The Board of Trustees of Essex Winter Series is pleased to announce that the organization has chosen to award two Francis Bealey Memorial Scholarships rather than a single one for 2021. This year’s recipients are Lauren Spencer Sacrey and Elio Perez-Wilson, both of Deep River. The Francis Bealey Memorial Scholarship, awarded annually to a Valley Regional High School (VRHS) graduating senior who will be furthering their musical studies in college, generously provides $1,000 for each year of study, for a total of $4,000. The Scholarship was established in 1995 after the passing of Essex Winter Series board president Francis Bealey to honor his commitment to music and arts education.
Spencer, the daughter of Tracy and William Sacrey, plans to attend the University of Delaware to study music education with a choral concentration. Because her teachers have always inspired her, Spencer’s goal through her college study choice is to help students “from all walks of life cultivate their musical talents.” Reaching first-tier music program “Wall of Fame” recognition at VRHS, Lauren participated in the Camerata, Voce, Encore and Acapella Honor Choir Ensembles, performed as a musician in the Jazz Band and Percussion ensemble, and worked with the Peer Advocate Program.
Elio is the son of Danton Perez and Katherine Wilson-Perez. Consistently a High Honors student, Elio found his love of musical theatre in 8th grade when he performed in the school’s production of “Bye, Bye, Birdie!” Throughout his years at VRHS, he worked to improve his skills through many performances within the school as well as outside of school at The New England Music Festival, the Shoreline Music Festival, and the Heritage Music Festival in Chicago. To further his focus and follow his passion for musical theatre, Elio plans to attend Western Connecticut State University.
Bringing world-class classical and jazz music to the shoreline area was the dream of the founders of Essex Winter Series, established in 1979. The late Fenton Brown devoted decades to expanding the series and ultimately recruited pianist Mihae Lee to become Artistic Director. The “Fenton Brown Emerging Artists Concert” series was begun to honor Brown’s commitment to promoting the careers of young artists. Each year, Essex Winter Series presents a series of concert performances by top-rated musicians from around the world – with each season including a mix of such performances as chamber music, instrumental soloists, opera singers, symphony and chamber orchestras, and jazz bands.