Holland Community Opera Fellowship Application

Opera Omaha is now accepting applications for

2021-2022 Holland Community Opera Fellows.

The Fellow will join Opera Omaha at a critical time in the Company’s history, building on a radical program that redefines how an opera company serves its community. Launched in 2017, the Holland Community Opera Fellowship leads the opera field in civic practice - building deep relationships outside of the performance venues. These relationships and the programs co-created with our partners have proven to be our strengths in these unprecedented times. Four Holland Community Fellows are engaged each season to bring their skills as artists and trained civic practitioners in service to individual creative growth within partner organizations, through a combination of long- and short-term co-created programs.

A strong interest in serving community through the arts, a team orientated work style, and a collaborative and creative thinker are the primary qualities in the successful candidate.


Application Guidelines

The Application for the Holland Community Opera Fellowship is unique and made up of multiple elements. The goal of the Fellowship application is to get a sense of the whole person, not just you as a singer, but what drives you as a person.

A full application consists of 4 documents

Your Completed Online Application Form
Fill out form

Your Professional Resume
Including: Education and Training, Professional Work, Volunteer Experience, Other Training and Skills–Performance Training, Other Artistic/Musical Skills beyond Singing, Backstage or Production Experience, Teaching or Training Experience, Language Skills

Your Performance History and Selected Repertoire
Including: Performance History, 5 Standard Audition Arias, 2 Additional Selections from any genre, or non-standard repertoire

Your Essay Questions
What pulls you toward community engaged work? Why is making art in, with, and for community important to you? Please provide examples.
What are the skills that make you an effective team player and what dynamics do you bring to a group?

What inspires you as an opera artist and how do you envision being a change maker in this industry?

When you think about engaging communities through the arts, how do you imagine utilizing your creative process, practice and/or skill? In your answer, describe a population you would like to work with and how you would use your talents to engage with them.

To Submit Your Application
Complete the online application and upload all your materials to online application form.

We recommend reading the FAQs before submitting your materials. If you have additional questions please email Fellows@operaomaha.org

Deadlines & Interview Process

Candidates will be considered on a rolling basis and applications will close January 1, 2021.
The interview and audition is a multi-step process. This year all elements will take place virtually.
The first round is an interview with the Fellowship staff. (January and February)
Candidates will be contacted by Opera Omaha to arrange an audition if being considered. (February and March)
The final stage includes be multiple elements that week which will replace a site visit week in Omaha. This will include interviews and experiential sessions with staff, the Community Panel, and community partners.
We ask that candidates have full availability the week of March 22-26, 2020 to participate in this final round of selection.

Current Holland Community Opera Fellows

Meet the Team

What’s it like to be a Fellow?

Nicholas Davis: “Mindfulness is the word that comes to mind in considering what it means to be a fellow. Three months in and I am still asking tons of questions. I could feel like a pest because of it, but I know that my questions are welcomed here and truly considered. In fact, that level of thoughtfulness is central to what the fellowship is about. Here, I am able to live out my desire to be of service and my passion for art. There is a genuine symbiotic nature to what we do that is hard to explain, but definitely present.”

Jared Hiscock: “Being a Holland Community Opera Fellow is an experience that expands you as both a person and as an opera artist. You work in close collaboration with your fellowship colleagues and with community partners and must be open to a constant ebb and flow of different types of teaching and performing. In my own experience, if you are careful to keep refilling your own cup through self-care this balancing act of teaching and performing will be immensely fulfilling!”

Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor: “Being a fellow is a mix of singing, teaching artistry and administration. A typical day might include an hour of practice, several hours of curriculum development time, and some teaching, either virtual or in person, depending on the safety of a situation. We have one coaching a week and perform around once a month. There is a lot of tasks that are independent, but there is also a lot of time devoted to team work. We often bounce ideas off each other and collaborate to come up with programming that we feel will meet the needs of the people we are serving. We spend quite a bit of time training so that we have the skills necessary to be our best in the community. Another sizeable component of the job is professional development, which can take many forms, based on what your interests and needs are. A favorite part of the job for me is testing new ideas and curriculum with each other and offering feedback. We can just ‘let our hair down’ a bit and be creative ourselves, all while thinking objectively about how to make an idea the best it can be.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What should my resume include?
Opera Omaha is looking for highly skilled artists who have a passion for community-engaged work- in or outside of the arts. What volunteer experiences have you had? What work experiences have you had outside of being an artist? We want to know.
We also like to know what makes you unique. What are your interests? What are your talents and skills outside of your musical profession? Tell us!

