Holland Community Opera Fellowship
The Holland Community Opera Fellowship is the centerpiece of Opera Omaha’s strategic vision for the future.
In today's world, the arts play a pivotal role in shaping our communities and the quality of life of our citizens. In service to the community, we are bringing opera into new environments illustrating and promoting the value of creativity in both the arts and non-arts sectors.
ENGAGES in meaningful dialogue with the community on issues and ideas of social relevance.
FULFILLS unmet needs in the community for arts experiences, education, and appreciation.
EMPOWERS communities through music and culture.
CREATES reciprocal relationships between Opera Omaha and different sectors and neighborhoods benefitting residents and communities.
EXPANDS Opera Omaha’s civic impact and relevancy to the community.
DIVERSIFIES and grows Opera Omaha’s impact through performance and social interactions.
Community Partners & Programming
We work collaboratively with community partners to co-create programming that helps individuals, organizations, and communities reach their goals. We know we can’t solve the most pressing issues in our community, like homelessness, income disparity, immigration, or segregation, but by working with partners who are the experts working on those issue areas we can bring our unique artistic resources to the table to help meet their goals together.
Some of these projects include Masterclasses with individuals from the Ollie Webb Center, supporting the Meerkat Melodies Choir at Nelson Mandela Elementary, Creativity Workshops at the Siena/Francis House and MICAH House, Healing Arts Concerts at the Buffet Cancer Center, supporting Gotta Be Me Heartlight Choir’s Original Rock Opera, just to name a few.
All our community partners are listed on our Community Partnership Page
The Holland Community Opera Fellowship brings community-minded, entrepreneurial artists to live and work in Omaha. Fellows serve as ambassadors of the company by developing relationships with community leaders and to design and implement unique projects combining artistry and musicianship, leadership, advocacy, and citizenship. The typical length of a Fellowship is two years, each year there are two new artists and two in their second year.
Our Current Fellows
First year Holland Community Opera Fellow Baritone Nicholas Davis is a versatile artist equally at home on the operatic, theater, and concert stages. Acknowledged for his “rolling mellifluous baritone” (Opera Today), Nicholas has enjoyed engagements with companies such as: The Santa Fe Opera, Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Chicago Opera Theater, Chicago Sinfonietta, and Theater Latté Da to name a few.
In addition to his performing experience, Mr. Davis has had the honor to work in the Detroit Metro school system with the Motor City Lyric Opera anti bullying campaign, teach vocal workshops with the Our Own Thing Chorale youth program, and serve as Peer Counselor for the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance Minority Student Office.
Canadian soprano Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor holds an M.M. in Opera (University of Toronto) and a B.M. in Voice Performance (Western University) and is a second year Holland Community Opera Fellow. This past season, Gwenna was a recipient of an Encouragement Award at the Nebraska District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Recent performance highlights include originating the role of Nature in Cries of the Earth (Artsong Collaborative Project), Berta in The Barber of Seville (Indian River Festival, Stratford Summer Music), Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte (Toronto Lyric Opera Centre / Toronto Mozart Players), and Soprano Soloist in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (London Symphonia). Ms. Fairchild-Taylor has spent time as a Musician In Residence at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and is a four-time recipient of Government of Nunavut Culture & Heritage Grants in support of her music and drama programs in communities in the Arctic. She also wrote the curriculum and continues to consult for “Learn English Through Song,” a program in Toronto that facilitates language learning and community building for newcomer women through singing. She has worked as a teaching artist and consulted on curriculum development for education programming at the Canadian Opera Company.
Baritone Jared Hiscock is a second year Holland Community Opera Fellow and a doctoral candidate in the Glenn Korff School of Music at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During the 2019 summer season Mr. Hiscock performed Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Opera Orvieto in Città della Pieve, Italy, and Marquis de la Force in Dialogues of the Carmelites with Saltworks Opera in Cape Charles, VA. Mr. Hiscock spent two seasons doing educational outreach with the professional opera touring company Opera for the Young, performing Power House in the world premiere of Super Storm! and the Sea-King in Rusalka. Recent engagements include performances of Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte, William Jennings Bryan in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Friedrich Bhaer in Little Women, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, and Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors with UNL Opera; Leporello in Don Giovanni as a guest artist with the University of Kansas; and as the baritone soloist in works such as Orff’s Carmina Burana, Vaughan Williams’s Five Mystical Songs, and Adams’s The Wound-Dresser.
Fernando Antonio Montejano
Fernando Antonio Montejano is a first-year Holland Community Opera Fellow. As a local Omaha writer, Fernando has used his voice through various works, whether for the page or stage, to bring awareness to the many struggles of those dealing with mental illness and disability in all shapes and forms. He is especially focused on the way mental illness is communicated and addressed in Hispanic and Latinx communities.
Fernando has been invited to perform his work by organizations such as NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands, and to read alongside Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason. For the last decade, Fernando has had the honor of being a Teaching Artist for the Nebraska Writers Collective, instructing poetry and writing in schools throughout Nebraska and leading writing workshops in Omaha with community members of all ages. Additionally, he has performed at numerous Omaha events including Random Acts of Poetry, Writers Resist: Omaha, The Joslyn Art Museum’s “Framing The Flame”, and The Metro Area Teen Health Summit held at Creighton University.
The panel represents a cross-section of the community including organizations, businesses, neighborhoods, and community groups. Those serving on the Community Panel develop a partnership with Opera Omaha to engage in meaningful conversations to identify community issues and program development and potential partners and opportunities across different neighborhoods and sectors. The panel considers high level strategic decisions and priorities, helping set the direction of the Fellowship and is a critical part of the Fellow selection process, With the panel, residents from neighborhoods across the greater Omaha metro area have a voice in choosing who and how artists interact with their diverse districts and constituent groups.
2020-2021 Community Panel
Cam Bexten, NU Foundation
Colleen Heavican Cass, UNMC Nebraska Medicine Healing Arts
Rachel Morgan, Nebraska Arts Council
Rita Paskowitz, Storyteller
Alysia Radicia, RDG Design
Paige Reitz, Union for Contemporary Art
Paula Wallace, Artist/Hot Shops
Cammy Watkins, Inclusive Communities
Merica Whitehall, Fontenelle Forest
Roberta Wilhelm, Girls, Inc.
Gwyn Williams, Independent Leadership Coach
Nancy Williams, No More Empty Pots
Interested in becoming a Holland Community Opera Fellow?
Applications for 2021-2022 Holland Community Opera Fellows are now being accepted.