The Holland Community Opera Fellowship (HCOF) brings community-minded, entrepreneurial artists to live and work in Omaha.

Fellows serve as ambassadors of the company by bringing their artistic talents and resources to the table, partnering with experts in the community who are actively working to solve the most pressing challenges our neighbors are facing.

HCOF works collaboratively with community partners to co-create programming that helps individuals, organizations, and communities reach their goals, acting as creative and artistic servants to the community. Via this collaboration, Fellows work to impact social issues such as homelessness, accessibility and inclusion within disability services, immigration, early childhood education, and more.

AS A FELLOWSHIP WE

BUILD relationships and engage in collaboration with community partners
EMPOWER individuals to explore their own creativity through the many facets of opera including music, visual art, design, and storytelling
COLLABORATE to identify priority issues and programming that amplify and support the mission of community partners
CREATE opportunities for safe expression, including a full range of emotions
INSPIRE and cultivate a diverse, empathetic, and creative community in Omaha

BELIEFS

We can find different ways to engage both the artists and the community to expand the experience of opera

Collaboration is at the core of our work

Opera should be accessible to anyone and welcoming to everyone

HCOF partners are experts in their communities, and we rely on them to identify the needs of the people they serve

VALUES

Collaborative | Creative | Engaging | Expressive | Innovative | Respectful | Responsive | Transformational | Pride in Service

Download HCOF Flyer

Community Partners & Programming

We bring our artistic talents and resources to the table to partner with experts in the field who are actively working to solve the most pressing issues in our communities. We create responsive programming that acknowledges the specific strengths of each participating individual or community partner. Our partners are the experts in their communities and we rely on them to identify the needs or the people they serve.

"I am a firm believer in the Fellowship. Being at MICAH House in the beginning when this came to our agency, I asked, ‘How does Opera fit in our programming?’ I didn’t see the correlation. But it only took me a couple of weeks of seeing it and I’ve been a firm believer since. It has been a wonderful partnership."

—Angie Williams, MICAH House Program Director

"Opera is just like everything we do at Gotta Be Me – you experience it, feel it, be there in all the moments to get it – to let it touch you and become part of who you are. And then to make it your own. Throughout our time together the technical skills we have learned were evident and important. However, the most meaningful things to come from our partnership have been the changes in our crew as people, humans who are becoming who they want to be."

—Tiffiny Clifton, Gotta Be Me

Since 2018, HCOF has collaborated with Gotta Be Me on a variety of classes, workshops, and productions.

"Through music and art, I learned to channel my emotions. I felt very comfortable and safe and the workshops were very beneficial to me. I gained new ideas of how I can be creative. I am a little more artistic than I thought!"

— HCOF workshop participant

23/24 Programming Partners

Our 2023- 2024 Fellows

Taylor Adams

Taylor Adams (They/Them) is a theater director and designer from Omaha, NE who is passionate about making art within community. They have been a vocal advocate for Queer and Trans representation in all facets of life. In 2023, they were on American Theater Magazine's Podcast, “Theatrical Mustang” where they discussed their process and how to make theater safe for Trans & Gender Fluid individuals. Directing credits include Popularity Coach (The Rose Children's Theater), Ruthless! (Creighton University), In the Basement (GPTC). They won the Kennedy Center American Collegiate Theater Festival for Best Scenic Design for their work on Riot, Repeat (Creighton~Alpha Psi Omega). Other design credits include Bent (SNAP!), Across Rhodes (ShelterBelt), and Into the Woods (PLVCT).

Charisa Ramsey

Charisa Ramsey is a teaching artist, actor, director, and playwright. She has a Bachelors in Theatre Performance from the University of Nebraska - Kearney and a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Theatre Pedagogy from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. As a playwright she has had two of her one act plays produced at the annual First Flight Festival in Lincoln, NE. She has directed several productions in Southeastern Nebraska. Some favorite directing credits include assistant directing Annie at Omaha Community Playhouse and directing Dead Bird Play at Omaha Community Playhouse, Greetings! At Beatrice Community Players, and The Wave at The Angels Theatre Company. During her first year as a HCOF Fellow Charisa was able to further her passion for creating inclusive theatre as a co-creator and director with community partners Ollie Webb, Quality Living Inc, and Gotta Be Me. She has a background working with individuals with developmental disabilities, mental health, and substance abuse struggles, and is a proponent for making theatre inclusive and accessible for all.

Alejandra Sandoval-Montañez

Alejandra Sandoval-Montañez is a Mexican-American mezzo-soprano, educator, and social media creator. She recently completed her master’s degree in Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois under the instruction of bass-baritone Ricardo Herrera. Alejandra’s previous credits with Lyric Theatre at Illinois include Carnaval!, A Little Night Music (Mrs. Segstrom / Desiree Armfeldt understudy), and MET The Musical (Carpathia Dragos). Alejandra has also performed with the Gilbert and Sullivan Company of El Paso, with whom she has performed the roles of Edith in Pirates of Penzance, Lady Angela in Patience, and assisted as vocal director of El Paso’s production of H.M.S. Pinafore. In addition to her work on stage, Alejandra has combined her love for music, graphic design, and social media to create the Aspiring Opera Singers community: an Instagram/Facebook platform where she shares resources, inspiration, and interviews with leading opera professionals.

Community Panel

The panel represents a cross-section of the community including organizations, businesses, neighborhoods, and community groups. Those serving on the Community 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.

2023-2024 Community Panel

Ang Bennett, Inclusive Communities
Camtrice Bexten, NU Foundation
Tiffiny Clifton, Gotta Be Me
Geri Knight, RISE
Rachel Morgan, Nebraska Arts Council
Erin Painter, Learning Community Center of South Omaha
Rita Paskowitz, Storyteller
Alysia Radicia, RDG Design
Wildey Rodriguez, Intercultural Senior Center
Paula Wallace, Artist/Hot Shops
Angie Williams, MICAH House
Gwyn Williams, Independent Leadership Coach

Fellowship Alumni

Jazmin Salaberrios

2023
Jaime Marie Webb

2021-2023
Fernando Antonio Montejano

2019-2023
Jared Hiscock

2019-2022
Nicholas Davis

2020-2021
Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor

2019-2021
Kate Pomrenke

2018-2020
Jessica Johnson Brock

2017-2019
Chabrelle Williams

2017-2019

Holland Community Opera Fellowship Sponsors