Home Performing arts Neshaminy Valley Music Theater Awards Scholarships for Graduates of Class of 2021 | Way of life

Neshaminy Valley Music Theater Awards Scholarships for Graduates of Class of 2021 | Way of life

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TOWNSHIP OF MIDDLETOWN >> The Neshaminy Valley Music Theater has awarded scholarships totaling $ 4,000 to four recent graduates of Neshaminy High School who plan to study performing arts at the college this fall. The four recipients of the 2021 class are Kate Bilenko, Grace McKenna and Yasmine Nicolas, all of Langhorne, and Cody Lewandowski of Feasterville.

Neshaminy Valley Music Theater (NVMT) is a non-profit scholarship organization offering competitive scholarships since its founding in 1956 to graduate students of the Neshaminy School District and planning to study fine or performing arts at the university. The organization puts on an annual musical, the proceeds of which go into a scholarship fund. Generous donors have also helped build the fund. To date, NVMT has awarded more than $ 160,000 in scholarships to nearly 200 students.

The organization’s latest production, Annie, was scheduled to premiere in spring 2020 at the Neshaminy High School auditorium. However, just weeks before opening, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the closure of high school facilities and production. COVID-19 restrictions have again prevented production from being staged in 2021.

While the show, and its anticipated proceeds that would be added to the scholarship fund, were canceled, the NVMT Board of Directors decided not only to award scholarships to graduate students in 2020, but also to continue this tradition in 2021 to support the next generation. artists. The organization now hopes to introduce Annie in the spring of 2022.

“The NVMT Scholarship Program has been one of the most positive and rewarding forces behind the success of our theater company for over half a century,” said Tom Urquhart, President of the organization. “While we strive for excellence in our theatrical productions, it is always with the aim of providing funds for our scholarships to support deserving young people like these in their quest to achieve their dreams. We are very proud of our recipients and really happy to have been able to help them!

The NVMT scholarships were announced at the Neshaminy Senior Class 2021 Awards Party held on May 27.

Kate Bilenko received support from NVMT through the Evelyn McLean Memorial Scholarship Fund, named after the founder of the Music Theater. Bilenko will be participating in the Theater Arts program at Rider University in the fall. Her career goal is to be a professional performer and one day appear on Broadway. Bilenko is a recipient of a Vocal Merit Scholarship at Settlement Music School and was named Outstanding Vocalist at Temple University’s 2020 Ellington Jazz Festival. She trained in singing, comedy, ballet, tap dance, modern dance and jazz; plays the piano, saxophone and guitar; and, in addition to English, speaks Russian and Spanish. She has performed in featured roles at the Kelsey Theater, Barn Playhouse, Village Playbox, and Rethink Theatrical, as well as Neshaminy High School and Neshaminy Summer Stock.

Cody Lewandowski and Yasmine Nicolas received support from NVMT through the Dotti Gelenberg Memorial Fellowship.

Lewandowski will go to Coastal Carolina University to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater. His career goal is to perform professionally as an actor and singer once he graduates. In addition to maintaining academic success, Lewandowski was active in the Neshaminy High School Drama Club, Select Choir, Gym Night, Concert Choir and Men’s Choir, and was a member of the Roadies, a select group of students. in high school theater. He was also vice president of the school’s drama troupe and participated in Counterparts in Hope, an organization that benefits members of the theater community who have been put on leave due to the pandemic.

Planning a major in music education, Nicolas will attend Valley Forge University in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Singer and actress, she is passionate about music and has performed in many musicals and plays. Her goal is to have a positive impact on the lives of others through music and teaching and to help her future students by improving their skills and motivating them to pursue their dreams. After completing her college education, she would like to teach in an urban setting catering to students representing diverse culture, national origin, race and beliefs. She achieved the Distinguished Honor Role designation in each grading period while in Neshaminy High School and continued to challenge herself by selecting rigorous academic courses. Her extracurricular activities include participating in the Friends Helping Friends Club, an anti-bullying group that promotes acceptance and inclusion.

Grace McKenna received support from NVMT through the Joseph J. McGlade Memorial Scholarship Fund. She is enrolled in Rider University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theater program, with a minor in management of the arts and entertainment industries, with the intention of entering the field as a performer after l ‘university. McKenna was active in the drama program at Neshaminy High School for three years, was chairman of the Neshaminy High Drama Troupe, and was a student officer for the Pennsylvania Thespian Board. Like Lewandowski, she was a member of the High School Roadies and participated in several community service activities, including Counterparts in Hope.

Given the lack of ticket revenue over the past two seasons due to the pandemic and Annie’s production delay, as well as the commitment to continue providing scholarships, NVMT has set up a campaign GoFundMe to support the scholarship fund. Those interested in supporting theater scholarships can donate at https://gofund.me/6189bc10. Alternatively, checks made payable to Neshaminy Valley Music Theater can be mailed to PO Box 131, Langhorne, PA 19047.

NVMT has received national recognition for its annual productions, including 32 nominations and seven wins from the International Music and Entertainment Association in categories such as Outstanding Performer, Outstanding Director and Outstanding Stage Design. All participants on stage and backstage are volunteers.

The 2022 scholarship application process, open to graduates of Neshaminy High School, will be available next spring.

Information on Annie’s rescheduled production will hopefully be announced in the fall. Customers with tickets for canceled performances can use these tickets for rescheduled performances next spring.

For more information on the Neshaminy Valley Music Theater and its scholarship program, visit nvmt.org, email [email protected], or call 215-860-1584.

The Neshaminy Valley Music Theater was established in 1956 as a non-profit scholarship organization presenting a spectacular Broadway-style musical performance every spring at Neshaminy High School. Over the past 65 years, more than $ 160,000 in scholarships have been awarded to nearly 200 talented local high school students planning to continue their education in fine or performing arts.

The group of lay volunteers pride themselves on producing professional-level musicals and serving the community through their scholarship program. NVMT invites all interested community members to join them in a fun and rewarding experience. Whether you enjoy singing, dancing or acting, there are many ways to participate in this vibrant community theater. The group is also always on the lookout for artists and craftspeople to build sets, paint sets, make costumes and contribute to our award-winning stage design. All ages and experience levels are welcome. Even a total novice will find this a great way to meet people and test their secret dream of “being a star”.

For more information on the upcoming production, call (215) 860-1584, email [email protected] or visit www.nvmt.org.


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