The 2nd annual William Warfield Scholarship Fund Classical Vocal Competition for African American High School Students will take place October 24, 2020. Entries are now being sought for the first round of this vocal competition, supporting Black high school classical singers. Prizes range from $500 to $2000. The first round of entries is due on September 25, 2020.

Five finalists will be selected from the first round. Of these, three will win cash awards for the advancement of their vocal studies. Awards will be paid directly to winners. According to the competition organizers:

“This initiative represents the essential bridge between African American youths’ early musical training in worship, family or school settings and their acceptance into a school of music. It will provide students with cash support for formal training (the first for some applicants), audition preparation, music and practice time, connections and essential guidance from highly experienced artists and teachers of voice. In the process of competing, young artists will gain coaching from experienced professionals and exposure to music school recruitment and diversity officers, further enhancing their probability of success. The pursuit of classical vocal performance requires not only natural physical gifts but ample resources of connections and funding that make high level training, exposure and opportunity possible. African Americans, because of structural, racial disadvantage in our society, often lack the resources to compete with their Asian and White peers for available scholarships and opportunities. Even if institutions of higher education offer scholarships, African American students frequently do not have the preliminary training, musical background and connections to those institutions that would help win such assistance. Our awards will be made in cash directly to the young artist to subsidize lessons, practice time and facilities, books and music and/or travel to auditions for music schools. Even one summer of advanced lessons can make all the difference in a career, and these awards would make them possible.”

The competition is free to enter, but first round entries must be received by Sept. 25, 2020. More details may be found here.

William Warfield was a renowned American bass-baritone, educator, actor and mentor who passed away in Chicago in 2002. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music and was the spouse of internationally acclaimed American soprano Leontyne Price.