Meet the 2022/2023 ENSIGN-DARLING NEW VOICES ARTISTS
Arthur Cao he/him/his
Arthur is a senior at Glastonbury High School in Glastonbury, CT and is thrilled to be singing with Ensign-Darling New Voices for the first time! He takes voice lessons with Daniel Brevik and viola lessons with Michael Wheeler at the Hartt Community Division. Arthur has sung in the CT Eastern Region, CT All-State, and All-National choirs. In addition, he is a member of the Connecticut Youth Symphony. Furthermore, he is actively involved in his high school’s choral groups and drama performances. As of now, he seeks to study some mix of music and liberal arts in college.
AZAYDA is a Senior at Terryville High School with aspirations in performing arts post graduate. Her past experiences include performances within the Plymouth School District, Seven Angels Theatre of Waterbury and Landmark Community Theatre of Thomaston. Past credits include Landmark Community Theatre’s Love, Sex, and the IRS (CONNIE/ASM), Les Miserables (ENJOLRAS), Terryville High School Drama Club’s The Wizard of Oz (GLINDA), Murder on the Orient Express (MARY DEBENHAM), Alice and Wonderland (MAD HATTER), and New England’s Premiere of The Imaginary Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe (ARTHUR GORGON PYM/PLAYER 3). Azayda is honored to expand her experience and strengthen her abilities in this program. Azayda is a private student of Dr. Susan Mardinly.
Emily Kowalski she/her/hers
Emily Kowalski is a Junior at Cromwell High School where she is heavily involved in the choral, theater, soccer, and track programs. She is a soprano who enjoys performing classical and musical theater material and has studied privately for 9 years, currently studying with Richard F. Donohue. She has made the Connecticut All-State Chorus twice and was a member of the New England Chamber Choir trebles for 7 years. Emily has performed in numerous school and community productions including Into the Woods, Frozen and The Wedding Singer. This past year, she has attended the Broadway Evolved masterclass in New York City. Emily hopes to pursue a career in musical theater.
Sebastian Gates-Graceson he/him/his
Sebastian Gates-Graceson is a 16 year old junior at East Lyme High School. He was a part of the Ensign Darling New Voices last year and is so happy to be back. Since starting to study music last year through the EDNV program, Sebastian has been in multiple shows including musicals, cabarets, and originating a role in a professional show. Sebastian would like to thank his family and friends and all who supported him in his journey and he can’t wait to see where performing will take him in the future. Sebastian studies private voice with Brian Cheney.
Lillian Peng she/her/hers
Lillian Peng is a junior from Avon High School and so excited to be joining this year’s Ensign Darling Vocal Fellowship! A member of her school’s improv club, theatre department, orchestra, honors choir, and acapella group, Lillian loves to share music with the world. Additionally, she’s lucky to serve as a co-vice president of Music Service Society and the Board of Education Liaison for her junior class. She studies classical voice and was most recently awarded First Place at the Hartt School of Music Honors Competition (Vocal Department). Lillian is a student of Dr. Susan Mardinly.
Luca Miner, Soprano he/him/his
Luca is a senior at Glastonbury High School where he sings in four choirs under the direction of Dr. Ethan Nash. Luca studies private voice with Daniel Brevik through the Hartt School Community Division. Luca is a HALO award winner for best actor and a Music Club of Hartford scholarship recipient. Highlights of his performing career are the roles of Winnifred in Once Upon a Mattress, Mrs. Wormwood in Matilda and The Dragon in Shrek.
Tatum Independence Roche she/her/hers
Tatum is 15 years old and lives in Redding, CT. Tatum has been participating in youth musical theater since she was in elementary school. In recent years, she has performed with ERA Productions in Bethel, CT. She played the roles of Linda in The Wedding Singer, Margo in Bright Star, Race in Newsies, and Rapunzel in Into the Woods. Tatum has studied private voice with Jeanine Pardey Levine at the Hartt School for the past two years. Tatum attends high school at the innovative and community-centered microschool, Education Without Walls in New Milford, CT. Outside of her theater passions, Tatum has a budding interest in government, law, and activism. She was the recipient of the First in School Award at Education Without Walls last year–the first freshman to win this award–celebrating her leadership, academics, strength of character, and peer support.
Jude Reagan he/him/his
Jude Reagan is a senior at Tolland High School and studies voice with Rochelle Bard. At school, he participates in the audition-only chamber choir. Beyond, he has been participating in the Eastern Regionals Music Festival for six years, and has been very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the All-State Music Festival and the All-National Honors Ensemble. With this being his second year with EDNV, he looks forward to seeing all the wonderful places music will take him!
