Chautauqua Institution offers the exciting opportunity to live and learn among some of the greatest minds and artists of our time. Perhaps no one appreciates that more than the young musicians studying in the School of Music.
“This is my first summer at Chautauqua and it has been a breath of fresh air,” said Alexis Seminario, a voice student. “As a girl who comes from a very small town, I feel proud to say that I have grown my confidence from being (here).”
Seminario’s journey to Chautauqua may not have happened without the National Federation of Music Clubs. The NFMC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to music education and promoting creative and performing arts in the United States, awarded scholarships to Seminario and 12 other talented musicians. The scholarship recipients will perform at 3 p.m. Saturday in McKnight Hall as part of the Northeast Region of the NFMC’s 73rd meeting at Chautauqua.
Since its founding in 1898, the NFMC has become the largest nonprofit organization in America to promote and support music education across the nation. Through their efforts, students like Seminario and Kristina Brost are able to continue exploring the arts.
“It means so much to have been able to receive the NFMC award,” said Brost, a voice student. “It has allowed me to return this summer and work with my teacher, Marlena Malas, and the other remarkable coaches here.”
Brost said she’s happy to return to Chautauqua, a community that gives artists “a place to learn and grow.” In Saturday’s concert, Brost will perform two pieces by the English composer Roger Quilter. Brost said she chose the pieces because the poetry in them brings her to a magical place of love and summertime – “not too different from a place like Chautauqua.”
In addition to the student performance on Saturday, Nicholas Susi, the 2015 NFMC Young Artist winner in piano, will give a recital at 5 p.m. Sunday in Elizabeth S. Lenna Hall. According to Jeannine Morris, vice president of the Northeastern Region of the NFMC, there will also be 27 NFMC members attending this weekend’s celebration at the Institution. While here, they’ll partake in various Chautauqua programming — some, Morris said, will even sing with the choir on Sunday.
The encouragement and financial support the NFMC offers allows students to further the music education that plays such a crucial role in their professional and personal development.
“Music is just as much a necessity to my life as breathing,” Seminario said. “I love learning more and more everyday about my craft. … It feeds my soul.”