Will Friesen

Will Friesen

Vernon Performing Arts Centre announces 2018 bursary winners

Nine winners of $1,000 bursary

At the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre’s 17th Annual Birthday Bash celebration in September, Society president Sigrid-Ann Thors announced the nine 2018 Bursary winners to a sold-out audience of 750 patrons, sponsors and guests prior to the Society’s official SPOTLIGHT Season’s opening performance of Cirque Eloize’s Saloon.

The nine recipients of this year’s $1,000 bursaries are Nevada Christensen, Jacqueline Gignac, Sophia Friesen, Will Friesen, Julien Haynes, Ayari Kasukawa, Jaimesen Kerr and Lexus Pleasant all of Vernon, and Nelya McDowell of Coldstream. Families of this year’s recipients were invited to the performance and recognized by the audience with the announcement.

“We are very grateful to the patrons of the Performing Arts Centre who make our bursaries possible,” said Jim Harding, executive director. “We have accomplished theatre, dance and music school programs and academies here, which speaks to how important the performing arts are to our students in Greater Vernon. We want to encourage them with our Bursary Program to help explore and develop careers. This year, we received so many worthy applications with real financial need and we are happy to help and always wish we could do more. But we will certainly need the coming year and the continued generosity of our patrons and supporters to help rebuild our bursary fund resources for 2019.”

Each year, the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Society makes available bursaries to Vernon and area Grade 12 students entering a university, college, technical school, or a recognized apprenticeship program; as well as those current post-secondary students from the region majoring in Performing Arts or Performing Arts Management programs.

Bursaries are made possible by the generous donations of Performing Arts Centre patrons, from tips collected at the coat-check, bar and concession, as well as specified, tax-deductible donations and memorial gifts by sponsors and individual donors throughout the year. The number and amount of the Society’s bursaries depend on the quality and need expressed in applications and the tips and donations received over the preceding year. The Board of Directors’ Bursary Program Committee recommended setting bursaries at $1,000 for each student due to the high cost of post-secondary education programs. Students may receive a Performing Arts Centre bursary twice over their post-secondary career.

Related: 2017 bursaries announced

Related: Bursaries open

Christensen is completing her final year in bachelor’s of arts in English and Cultural Studies at UBCO and has been accepted into Rose Bruford’s Acting Course in London, England in Fall of 2019.

Gignac is a Contemporary Dance Major (second year) at SFU’s School for Contemporary Arts in Vancouver and plans to work as a director and choreographer.

Friesen is a bachelor’s of music (second year) student in Vocal Performance at the University of Victoria and plans to pursue a career onstage and to teach with her own studio.

Friesen is in the jazz studies — education stream (fourth year) at Capilano University in North Vancouver. He currently plays the drums in the rhythm section for NiteCap, Capilano’s top Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and in the pit band for musicals and for other groups and genres around the Lower Mainland. He plans to teach but continue playing whenever possible.

Haynes is a bachelor’s of music in violin performance (third year) student at the University of Victoria, with plans to complete his master’s degree at University of Toronto, form a chamber group or join a Canadian orchestra.

Kasukawa is a bachelor’s of Music (first year) student in Music Theory, Music History, Basic Musicianship, Saxophone, Wind Symphony at the University of Victoria with plans to be both a solo saxophonist and join a wind symphony.

Kerr is in the theatre diploma program (second year) at Douglas College, New Westminster, appearing in two productions in her final year, including Tales from Ovid, and three acting courses. She plans to audition and further her theatre training.

Pleasant is a bachelor’s of fine arts in Creative Performing Arts — Drama student (fourth year) at the University of Calgary with a focus on directing for stage and film.

Nelya McDowell is a bachelor’s of music (first year) student in Music Theory, Voice and Musicianship at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. After graduating, she wants to pursue a career in voice-over acting.

Application details for next year’s Bursary Program will be announced in the Spring of 2019.

For more information or to donate to the Bursary Program, contact the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre at 250-542-9355 or by email at theatre@ticketseller.ca.


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Jacqueline Gignac

Jacqueline Gignac

Nevada Christensen

Nevada Christensen

Nelya McDowell

Nelya McDowell

Lexus Pleasant

Lexus Pleasant

Jaimesen Kerr

Jaimesen Kerr

Ayari Kasukawa

Ayari Kasukawa

Julien Haynes

Julien Haynes

Sophia Friesen

Sophia Friesen

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