Stephanie Parra she/they
Stephanie Parra is a 17 year old aspiring singer and actress. She has been singing for more than 15 years and looks to pursue a career in fine arts. Stephanie has performed in over 40 different concerts and musicals, singing both solos and in a choir. She wishes to better herself in all ways possible and this program will help achieve that. As her favorite quote says, “Everyone deserves the chance to fly” – it's now Stephanie’s time. Stephanie currently studies privately with Dorothy Barnhardt and Ariana Valdes.
Brooklyn Vega she/her/hers
Brooklyn Vega is 17 years old and currently attends Enfield High School. She is very honored to have been accepted into the Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship Program and can’t wait to work with all the others and grow as a singer during this time. Brooklyn won First Place in Hartford’s Got Talent under 18 division, and most recently placed second in HGT’s semi-finals Emerging artists category. Brooklyn currently studies privately with Daniel Brevik and Ariana Valdes.
Romario Hayden he/him/his
Romario Hayden is a 16 year old singer, songwriter and has been studying music and the performing arts since a young age. He has won many competitions in Jamaica for poetry pieces and singing. He recently moved to America and won first place in the under 18 division of the trials of Hartford’s Got Talent. Romario currently studies privately with Janelle Robinson and Ariana Valdes.
Benjamin Dollar he/him/his
Benjamin Dollar is a junior at Conard High School in West Hartford, where he participates in the choral and drama programs. He has experience with Italian, French, and German art song, as well as sacred choral music and Broadway repertoire. He is honored and excited to be part of the Ensign-Darling New Voices Fellowship.
The Ensign-Darling New Voices Program
The Ensign-Darling Vocal Fellowship Program presents Ensign-Darling New Voices! A young artist program for curious, open-minded, highly motivated and talented singers with strong points of view and stories to tell! EDNV meets performers “where they are” in their journey and encourages each individual to connect more deeply to the ways they self-identify in order to access their most expressive and authentic voices. The experiences of each artist will be unique and built to help them get the most out of the program.
In this inclusive and supportive environment built for exploration and growth, EDNV will guide a select group of young artists as they learn about their voices. The program includes complimentary:
private instruction, including vocal coaching and voice lessons
collaborative work with other young artists
mentorship opportunities with industry professionals
concert performances at The Bushnell during the Holiday and Spring 2023
The Ensign-Darling New Voices program will strive to provide a platform for innovative, transformative, and unique storytelling for creative vocalists interested in Musical Theatre, Classical/Opera, Pop/Rock, Hip-Hop/Rap, Jazz/R&B, Country, Gospel, Folk, Latin/International Music, Original Works and more!
MEET THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Newly appointed Artistic Director, Ariana Valdes, is an alumna of the very first EDVF class. Ms. Valdes, a performer with more than 15 years of professional experience, returns to The Bushnell after performing both nationally and internationally in touring Broadway and regional productions.
"As we work to shape the program to meet the needs of young artists in an ever-evolving industry, I look forward to continuing to build a creative, collaborative, and inclusive environment for exploration of artistry, storytelling, and music." - Ariana Valdes, Artistic Director, Ensign Darling New Voices
Become an Ensign-Darling New Voices Fellow
EDNV 2022-2023 Audition Requirements and Tips
► Please memorize and perform TWO - THREE CONTRASTING SONGS, which showcase range, musicality, personality, and the type of performer and storyteller you are! At least one piece should be in English.
► You may sing full songs, your own arrangement/work, or audition cuts, however your selections, should NOT exceed a total of 6 minutes.
► If singing an A Capella selection, your second piece must use accompaniment. Singer/Songwriters are encouraged to sing original work and/or accompany themselves as appropriate. A piano accompanist will be provided if you need one.
► We are interested in seeing innovative and unique ways of expressing yourself in your audition! You are encouraged to share additional talents which elevate your storytelling (i.e. dance, gymnastics, playing instruments, spoken word, ASL, poetry, monologues, stand-up comedy, original work and compositions, puppetry, visual arts, media arts, and/or any other imaginative ideas you may have). Detailed Audition Instructions and Check-in List will be sent once you submit your application successfully.
WHO SHOULD APPLY?
We want to get to know YOU! The Bushnell strongly encourages BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and performers of all ethnicities and gender identities, as well as those with disabilities, to submit for Ensign-Darling New Voices. OPEN TO AGES 15 – 19
All musical genres are encouraged, but not limited to: MUSICAL THEATRE, CLASSICAL/OPERA, POP/ROCK, HIP-HOP/RAP, JAZZ/R&B, CABARET, COUNTRY, GOSPEL, LATIN/INTERNATIONAL, TECHNO/ELECTRONIC, FOLK/INDIE, ORIGINAL COMPOSITIONS, AND BEYOND!
This application is closed and we are no longer accepting auditions. Please check back next year!