Skip to main content

OTSL Unveils Milestone 50th Season in 2025!  ⭐   Read Full Announcement

Blog Post: Oct 14, 2021

OTSL Announces Second Class of Clayco Future Leaders Fellowship

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis announced today the second class of the Clayco Future Leaders Fellowship. This innovative program is designed to cultivate future leaders in arts administration who come from historically underrepresented backgrounds, particularly those who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. The class, which will join OTSL beginning October 18, includes Kiandra Mays (Artistic Fellow), Andréa Ochoa (Advancement Fellow), and Aaron Walker (Administration Fellow).

“OTSL is thrilled to be building on the success of the first year of this compelling program,” said Andrew Jorgensen. “Our company is known for preparing young singers to succeed on the world’s largest stages, and it’s vitally important that we take a holistic approach to identifying and nurturing talent in all aspects of opera, including young arts administrators. Kiandra, Andréa, and Aaron are fantastic talents in our field, and we can’t wait for them to join the OTSL team. We look forward to working with them as they further their careers, and are excited about their future contributions to the field of opera.”

The Clayco Future Leaders Fellowship provides in-depth work experience to strengthen the skills, knowledge, and capabilities that make careers in the arts possible. Building on their experience at OTSL, the inaugural class of Clayco Fellows have progressed into roles at prominent opera houses and music festivals. Lyanne Alverado, Administration Fellow, is now the Artistic Services Coordinator at the Houston Grand Opera. Artistic Fellow Chandler Johnson went on to serve at the Santa Fe Opera as an Artistic Intern and is currently the Artistic Programs Coordinator at the LA Opera. Quentin Beverly, Advancement Fellow, will graduate from his Master of Arts Administration program at Indiana University next spring; in addition to his studies, he worked with the Ojai Music Festival and also continues at OTSL as the Institutional Giving Assistant.

The second year of the Fellowship runs from October 18, 2021 through July 30, 2022. Over the course of the program, participants will serve in a full-time position specializing in one department while gaining hands-on experience in a range of essential functions across the organization. All Fellows will receive a full-time salary, benefits, transportation and relocation stipends, professional development, and networking opportunities. Each Fellow will also be mentored by another leader in the field, providing connection to the broader arts community. The Clayco Future Leaders Fellowship is possible thanks to a generous three-year commitment from Bob and Jane Clark and Clayco, the 2021 recipient of the Missouri Arts Award for Philanthropy.

“As we enter the second year of this initiative, Clayco is very excited to continue building on this important program with OTSL,” said Bob Clark, Founder of Clayco. “There’s a lack of BIPOC leaders in the arts, and this fellowship is taking steps to address that. We are incredibly encouraged by our first class of Fellows and their respective accomplishments. We extend a hearty St. Louis welcome to our second class of Kiandra, Andréa, and Aaron, and look forward to watching their success, as well.”

About Aaron Walker, Administration Fellow

Aaron Walker received his Master of Music degree in Voice and Opera Performance from Northwestern University, where he worked as a graduate assistant for voice pedagogy, voice lessons, lyric diction, and administration. His passion as an educator led to founding a private studio for voice and piano lessons. As a performer, Aaron made his professional debut in the U.S. premiere of the Welsh opera Blodwen (Rimrock Opera Foundation/NOVA), covering the role of Hywel Ddu while singing the roles of Negesydd, Mynach, and Blaenwr.

About Andréa Ochoa, Advancement Fellow

Andréa Ochoa is a graduate of New York University, where she received her Master of Music degree in Classical Voice Performance, and an Advanced Certificate in Vocal Pedagogy. Andréa is the founder of Building Voices of the Future, an online voice intensive for high school students, focused on cultivating well rounded and impactful artists. She is also the founder of Apple Tree Art Song Initiative, a production company dedicated to providing opportunities for young artists, and bringing classical singing to where it hasn’t been before.

About Kiandra Mays, Artistic Fellow

Kiandra Mays received her Bachelor of Arts in Vocal Performance from Florida Atlantic University, where she served as treasurer, historian, and house relations liaison for the Business Professional Women’s Scholarship, and was an active member of the Women’s Vocal Arts Organization. She has interned with Mind&Melody, a music therapy program that transforms the lives of people experiencing neurological impairments through music. There, she created lesson plans to build patients’ communication, mobility, and awareness. As a performing artist, Kiandra has performed with Studio LIS’ Quarantine Sing!