Previously known as The Burnt Hills Oratorio Society
The Power of Singing

The Burnt Hills Oratorio Society (BHOS) hosted its 20th Annual Vocal Scholarship competition at the Saratoga Springs Public Library on March 4th.   Seniors from high schools across the Greater Capital Region had been invited to compete.  Of the six applicants performing selections from the standard song repertoire, Marissa Scotti from Guilderland High School and runner-up Alicia Esposito of Burnt Hills/Ballston Lake High School won $900 and $600 scholarships respectively.  Both of these young women plan to pursue careers in music.  They have taken voice lessons with area teachers Rae Jean Teeter, Corine Salon, and Lesley O’Donnell.

A participant in her high school Chamber Choir and the Tri-M Honors Music Society, Ms. Scotti has sung Maria in “West Side Story” in CR Kids Production at The Egg and, among many other honors, scored first place in the Novice Division of the Mendelssohn Classical Singers’ competition.  In addition, she has sung in the NAFME All-Nationals Mixed Chorus and the NATS Art Song Festival at the University at Albany.  Ms. Scotti is interested in studying music in a cross-disciplinary fashion in college with an eye toward taking music to “areas where musical studies may not be within the budget.”

Ms. Esposito, a member of the National Honor Society, has participated in the 2016 NYSSMA Conference All-State, World Strides Heritage Camp, and Select Jazz Choir, among other entities, and served as president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.  She is active in Community Theater and in her school’s drama club, having been secretary in her junior year.  She will pursue her goal in college to become a music educator and music therapist.

Jurors for the awards were Anne Derrick. Philip Spaeth, and Karen Amedio.  Ms. Derrick is a member of the Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa High School Fine Arts (music) faculty, who has prepared her school choirs to participate in community activities (e.g. the Victorian Stroll, Festival of Trees) and has helped many students get into All County, Suburban Council, Area All State, NYSSMA solo, and All State Festivals.  

A graduate of the Crane School of Music, Mr. Spaeth is Director of Music Ministry at the Church of St. Peter in Saratoga Springs and also the Artistic Director of the Festival Celebration Choir in Albany.  He serves the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany as a member of the Music Subcommittee and the Diocesan Liturgical Commission.   A member of the American Guild of Organists and composer of many hymns, Mr. Spaeth also offers private piano instruction.

Karen Amedio is a retired music teacher from Shaker High School in Latham, greatly appreciated by her choral music students, who maintains a private voice studio in Latham.   

Funded as a component of the organization’s operating budget, the Vocal Scholarship Program is fundamental to BHOS’s community outreach endeavors.   BHOS is working to extend the reach of this competition within the Capital Region.