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Dayton Opera Welcomes Four Vocalists to its 2014-2015 Artists-in-Residence Program this January



CONTACT: ANGELA WHITEHEAD
Communications & Media Manager

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Phone 937-224-3521 x 1138
awhitehead@daytonperformingarts.org

DAYTON, OH (January 15, 2015) – Dayton Opera is pleased to welcome four vocalists to the Dayton area to its 2014-2015 Artists-in-Residence Program.  The Dayton Opera Artists-in-Residence program was established in 1987 as a professional training program for young singers, providing a bridge for the move from the university/conservatory education experience into the arena of a professional opera company.  The four vocalists were selected from national auditions and arrived in Dayton earlier this month to begin their residencies. Over the next few months, they will be appearing at numerous schools throughout the community to present musical programs in an effort to educate Dayton area students on the art of opera.  Additionally, the four AIRs will be appearing in main stage productions for the company in the 2014-2015 New Horizons Season. The young professional artists in Dayton Opera’s 2014-2015 Artists-In-Residence Program are soprano Sara Schabas, mezzo-soprano Amanda Fink, tenor Joshua Wheeker and baritone Jeff Byrnes. 

Soprano Sara Schabas is a native of Toronto, Canada and now lives in Chicago.  She received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Toronto, and her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Roosevelt University/Chicago College of Performing Arts.  Sara made her Dayton Opera debut this past November in the role of Papagena and understudy Pamina in The Magic Flute.  This coming February, she will perform the role of Sr. Catherine and understudy Kitty Hart in Dead Man Walking.  Her operatic credits at Roosevelt University/CCPA include roles in Il viaggio a Reims, Le Docteur Miracle, and Gianni Schicchi.  She has also performed as a soloist with the Midwest Young Artists Orchestra, Castleton Festival, Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Mezzo-soprano Amanda Fink also made her Dayton Opera main stage debut this past November as the Second Lady in The Magic Flute.  This coming February, she will perform the role of Sr. Lillianne and understudy Sr. Helen in Dead Man Walking.  She served as an apprentice/young artist at Ash Lawn Opera, Castleton Festival and Songfest Young Artist Program, where she performed and covered roles in Susannah, Fiddler on the Roof, A Little Night Music and Hansel and Gretel.  Amanda holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Chapman University and a Master of Music from the University of Maryland Opera Studio where she performed in many productions.  Born in Cleveland, she now makes her home in Washington, DC.

Tenor Joshua Wheeker, a Dayton native, received his Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he appeared or covered roles in many productions such as Manon, Tragedie de Carmen, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Cunning Little Vixen, Of Mice and Men, Gianni Schicchi and Orpheus in the Underworld.  He has participated in young artist programs at Opera Iowa, Des Moines Metro Opera and Kentucky Opera, where he performed in L’elisir d’amore, La Traviata, and La fanciulla del West.  Joshua was a soloist in the Dayton Philharmonic’s 2014 presentation of Handel’s Messiah.  He makes his Dayton Opera debut in the role of Howard Boucher in Dead Man Walking as a member of the Artist-in-Residence Program.

Baritone Jeff Byrnes has participated in young artist programs with Des Moines Metro Opera and the Seagle Music Colony, where he performed and covered roles in La Traviata, Peter Grimes, La Bohème, The Marriage of Figaro and Hotel Casablanca.  A native of Arlington, TX, he received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Louisiana State University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he performed roles in Peter Grimes, Fellow Traveler, St. John Passion and The Marriage of Figaro.  As a member of Dayton Opera’s Artist-in-Residence Program, Jeff will make his company debut in the role of Owen Hart in Dead Man Walking. 

Dayton Opera and the entire Dayton Performing Arts Alliance welcome these four young artists to Dayton and wish them all the best in their residencies.

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About the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance was formed in July 2012 as the result of a groundbreaking and innovative merger between the Dayton Ballet, the Dayton Opera, and the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. Together, they are the largest performing arts organization in the community, offering a tremendous variety of performance and education programs and setting a new standard for artistic excellence.  Dayton Performing Arts Alliance performances are made possible in part by Montgomery County and Culture Works, the single largest source of community funds for the arts and culture in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance also receives partial funding from the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency created to foster and encourage the development of the arts and to preserve Ohio's cultural heritage. Funding from the Ohio Arts Council is an investment of state tax dollars that promotes economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohio residents.  The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance is proud to be one of five performing arts organizations in the country selected to receive a three-year "Music Alive" grant from New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras.
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