2019 Scholarship Winner – Easton Fiser
The Vancouver USA Singers (now Vancouver Master Chorale) has awarded the 2019 Youth Scholarship to 17-year-old Easton Fiser, a senior at Parkrose High School and a resident of Portland, Oregon. Easton and his fantastic accompanist Andrea Llafet will be performing at the VMC concerts in June, performing “The Vagabond” by Ralph Vaughan Williams and “Neverland” from the musical Finding Neverland by Elliot Kennedy and Gary Barlow.
Easton, the son of Christopher Fiser and Leanne Upton, has been involved in music and theater almost all his life, save for the times his older brother had the limelight onstage! Even then, he looked on in admiration for the talents that his brother possessed, and was inspired to pursue music and theater much further in high school. Easton has decided to officially take up music as his career and will be studying Music and Music Education in the fall of 2019 at Oregon State University.
In his four years of singing in choir at Parkrose High School, Easton has had numerous opportunities to audition and sing with the All State and All Northwest choir ensembles and had gained an even greater appreciation for music because of it. At Parkrose he is the baritone section leader for the A Capella choir, and sings in the Debonaires small mixed ensemble.
Easton began studying voice with the wonderful Laura Beckel Thoreson in the Spring of 2018 and he could not be happier with the results of his and her efforts. He was given “Neverland” and “The Vagabond” when he first started his lessons, and has kept them in his repertoire ever since. Ms. Thoreson has had a huge impact on his singing ability, and without her help he wouldn’t be in the position to receive such an award as the 2019 Youth Scholarship.
Easton’s achievements include multiple appearances in the theatre department at Parkrose, one of which being his performance in the recent production of the musical Willy Wonka where he played the title role. His love for performing inspired him to become the president of the Parkrose Thespian society and lobby for improvement of the theatre program overall. Recently, Easton competed at the district level in Solo & Ensemble contest for baritone voice and won second place, leading him to the Oregon finals where he eventually placed third in the state. He is quite proud of this and is looking forward to sharing his happiness and appreciation for music with as many people as possible.
2018 Scholarship Winner – Olivia Alfson
Vancouver native and daughter of Christopher and Rachel Alfson, Olivia Alfson has been named the 2018 Vancouver USA Singers (now Vancouver Master Chorale) Youth Scholarship Winner. She, along with her amazing accompanist Joel Thoreson, will be appearing at the VUSAS June concerts, singing “Burn” from Hamilton.
Olivia, a senior at Evergreen High School, has been involved with the arts for most of her life, and has recently decided to make her career teaching and making music. In 2016, she began private vocal lessons with one of her biggest supporters, Laura Beckel Thoreson. Mrs. Thoreson has assisted and encouraged Olivia to expand her vocal range as well as vocal technique and dramatic abilities.
In 2017 Olivia asked Mrs. Thoreson if she would be able to sing “Burn”, Mrs. Thoreson made Olivia work towards performing this piece by improving her vocal techniques and improving her classical capabilities before being able to perform “Burn”. Ms. Alfson has worked on “Burn” for a year before letting the public see her interpretation of this song, she is proud and excited of her work and wants everyone to be able to see this performance.
Recent musical accomplishments include being awarded President of Evergreen Choirs, serving as director of Evergreens select women’s ensemble group, and placing 3rd in the Musical Theater NATS Competition.This spring, she will play the title role in Evergreen’s musical, “Mary Poppins”. She has been accepted into Portland State University School of Music, where she plans to major in Music Education and minor in Vocal Performance. Olivia’s biggest joy in being involved in the arts is allowing her audience to feel the emotions she portrays. She is ecstatic to further share the beauty of music with her community.
2017 Scholarship Winner – Brooke Moltrum
The Vancouver USA Singers (now Vancouver Master Chorale) have awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Brooke Moltrum, an 18-year-old senior at Camas High School. Brooke, the daughter of Susie and Casey Moltrum, has performed as part of her school’s Select Vocal Ensemble for two years, and has been a member of the Camas Drama Department for four. During that time, she has participated in 11 productions, a record for the department.
In 2016, Brooke was awarded Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, for her portrayal of Fiona from Brigadoon at the 5th Avenue Musical Theatre Awards. The receipt of this award afforded her the chance to attend the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (better known as the Jimmy Awards) held in New York City, where she had the opportunity to perform on a Broadway stage. The experience solidified her desire to become a musical theater artist. After graduation this spring, she will be studying Musical Theater at one of two universities who have offered her generous scholarships. Ms. Moltrum says, “I have always been passionate about music. Along with many things in life, I believe that the voice is a gift. It can be used as a form of healing through song.”
