Meredith Arwady '00, Contralto
A member of the Hope College Class of 2000, and a native of Kalamazoo, Meredith double majored in Music and English. While at Hope she studied with Margaret Kennedy Dygas, and spent summers at Chautauqua, where she studied with Marlena Malas. As a Hope student she was a member of the swim team, appeared in musicals, sang in the Chapel Choir and appeared on the Devos Showcase and Concerto Aria concerts. She was a state and regional NATS winner. After graduating from Hope, she continued her study with Ms. Malas at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In 2002, Meredith was the winner of the Marian Anderson Prize for Emerging Classical Artists and a Sara Tucker Grant. In 2004 Meredith was the winner of the Metroplitan Opera National Council Auditions, and was the First Prize winner of the Licia Albanese/Puccini Competition. In 2005 she was awarded the Kirsten Flagstad Award, presented by the George London Foundation Competition for the singer with a promising Wagnerian career.
Isaac Droscha '09, Bass-Baritone
Isaac was brought up on a small farm in Mason, MI. He sang in the church choir and played trombone in the Mason High School band, but he had no formal musical training before he entered Hope. Once at Hope, however, he quickly made his mark as a vocal soloist and actor. He studied voice with Linda Dykstra and was a member of Chapel Choir. He sang the role of Papageno in the Opera Workshop performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute, and starred in Hope Theater productions. He received scholarships and awards for both voice and theater, and was twice a finalist in the Grand Rapids Opera Competition. He also played trombone in the Hope College Jazz Band, the Wind Symphony, and the Orchestra. After graduation from Hope, Isaac joined the ensemble of the Michigan Opera Theater in Detroit. He writes that his year there was a "tremendous experience" in which he was able to observe the level of talent in a repertoire company, the hard work required, and also the business side of opera. In the fall of 2009, Isaac entered the Master of Music program at the University of Northern Iowa, where he studied voice with John Hines. He completed his M.M. in May 2011, and spent the summer as an intern with the New Jersey Young Artists Program. He has received a fellowship to pursue a DMA in Opera at the University of Michigan in the fall of 2011. His long-term goal continues to be a career in opera performance.
Elizabeth Skaff '07 Jankowski , Mezzo-Soprano
Elizabeth (Libby Skaff) Jankowski, mezzo-soprano, is a native of Flint, Michigan. She graduated from Hope College in 2007 with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Music Education and Performance. During her time at Hope, Libby was a student of Linda Dykstra. She participated in several Opera Workshop productions and was a member and officer of the Chapel Choir. She received several awards at Hope including the Distinguished Artist Award, the Joyce M. Morrison and Grace M. Browning Voice Scholarships and the Roger Rietberg Chapel Choir Award. In February 2007, she was a finalist in the Opera Grand Rapids Collegiate Competition. After graduating from Hope College, Elizabeth studied voice with Elizabeth Cowan in Kalamazoo for 2 1⁄2 years. She was awarded 2nd place in the Michigan NATS competition in 2008. In 2010, she moved to Chicago and began a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance degree at North Park University. At North Park, Elizabeth studies voice with Karen Bauer and coaches with Nyela Basney. In the fall of 2010, she participated in a Masterclass with Ann Baltz, director of OperaWorks. She won first place in the North Park University Performance Awards competition in the spring of 2011 and also sang the leading role of Metatron in North Park’s production of The Masque of Angels by Dominick Argento. In the coming year, Elizabeth will be a featured soloist on the North Park University Choir’s spring tour, performing In the Beginning by Aaron Copland. She will also be singing in North Park’s spring opera, and in a production with DuPage Opera Theatre.
Meghan Moore '08, Soprano
A native of South Bend, Indiana, Meghan Moore studied with Linda Dykstra while at Hope, and graduated in 2008. She appeared as the Queen of the Night in the Opera Workshop scenes from Mozart’s Magic Flute, was a NATS winner and a finalist in the Grand Rapids Opera Collegiate Competition, and she appeared on the DeVos Showcase all four of her years at Hope. After graduation in 2008 she attended the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Catherine Malfitano. She received her M.M. in 2010, and is living in New York, pursuing a career in opera performance.
Briana Sosenheimer '10, Soprano
Briana Sosenheimer is a 2010 Hope College graduate. While at Hope she sang in Chapel Choir and performed in the Opera Workshop. She was a Distinguished Artist Award winner, and won awards at several state and regional NATS competitions: second place in the NATS Michigan Student Auditions (2009), and first place in the senior women’s category in the NATS Great Lakes Regional Competition in Ontario, Canada where she also won the Jessye Norman Award. Briana has been awarded multiple scholarships and awards: the Grace Marguerite Browning Scholarship (2009), Robert W. Cavanaugh Scholarship (2008), and the Mabel Nienhuis Award (2007). She has won performances in the Concerto/Aria competition affiliated with Hope College, was a finalist in the Grand Rapids Opera Competition (2009), and has been showcased in Devos Musical Showcase in downtown Grand Rapids. While at Hope, Briana studied with Margaret Kennedy Dygas and Linda Dykstra. Briana Sosenheimer is now in her second year at Bowling Green State University where she is pursuing a Master of Music in Vocal Performance degree. Last November she sang the title role in the Gilbert and Sullivan production Iolanthe, performed by Bowling Green State University Opera students, and she has just been cast as Susana in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. She is looking into DMA programs for next year. Her advice to Hope students is not to give up and to keep moving forward. Always remember the reason you are a musician... because you love it!
Crystal Stabenow '03, Mezzo-Soprano
Crystal received her Bachelor of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Hope College in 2003; she studied with Dr. Margaret Kennedy-Dygas and graduated Magna cum laude. She received her Master of Music Degree from Ohio State University, where her principal teachers included Eileen Davis and Dr. Robin Rice. She has performed in master classes for Ruth Drucker and the late Richard Miller. Throughout her studies Crystal performed major roles in numerous operas, from Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea at OSU to Southern Ohio Light Opera's production of The Gondoliers. Since 2005 she has been an active member of the Opera Columbus professional chorus, and also performed with their Education and Outreach program. As a soloist she has premiered works at the Port Clinton Performing Arts Festival, and particularly enjoys singing German Lied. She is now an Adjunct Instructor of Voice at Cedarville University.