Six Pattonville High School students were among 20 St. Louis-area high school students chosen through local auditions to participate in the Opera Theatre of St. Louis' highly selective Artists in Training (AIT) program.
Juniors Da'Shon Dunn, Kenedi Jenkins, Jahlil Johnson and Sarah Nelson, and seniors Hannah Radican and Alyssa Van Hooser were picked for the program while junior Javan Williams was selected as an alternate. Their choir teachers at Pattonville are Tracy Baker and Melynda Lamb.
Students selected for the program participate in weekly college-level voice lessons and coachings, take part in master classes with professional singers and teachers from around the country, perform in recitals, compete for $12,000 in scholarship funds and receive college guidance. Students also participate in retreats and college tours and attend opera and musical theater performances in the area.
Graduates of the AIT program who choose to continue vocal music studies receive continued support through advanced study scholarship opportunities. One goal of AIT is to identify students who will go on to further music study and perhaps a professional singing career, but the program has other goals as well, such as encouraging self-discovery, finding new means of expression, learning to set rigorous achievement standards, and rewarding disciplined commitment.