Congratulations to the 2024 CRESCENDO! Scholarship Winners:

(L-R) Lily Kinnison (SLU), 3rd place and winner of the Jack & Betty Swanson Scholarship; Rita Schien (UMSL), 2nd place and winner of the John F. Lesser Scholarship; and Anna Edwards (WebsterU), 1st place and winner of the John J. Prcic Memorial Scholarship; Scott Schoonover, Artistic Director

Discover CRESCENDO! 2024
University Artist Outreach

Union Avenue Opera is pleased to announce the ninth year of CRESCENDO! — a collegiate enrichment program designed for you, the student. This program is free and open to all voice students currently enrolled in an undergraduate program within 60 miles of St. Louis. 

CRESCENDO! was designed to provide motivated students the opportunity to hone their craft while working with UAO’s esteemed professionals. We believe St. Louis has a lot to offer singers and we want to reach out to local students and make their acquaintance. In addition, participants will compete for scholarships as well as paid positions in UAO’s 2024 productions of Bizet’s Carmen, and Verdi’s Aida.* 

Numerous participants of the CRESCENDO! Program have gained employment opportunities working behind the scenes at Union Avenue Opera. Students were hired to work in the box office, run supertitles, as well as perform in productions, all of which give them insight to a career in the performing arts.

CRESCENDO! will begin in January 2024 and conclude with a public recital on Sunday, March 5th. All events will take place at Union Avenue Opera [733 N. Union Blvd, STL 63108].

To take part in this opportunity, interested parties should complete the online Crescendo Application by January 20, 2024.

*More than one absence will result in the participant losing eligibility for scholarship and chorus positions.

Experience the 2024 CRESCENDO! Program

Friday, January 20 | Midnight
Application Deadline! Complete the online application: Crescendo Application

Sunday, January 28 | afternoon, times to be assigned
Crescendo baseline audition – Participants will present two arias/art songs of contrasting languages (program repertoire will be chosen from the student’s selections). There is a 5 minute maximum per selection.

Tuesday, February 6 | 7 pm – 9 pm
First Group Master Class — Participants will be assigned vocal coach and piece will be chosen.

Monday, February 12 | 7 pm – 9 pm
Diction Master Class — Participants will be divided by language.

Tuesday, February 20 or Wednesday, February 21 | 7 pm – 10 pm
Acting workshop

Saturday, February 24 | 10 am – noon
Audition 101 workshop

To be completed by February 28 
Individual coaching sessions with Crescendo staff (at a time and place mutually agreeable to student and coach)

Thursday, February 29 | 7 pm – 9 pm
Recital Run-through — Participants will have the opportunity to perform their pieces on the Union Avenue Opera stage and receive feedback from all the teachers.

Sunday, March 3 | 3 pm
Public Recital and Scholarship Presentation on the Union Avenue Opera Stage 

Meet the 2023 CRESCENDO! Staff

Program Coordinator
Debra Hillabrand

Voice Instructors
Karen Kanakis, St. Louis University
Jacob Lassetter, Webster University
Noel Prince, Washington University
Stephanie Tennill, St. Louis University

Vocal Coaches
Sandra Geary, Washington University
Nancy Mayo, Webster University
Jonathan Heany

Acting Workshop 
Annamaria Pileggi, Washington University

Audition 101 Workshop
Scott Schoonover, UAO Artistic Director
Debera Hillabrand

Questions?Email Program Coordinator, Debra Hillabrand, at

Sunday, March 3rd at 3:00 p.m.

Union Avenue Opera’s University Artist Outreach program, CRESCENDO! will present a FREE recital on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at 3:00 p.m. The recital is the culmination for participants in UAO’s CRESCENDO! program, a free, hands-on, performance-based training program developed to further the education of local artists still young in their careers as they prepare to join the St. Louis art community.

The recital is FREE and open to all ages. It will be held on the Union Avenue Opera stage at 733 North Union Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108. This is a non-ticketed event. Doors open 2:30 p.m.