In early March, Starlight and talented students from across the metro were preparing for our annual Vincent Legacy Scholarship auditions. Starlight community engagement staff had just hosted a successful pre-audition workshop, and the prospective scholars were eager to show off their skills on audition day. Then came the pandemic and, with local leaders restricting in-person events and in consideration of the safety of our young applicants, Starlight made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s auditions.
Though we were not able to award scholarships in our traditional fashion, Starlight and the Vincent Legacy Foundation agreed these young performers deserved to have access to quality performing arts training in an alternative format. So, with the help of Starlight administrators and the support of benefactors Greg and Rebecca Reid, the Vincent Legacy Program Workshop Series was launched!
In July, Starlight invited our 2020 applicants to come together for a five-part workshop series to explore multiple art forms including acting, singing and dance. Students have since completed two of the workshops via Zoom and worked with some fantastic professional teaching artists, including:
Jackie Price, who holds a BFA in musical theatre from the University of Central Missouri and has performed throughout Kansas City with theatre companies including Spinning Tree Theatre, The Coterie and The Black Repertory Theatre of Kansas City.
Maria Gnoza, who is a senior at Drake University and Starlight’s community engagement intern in summer 2020. Maria studies writing and theatre-acting and is very involved in the local comedy/theatre scene. With four years of improv training, Maria has performed with Comedy City (Kansas City), Last Action Gyros (Des Moines) and D+ Improv (Des Moines).
Bryson Bruce, who hails from Kansas City and received a BA in theater from the University of Missouri before moving to New York and taking feature roles as Mr. Jefferson in the 20th Anniversary Tour of RENT and as Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson in the national tour of Hamilton.
Two current Vincent Legacy Scholars – Breana Smith and Tahraji Milsap – also lent their time and talent as teaching assistants to the above guest instructors.
Starlight looks forward to continuing this series through November, with vocal and dance workshops up next. Then, public health and safety conditions allowing, we will welcome our student participants back to audition for 2021’s Vincent Legacy Scholarships.