Holland Community Opera Fellowship
The Holland Community Opera Fellowship is the centerpiece of Opera Omaha’s strategic vision for the future.
In today's world, the arts play a pivotal role in shaping our communities and the quality of life of our citizens. In service to the community, we are bringing opera into new environments illustrating and promoting the value of creativity in both the arts and non-arts sectors.
ENGAGES in meaningful dialogue with the community on issues and ideas of social relevance.
FULFILLS unmet needs in the community for arts experiences, education, and appreciation.
EMPOWERS communities through music and culture.
CREATES reciprocal relationships between Opera Omaha and different sectors and neighborhoods benefitting residents and communities.
EXPANDS Opera Omaha’s civic impact and relevancy to the community.
DIVERSIFIES and grows Opera Omaha’s impact through performance and social interactions.
Community Partners & Programming
We work collaboratively with community partners to co-create programming that helps individuals, organizations, and communities reach their goals. We know we can’t solve the most pressing issues in our community, like homelessness, income disparity, immigration, or segregation, but by working with partners who are the experts working on those issue areas we can bring our unique artistic resources to the table to help meet their goals together.
Some of these projects include Masterclasses with individuals from the Ollie Webb Center, supporting the Meerkat Melodies Choir at Nelson Mandela Elementary, Creativity Workshops at the Siena/Francis House and MICAH House, Healing Arts Concerts at the Buffet Cancer Center, supporting Gotta Be Me Heartlight Choir’s Original Rock Opera, just to name a few.
All our community partners are listed on our Community Partnership Page
The Holland Community Opera Fellowship brings community-minded, entrepreneurial artists to live and work in Omaha. Fellows serve as ambassadors of the company by developing relationships with community leaders and to design and implement unique projects combining artistry and musicianship, leadership, advocacy, and citizenship. As a two-year commitment with a staggered start, each year there are two new artists and two in their second year.
Our Current Fellows
Canadian soprano Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor holds an M.M. in Opera (University of Toronto) and a B.M. in Voice Performance (Western University) and is a first year Holland Community Opera Fellow. Recent performance highlights include originating the role of Nature in Cries of the Earth (Artsong Collaborative Project), Berta in The Barber of Seville (Indian River Festival, Stratford Summer Music), Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (Toronto Lyric Opera Centre / Toronto Mozart Players), and Soprano Soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (London Symphonia). Ms. Fairchild-Taylor has spent time as a Musician In Residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and is a four-time recipient of Government of Nunavut Culture & Heritage Grants in support of her music and drama programs in communities in the Arctic. She also wrote the curriculum for “Learn English Through Song,” a program in Toronto that facilitates language learning and community building for newcomer women through singing. She has also worked as a teaching artist and consulted on curriculum development for education programming at the Canadian Opera Company.
Baritone Jared Hiscock is a first year Holland Community Opera Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Mr. Hiscock will spend the summer performing Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Opera Orvieto in Città della Pieve, Italy, and Marquis de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites with Saltworks Opera in Cape Charles, VA. Mr. Hiscock spent the past two seasons doing educational outreach with the professional opera touring company Opera for the Young, performing Power House in the world premiere of Super Storm! and the Sea-King in Rusalka. Recent engagements include performances of Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, William Jennings Bryan in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Friedrich Bhaer in Little Women, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, and Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors with UNL Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni as a guest artist with the University of Kansas; and as the baritone soloist in works such as Carmina Burana and The Wound-Dresser by John Adams.
Second year Holland Community Opera Fellow Kate Pomrenke received her M.M. in Vocal Performance at Bowling Green State University and is also a graduate of Aurora University. Recently, Ms. Pomrenke was a district-winner of the Iowa Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and has performed in a variety of Opera Omaha events, including Opera Outdoors and ONE Festival events. Ms. Pomrenke has performed with BGSU Opera and Aurora University Opera, in roles such as Rose Maurrant in Street Scene, Célie in Signor Deluso, and Lola in Gallantry. She also performed with BGSU Choral Society, Defiance College Choral Union, Heidelberg University, and Saint James (Grosse Ile, MI) as the soprano soloist in a variety of concert works, including Mozart’s Vesperae Solennes de Confessore, Handel’s Messiah, Haydn’s Missa Brevis in F Major, Schubert’s Mass in C Major, and Stanford’s Magnificat. She also received 1st place in the Graduate Division of the annual Conrad Art Song Competition and 3rd place in The Marni Nixon International Vocal Competition.
Mezzo-soprano Kaitlin Zardetto is a native of Omaha, Nebraska, and first year Holland Community Opera Fellow. She earned her Master of Music degree from Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Music degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University. She has performed in several regional premieres including Christopher Theofanidis's The Cows of Apollo (Or the Invention of Music) with the Aspen Music Festival and Carlisle Floyd’s Prince of Players with Florida State University Opera. In 2017, she was a vocal fellow at Music Academy of the West, studied with and continues to be mentored by Marilyn Horne, and performed Stephen Hough’s Other Love Songs in collaboration with the composer. She has received multiple Metropolitan Opera National Council awards, and is a previous finalist for the Debra Voigt International Voice competition, as well as the renowned Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.
Community Artist Panel
The panel represents a cross-section of the community including organizations, businesses, neighborhoods, and community groups. Those serving on the Community Artist Panel develop a partnership with Opera Omaha to engage in meaningful conversations to identify community issues and program development and potential partners and opportunities across different neighborhoods and sectors. The panel considers high level strategic decisions and priorities, helping set the direction of the Fellowship and is a critical part of the Fellow selection process, With the panel, residents from neighborhoods across the greater Omaha metro area have a voice in choosing who and how artists interact with their diverse districts and constituent groups.
2019-2020 Community Artist Panel
Camtrice Bexten, NU Foundation
Colleen Heavican, UNMC Nebraska Medicine Healing Arts
Mike McGuire, ONEOmaha
Rachel Morgan, Nebraska Arts Council
Rita Paskowitz, Storyteller
Alysia Radicia, RDG Design
Paige Reitz, Union for Contemporary Art
Paula Wallace, Artist/Hot Shops
Merica Whitehall, Fontenelle Forest
Roberta Wilhelm, Girls, Inc.
Gwyn Williams, Collective for Youth
Nancy Williams, No More Empty Pots
Interested in becoming a Holland Community Opera Fellow?
Applications for 2020-2022 Holland Community Opera Fellows are now open!