Guthrie Darr Young Artist Scholarship
Click here for Full Guidelines.
The Columbia Choral Society Guthrie Darr Young Artist Scholarship is available to students who reside in Richland or Lexington Counties and are currently enrolled in high school in grades 10-12 or in an equivalent home-schooled program. The scholarship exists to encourage and support young local artists who are interested in studying voice privately. Previous study with a voice instructor is not required but any scholarship awarded must be used for this purpose.
The scholarship will be awarded through a juried competition usually held in the Spring. The judges will award a scholarship for $500.
The 1st place winner may be offered the opportunity of performing as a guest artist at one Columbia Choral Society’s concerts.
Please join us in helping to encourage our local young artists by informing them of this new opportunity. If any students express interest in this scholarship, please have them email our president at management [dot] choralsociety [at] gmail [dot] com and send them a link to our Full Guidelines for additional details.
2022-2023 Scholarship Winner
This year’s winner is Elliana Christensen. Elliana is a homeschooled junior from Lexington County. For the audition she sang Au bord de l’eau by Gabriel Fauré and Deep River by H.T. Burleigh. Elliana states, “My dream is to grow as a vocal performer and minister to people through music (specifically kids).” She loves musical therapy and is very interested in pursuing that as a career.
2021-2022 Scholarship Winners
The Columbia Choral Society (CCS) held its Guthrie Darr Young Artist Scholarship competition on Monday, April 4, 2022.
This year’s winner was Grace Sawicki, receiving a $500 scholarship to be used for private voice lessons. She has studied under Janet Hopkins and is now studying under Michelle Hache at the UofSC School of Music. She is a senior at Cardinal Newman. For the audition, Grace performed “Weep You No More” by Roger Quilter and “Plaisir d’amour” by Jean-Paul-Égide Martini.
“I want to use my voice as a performer… somewhere – Broadway, theme parks, cruise ships, summer stock – however I can bring joy and smiles to audiences.”
We also awarded two other monetary awards for private voice lessons.
One to Hannah Hardaway, a senior at Northside Christian, and studies under Dawn Smith Jordan. She performed “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” by Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Hart and Richard Stilgoe.
And one to Betsy Thomas, a senior at River Bluff High School. She performed “Wiegenlied” by Johannes Brahms, Op. 49, No. 4 and “The Twenty Third Psalm” by Alfred Hay Malotte.
Allison Hilbish, the choral society’s accompanist, was the accompanist for Grace and Hannah. Betsy was accompanied by her grandmother, Judy Doudoukjian.
Our distinguished judges were Dr. Melinda Crenshaw, Allison Hilbish, Dr. David Lowry, and Dr. Elizabeth M. Mears.
2019-2020 Scholarship Winners
The Columbia Choral Society (CCS) held its Guthrie Darr Young Artist Scholarship competition on Saturday, February 29, 2020 with eight participants.
This year’s first place winner was Anna Swearingen, receiving a $500 scholarship to be used for private voice lessons. Anna has studied under Janet E. Hopkins for several years. She attended Dreher High School. For the audition, Anna performed Little Elegy” by John Duke and “Come l’allodoletta” by Stefano Donaudy. Anna is extremely passionate about music and vocal performance. She is focusing on classical music and opera. She feels opera is an absolutely incredible art form and her ultimate goal is to be a professional opera singer. Anna also wishes to share her love of music with others and to one day encourage young artists. Anna will be featured at CCS’s October 3, 2021 concert.
Our second place winner was Madison Berry, being awarded a $250 scholarship to be used for private voice lessons. She has studied under Craig Price. Madison attended Gilbert High School where she was involved daily in many aspects of performing arts including GHS Sola Voce, GHS Chamber Choir, and musical theatre. For her audition, Madison performed “Au bord de l’eau” by Gabriel Faure and “I Have Twelve Oxen” by John Ireland.
Allison Hilbish, the choral society’s accompanist, was the accompanist for the students.
Our three distinguished judges were Madison Earls, Dr. David Lowry and Paula Wilson.
2018-2019 Scholarship Winners
The Columbia Choral Society (CCS) held its annual Guthrie Darr Young Artist Scholarship competition on Monday, March 11, 2019. This year’s winner, Joseph Williams-Bibiloni, received a $500 scholarship to be used for private voice lessons. Joseph is home schooled and takes voice lessons from Tom Brunson. He performed works by Mozart and R. Vaughan Williams. Joseph currently sings with the Church of the Good Shepherd choir.
Dr. Elizabeth Mears, the director of the Columbia Choral Society, Allison Hilbish, the choral society’s accompanist, and four members of the Columbia Choral Society (Jonathan Bock, Melinda Crenshaw, Richard Schulz and Phil Hope) served as the jury for the competition.
The Columbia Choral Society decided to award a second scholarship this year. Abigail Heath received a $250 scholarship. Ms. Heath attends the Ben Lippen School and is in the 11th grade. She performed works by Faure in French and Durante in Italian. She currently studies voice with Alison Branham who teaches at Columbia International University.
2017 Scholarship Winner
The Columbia Choral Society held its annual Guthrie Darr Young Artist Scholarship competition on Saturday, February 11, 2017. This year’s winner, Michael Ntwa, received a $500 scholarship to be used for private voice lessons. Mr. Ntwa, a student at Irmo High School, who performed works by Vaughn Williams and Schubert. He has sung in choirs since a young age, including the prestigious Vienna Boys Choir, and currently sings with the Trinity Choir and the Irmo High School Chorus. Dr. Elizabeth Mears, the director of the Columbia Choral Society, Dr. Lillian Quackenbush, professor emeritus of Columbia College, and Dr. Diana Amos, professor at Columbia College, served as the jury for the competition.
In addition to the scholarship, Mr. Ntwa performed at the Columbia Choral Society’s spring concert on March 26, 2017 at the Washington Street United Methodist Church in Columbia. This concert also featured singers and musicians from Ridge View and Richland North East High Schools.