This past summer Maegan Pollonais, a doctoral candidate in Vocal Performance, hosted an International Operatic Workshop where she invited Dr. Mei Zhong, professor of voice, to her home country of Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean. Together they shared their love of classical music, opera performance, and vocal workshops to help local singers improve their skills. To help make this dream come to life, Maegan applied to the Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) and was awarded an Aspire Grant for Creative Endeavor. She also received support from The School of Music in the form of a travel grant. These grants allowed her to finance their travel to the Caribbean, cover some lodging, and help with organizational elements for the workshop. Maegan led performance technique seminars where she assisted the students in deconstructing their songs dramatically and helped them achieve comfort and understanding in their performance on stage. Dr. Zhong held daily master classes with local singers over the course of the week. They  later held a concert entitled “East Meets West” where both Dr. Zhong and  Maegan performed Chinese and Caribbean art songs, featuring a local group of operatic singers.

           The Ball State Graduate School provided self-help books for the local students including “Do Cool Sh*t” by Miki Agrawal. The book is about following your passions and achieving your goals in an intentional way. Maegan wants to thank Stephanie Wilson, The School of Music, The Graduate School, and the SPA for their assistance in making this program and her dream, a reality.

Mei Zhong poses with several students from the workshop