What does a typical week look like in the Fellowship?
In a given week, Fellows will:
Plan programming
Participate in staff & community partner meetings
Provide programming in the community—programming can be anywhere from a one-time event, weekly or monthly sessions, to a year-long project
Reflect and Report on their work
Take part in professional training (non-music), practicing coaching with the Head of Music (weekly)
Perform in a community concert/recital

The Fellow must be available August 2021 – May 2022 (40-weeks per year). The position may be renewed for the 2022/2023 season. The typical length of a Fellow is two years.

Who are some of the community partners I’d be working with as a Fellow?
The Holland Community Opera Fellowship collaborates with more than 30 partners across the Omaha metro area. HCOF’s priority is to help community partners reach their goals as they work to provide a better quality of life for their communities and serve those who may have limited access to arts experience and programming. Some recent examples of co-created programming with partners include:

  • Music and acting workshops with participants from Quality Living Inc.(QLI) and Ollie Webb Center, Inc. QLI is a residential rehabilitation facility for individuals with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, and Ollie Webb’s Art of the Imagination Program serves adults with disabilities.
  • Creativity workshops with residents at MICAH House. MICAH House is an emergency housing shelter that serves families and women, our programming is for residents of their women’s shelter.
  • At home creativity projects to support connection with members of the Intercultural Senior Center. Intercultural Senior Center serves hundreds of seniors across Omaha, including those from immigrant and refugee communities.
    Outdoor concert for participants at Gotta Be Me. Gotta Be Me offers recreational programming and opportunities for connection and continued learning to adults of all abilities, primarily adults with disabilities ages 21+.

Do Fellows work mostly independently or as a team?
Fellows primarily work as a team. Most programming in the Fellowship is facilitated by two or more Fellows. In addition, they work together to develop curriculum and activities informed by community partners. Fellows work closely with the Community Opera Fellowship Manager and the Director of Engagement evaluating and reflecting on the programs and day-to-day activities in the Fellowship. Some projects involve more independent work and research, and Fellows work independently to be prepared for collaborative work. The ideal candidate has a strong sense of teamwork and desire to collaborate with other artists.

Are there mainstage performance opportunities?
Because the role of the Fellow is to be a resource and provide a consistent, meaningful presence in the community, they are not scheduled in mainstage productions. That type of commitment would pull the Fellow away from the primary purpose of them being here. Fellows do perform throughout the year in a variety of venues, including concerts and performances with community partners like Omaha Area Youth Orchestra, recital series at galleries and museums, and concerts as part of Opera Omaha’s programming like ONE Festival. Additionally, the Fellow performs as a Principal Artist in Opera Outdoors, the company’s annual outdoor staged performance, and in the past have been Featured Artists in an concert series with contemporary composers.

What is the compensation?
Fellows are full time staff members with an exempt salary of $40,000/year (40-week contract). The Fellow receives benefits including: a professional development stipend, a health insurance stipend, and paid time off.

What are opportunities for professional development?
Fellows receive a professional development stipend per season to use towards continuing education and/or professional development. Funds can be used for things such as coachings, lessons, seminars, conferences, and travel and housing to and from said engagements.
Opera Omaha provides professional development opportunities for Fellows in order to develop them into well-rounded, civically engaged artists. It is a goal of the Company to set Fellows up for success in their professional careers and as they work in our community.

Expanded training for our Fellows is necessary to better prepare them to work with a wide range of populations. This includes utilizing training programs outside of the arts including Healthcare Sensitivity Training, Community Awareness and Intercultural Competence, Youth Programming and Curriculum Development, Trauma Informed, Programming and Curriculum for Vulnerable Adult Communities, Diversity & Inclusion, and Facilitator Training, PLUS specialized training from specific partners.

Artistic Training includes weekly coaching with Head of Music and opportunities to work with visiting artists throughout the season.

How long is a Fellowship contract?
This full-time position will be for the 2021/2022 season beginning in August 2021 through May 2022, and the position may be renewed for the 2022/2023 season. The typical length of a Fellowship is two years.

Am I expected to travel to Omaha at any point in the recruitment process?
No. This year all elements will take place virtually. We do ask that candidates have full availability the week of March 22-26, 2020 to participate in the final round of selection. There will be multiple elements that week which will replace a site visit week in Omaha.

Do I need to live in Omaha for this position?
Yes, Fellows are expected to live in the area while on contract. When it is safe to do so, most of Fellowship programming will occur at community partner sites across the Omaha metro area. Currently programming is being conducted virtually, with Fellows working a combination of socially distanced in our spaces and virtually.