and vocal potential.  

Award Benefits and Details

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, masterclasses and fundraisers.

The Young Artists are also responsible for providing musical leadership in The Bach Society Chorus through thorough preparation of their parts. Young Artists rehearse as members of The Bach Society Chorus from late August through May on Monday evenings, 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Singers must be available to attend all rehearsals to be eligible for an audition.

2024-2025 Auditions

Wednesday, May 29, 2pm – 5pm
Panelists: Kevin McBeth, Dr. Karen Kanakis, Dr. Dennis Sparger

Your audition before the panel at The Church of St. Michael and St. George will last approximately 30 minutes; you will sing three solo pieces and perform a number of exercises to help us get to know your voice. Here are the details:

– Prepare three solo selections: (1) an operatic aria in a foreign language (sung from memory); (2) a Baroque aria from a cantata, oratorio, or mass (may be performed with music); (3) an operetta/musical theatre or jazz song in English (sung from memory suitable for informal entertainment). Your solo selections should showcase your range, timbre, flexibility, diction, expressiveness and stage presence. Please bring a copy of each of your selections for our accompanist including any relevant markings for your performance.
– Sight-reading exercises
– Tonal memory exercises
– Vocalization exercises to determine range, flexibility and correct placement in the chorus.

Dr. Karen Kanakis

Soprano Karen Kanakis is hailed for her fine vocal technique and dramatic flair on roles such as Alice Ford in Falstaff (Salt March Opera, Union Avenue Opera) and Magda in Puccini’s La Rondine (Winter Opera Saint Louis). Dr. Kanakis (D.M.A., voice, University of North Texas), is based out of St. Louis, Missouri, where she currently teaches voice and serves as vocal coach for the Opera Studio at Webster University, teaches for Opera Theatre St. Louis’ Artists-in-Training program, and maintains a private studio teaching aspiring and current professional classical singers. 

Kevin McBeth

A native of Houston Texas, McBeth is Director of Music at Manchester United Methodist Church in suburban St. Louis as well as director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra IN UNISON Chorus. He is a graduate of Houston Baptist University, and has done graduate studies in choral conducting at the University of Houston. He has served as guest lecturer at several American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) conventions and on the campuses of the Westminster Choir College, Temple University and the Julliard School of Music. Most recently, he was appointed president of the Missouri Choral Directors Association. McBeth has made appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center. 

The 2023-24 Young Artist Award Recipients

Recent Young Artist Award Recipients:

2022-23 Erica Ancell, Theresa Flores
2021-22 Alexandra Billhartz, Theresa Flores (Pancella), Micheal Lowe
2020-21 Danielle Feinstein, Olivia Roland, Micheal Lowe
2019-20 Danielle Feinstein, Freddie Rice, Olivia Roland, Micheal Lowe

For a complete list of Young Artist Alumni, click here.

Sponsored in part by