Artists-in-Training Share

ait-1-wh5Established in 1990 and unique in the U.S., Monsanto’s Artists-in-Training Program sets out to identify, coach and encourage talented students from high schools across the St. Louis area with weekly voice lessons by opera professionals at one of the four area universities. The program also offers master classes with visiting artists, awards more than $25,000 annually in scholarships, and provides college guidance to high school graduates. By the end of this year more than 200 students will have completed the program; scholarship awards totaling more than $420,000  have been presented to current students and to “alumni” who continue vocal studies in college.  The program was one of 10 in the nation to be recognized by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities with the “Coming Up Taller” Award for success in serving at-risk youth.

 The ultimate goal of AIT is to identify students who will go on to further music study and perhaps a professional singing career, but the program has other goals as well, such as enhancing self-esteem, finding new means of expression, learning to set rigorous achievement standards and rewarding disciplined commitment.

Visiting artists have included:  Martina Arroyo, Christine Brewer, Jane Bunnel, Cynthia Clarey, Vinson Cole, Denyce Graves, Erie Mills, George Shirley, Steve Smith, Sylvia McNair and Barbara Smith Conrad.  Students attend events at venues including Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre, the St. Louis Repertory Theater and more. 

Artists-in-Training Spring Showcase Recital, featuring Vinson Cole, adjudicator

Sunday, April 19, 2015, 3:00 PM
Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd, 63108

The stakes have never been higher for twenty-three high school students in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ Monsanto Artists-in-Training program. This year-long vocal training program culminates in a showcase recital where outstanding young singers from area high schools compete for approximately $12,000 in scholarships. This year’s recital celebrates the 25th anniversary of the AIT program!

American tenor Vinson Cole is internationally recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation. His career has taken him to all of the major opera houses across the globe including the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, and Royal Opera House Covent Garden. Mr. Cole, a star performer in Opera Theatre’s very first opera season, will return to adjudicate the competition.

Join Opera Theatre for this free event and discover the stars of tomorrow at this inspiring concert. A free reception with these young singers follows the recital.

For more information on AIT, email

Special thanks to lead sponsor monsanto-fund-rgb