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OPAS Announces Five College Performing Arts Scholarship Winners, Reaffirming Their Commitment to Arts Education

The Oconee Performing Arts Society (OPAS) is proud to announce its five college performing arts scholarship recipients, further solidifying its dedication to fostering arts education and supporting the next generation of artists. These scholarships are designed to provide financial assistance to talented students pursuing higher education in the performing arts, ensuring that financial barriers do not hinder their creative aspirations.

The scholarships were open to high school seniors and current college students from Greene County and surrounding areas who demonstrate exceptional talent and commitment in music, theater, dance, or related performing arts disciplines. Each scholarship recipient receives the funds to support their educational journey, helping to cover tuition, fees, and other related expenses.

"At OPAS, we believe in the transformative power of the arts and the importance of nurturing young talent," said Doug LaBrecque, Artistic Director at OPAS. "These scholarships are a testament to our ongoing commitment to arts education and our dedication to helping students achieve their dreams."

Applicants were evaluated based on their artistic achievements, academic performance, and personal statements outlining their passion for the arts and future goals. 

Congratulations to this year’s recipients:

Lylli Anne Flanders is the recipient of the OPAS Carolyn Fears Memorial Scholarship.  A former OPAS Community Youth Chorus member active in local theater and college productions, she is a junior at Columbus State University working toward a BFA in Theatre. ”I feel most at home when I am on stage making people smile, laugh or cry.” 

Bobby Boone is a junior at Kennesaw State University studying Music Education and Trumpet Performance. He participated in the OPAS Lesson Bank Program, which pairs young musicians with world-class faculty in a virtual environment. Bobby prepared for college with lessons from Wesley Nance, trumpeter for the Rochester Philharmonic and a highly regarded faculty member at the famed Eastman School of Music. “I appreciate all of the support and extended opportunities that I would have never had without this organization.”

Helen Garcia-Carreras is a Georgia College and State University senior studying Theater with a minor in Dance. Helen has appeared in numerous plays and musicals and was recently awarded Best Performance in a Supporting role for “Belle” in Disenchanted. A former member of the OPAS Community Youth Chorus, Helen is very active in our community as a teacher and choreographer.  “I would love to be a proponent of creating local paid opportunities for young artists like myself, especially for Milledgeville, Macon, and Athens Schools.”

Elisa Garcia-Carreras continues her studies and is working toward a Bachelor of Music at the College of Arts and Science at The University of Georgia. A former OPAS Community Youth Chorus member, Elisa was selected for the Georgia Thespian All-State Theatre troupe for three years in a row.  She participates in and has directed many community theatre productions with The Arts Barn, where she serves as a ukulele/guitar instructor, clogging teacher, and camp leader.  “I aim to improve my vocal abilities. This will improve my ability to work and create quality music with my clients as a music therapist in the future.”

Marielle Peguero Polanco moved to Eatonton in 2016 from the Dominican Republic with limited command of the English Language. Marielle continues her studies with OPAS Lesson Bank Faculty member Lisa Vroman(Christine in The Phantom of The Opera). She was a part of the GA All-State Chorus, the All-National Choir, and the 2023 All-State Singer Award.  Marielle has a 4.0 and will soon begin her first year of college studying Opera and Voice Performance at Berry College. “A career in this field is exactly what I refer to when I talk about fulfilling the dreams of that little girl from the Dominican Republic.”

OPAS  is a vibrant cultural hub that enriches the community through its commitment to the performing arts and comprehensive arts education programs. Established to foster creativity, OPAS has become a cornerstone of cultural life in Lake Country and heartily congratulates these five deserving scholars.

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