They may be young, but they are immensely talented.
A group of seven Savannah 11th- and 12th-graders have been enrolled in Team VOICE, which means they will participate in the SavannahVOICE Festival from Aug. 3-17.
The group of musicians and singers has been enrolled to ensure the younger generation is well represented during the festival. They will act as ambassadors not only by hosting guest artists and assisting audiences during the festival, but also through spreading the word about festival events through social media.
Members of the team are: David Deng, Tessa Morris, Liana Mosley, Katherine and Helen Savidge and Rachel Zettler from the Savannah Arts Academy and Regan Bowers from Savannah Country Day.
To prepare for the festival, some of the team members will participate as young artists in VOICExperience's youth intensive program at Disney World. Others will benefit from a one-day intensive teen workshop Aug. 10 at the festival.
Mosley is the beneficiary of a grant from the Savannah Friends of Music to attend the VOICExperience Disney program this summer.
"I am so grateful to the Savannah Friends of Music for this grant, which means that I can benefit from the amazing experience of working with maestro Sherrill Milnes and other opera stars," she says. "All of us on Team VOICE are so inspired by the fact that Savannah is going to have its own festival of song and so excited to be a part of it."
VOICExperience executive director Maria Zouves says VOICExperience's mission is to ensure the next generation can benefit from the best training possible to help them realize their dream of a career in the vocal arts.
"Our fundraising is geared toward providing scholarships for young people," she says. "It made sense to formalize the input students in Savannah have had into the development of the VOICE Festival, which is why I am delighted we now have 'Team VOICE' on board.
"The Savannah community has been generous in providing grants and helping us to establish this new cultural event. We are particularly grateful to the Savannah Friends of Music, who have just awarded us a grant for the second year in a row."
The funding will help keep the festival's education events free to the public and tickets for professional-level events at $15-$20, Zouves says.
"To help more students benefit from our programs, we are seeking sponsorship, donations and more people to join the VOICE Society," she says.
In addition to the Savannah Friends of Music, other local businesses and organizations that have made donations include the Westin Savannah Harbor, Visit Savannah, TLC Tourism, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Schneider Logistics, WJCL/WTGS, 88 Keys Piano and The Salt Table.
Concert and master class sponsorships are available for $1,500 and membership for the VOICE Society is $150 for individuals, $250 for couples and $300 for families.
Benefits include exclusive members-only events, the opportunity to buy tickets early for all future events, a bi-monthly newsletter and discounts with partner organizations, including the Westin and many downtown businesses, such as stores, spas and restaurants.
For information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 855-76-OPERA or go to www.savannahvoicefestival.org.