Brooke performed before a panel of six judges to win the Vancouver USA Singers’ scholarship. Her selection, “I’m Not Afraid of Anything” by Jason Robert Brown, is from the abstract musical Songs for a New World. She describes the song as “dear to my heart.” Joel Thoreson accompanied her. Scholarship candidates submitted an audio recording of the piece they wished to present at the competition. The scholarship committee, chaired by Dr. Claire Smith, invited eleven finalists to compete. Brooke will perform her winning mezzo soprano solo during the Vancouver USA Singers’ upcoming concerts. All You Need Is Love will be held on Saturday, May 20th at 7:00 PM, and Sunday, May 21st at 3:00 at First Presbyterian Church, 4300 Main Street in Vancouver.
VUSAS plans to offer a similar scholarship during the 2017-2018 school year, and encourages high school students, music directors, and vocal music teachers to check their website in the fall for details. The scholarship program is an important part of the organization’s community outreach program.
2016 Scholarship Winner – Sunday Manisto-Saari
The Vancouver USA Singers (now Vancouver Master Chorale) have awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Sunday Manisto-Saari, a sixteen-year-old junior at Mountain View High School. Sunday sings there as a part of the Mountain View Concert Choir and Mountain Express Ensemble, conducted by Jenny Bell.
Ms. Manisto-Saari is the daughter of Steven Saari and Christie Manisto. The family has lived in Chicago, Minnesota, and now in Vancouver. Sunday has performed in several different musicals, including Peter Pan and The Music Man. She took first place in her age bracket in the amateur vocal competition at the Minnesota State Fair in 2014. This past October, she won the vocal competition in her bracket at the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Cascade Chapter Musical Theater competition. She participated in the All State Choir this spring, and is currently working with musician and engineer, Dylan Nau, from Minneapolis, Minnesota. They are producing a three-song demo of original R & B songs that Nau and Sunday’s father wrote together.
Sunday performed “Disneyland” by Marvin Hamlisch, from the musical “Smile”, before a panel of six judges to win the Vancouver USA Singers scholarship. Cinda Redman accompanied her. Sunday will perform her soprano solo during the Vancouver Singers’ upcoming concerts. The “From the British Isles” performances will be held on Saturday, March 12th at 7:00 PM, and Sunday, March 13th at 3:00 at First Presbyterian Church, 4300 Main Street in Vancouver.
Congratulations Sunday Manisto-Saari!!
2015 Scholarship Winner – Hadara (Haddi) Meyer
The 2015 Vancouver USA Singers (now Vancouver Master Chorale) High School Scholarship winner is soprano Hadara (Haddi) Meyer. She performed “Stizzoso, mio stizzoso” by Pergolesi before a panel of 6 judges from Vancouver USA Singers. She will be a guest performer at our March concert and receive our $1000 scholarship.
Haddi Meyer is a seventeen year old senior at Mountain View High School, and sings there as a part of the Mountain Express Acapella Choir, as well as the Concert Choir under the tutelage of Jenny Bell. Under the fine teachings of Linda Appert, Haddi and her accompanist Cinda Redman recently took first place in District Solo and Ensemble, and are headed to State in late April. She aspires to become a prominent investigative journalist, and plans to minor in vocal performance. She would like to thank her parents Dave Meyer and Laurie Gaffen-Meyer for their love and support.
Congratulations Hadara (Haddi) Meyer!!
2014 Scholarship Winners – Michael Ash & Nicholas Stevens
Winner of one of the Vancouver USA Singers (now Vancouver Master Chorale) High School Scholarships for 2014 is Michael Ash,18, a Senior at Columbia River High School. He has been actively involved in school choirs since the third grade. He also participates in the Clark College Chorale Choir.
Michael studies voice with April Duvic and has participated in several master classes, NATS competitions,classical singers and solo ensemble competitions. He can be seen often singing the National Anthem at sporting events, school assemblies and the Clark County Fair. He recently won the Tenor division at SW WA area district solo ensemble competition, and will compete at the State Solo Ensemble competition in Ellensburg, WA in April. He will be starting college in the Fall and will major in music education /vocal performance. Michael has always had a passion for music and is always eager to learn more.
Nicholas is a senior at Washougal High School. He has been singing since his freshman year and has taken lessons ever since then. He has played bassoon for nearly six years in band class.
Currently in the school choir and the Pacific Youth Choir in Portland, he is frequently a part of the Clark College Chorale as well. Nicholas is heavily involved with the Clark County Youth Commission, his school’s Spanish and Philosophy clubs, and much more.
Nicholas plans on getting a vocal performance major in college – he will be attending Pacific Lutheran University. He aspires to be an opera singer and is trying his best to achieve his dreams.