BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Wharton Music Center (WMC) is pleased to host the second annual Nancy M. Wright Memorial Scholarship Vocal Competition on Saturday, February 22 at 2:00 p.m. at 60 Locust Avenue in Berkeley Heights. The competition, for singers age 9-18, showcases the vocal talent in the north-central New Jersey region. Tickets are $12/adults and $7/children under 12, available by calling 908-790-0700.

Up to 16 students are provided the opportunity to sing for a distinguished adjudicator in a public performance, gaining audition performance experience in a supportive environment. Cash, trophies, and tuition credit prizes are offered in two categories. In addition, written comments from the adjudicator and an audio recording of the competition are provided to each contestant.

Joanna Hoty Russell, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Music and Case Western Reserve University where she received both Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees in Voice Performance. Formerly with the Music Department at Drew University as an Adjunct Lecturer of Music and Affiliate Artist, Ms. Russell maintains a private voice studio in New Providence. She is a long-time member of The Early Music Players of New Jersey, a chamber ensemble specializing in the performance of music from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Eras, and is the Alto soloist and section leader at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Maplewood. Ms. Russell has been a featured performer with Ridge Light Opera for over 13 years. An avid participant of choral music, she has sung with choirs in California, Colorado, New York, and New Jersey. Solo appearances include the Duruflé Requiem, Handel's Messiah, Haydn's Mass in D Minor, Bach’s Magnificat and Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzer.

Wharton Music Center, where creativity and expression converge with exploration, provides a diverse range of classes and programs as New Jersey’s largest independent non-profit community performing arts center. Serving nearly 1,200 students with high quality instruction in all instruments and voice, musical theatre, drama, and dance, Wharton and its esteemed faculty of talented professionals offer instruction for beginners of all ages, as well as an in-depth, sequential course of study through its Achievement Program, and orchestral and ensemble training with the New Jersey Youth Symphony, its orchestral and ensemble affiliate. New Jersey Youth Symphony features fourteen ensembles, available by audition for students in grades 3 – 12. Its premiere ensemble, Youth Symphony, was awarded first place in the prestigious 2014 Summa Cum Laude International Youth Music Festival and has appeared in such internationally renowned concert halls as Carnegie Hall in New York City and Musikverein in Vienna.

Innovative programming and over 500 classes taught weekly, from Early Childhood Music, music theory, and audio recording to Introduction to Instruments, ensures that there is something for all ages and interests.

Part of our mission as a community school for the performing arts is to engage, educate, and enrich our community with a broad spectrum of accessible programming. Dedicated to serving the community, WMC provides instruction at local public, private and charter schools in after-school settings and during the school day. From an assembly program to a full-year residency, our outstanding faculty collaborates with school principals and staff to offer customized curriculum to meet the needs for music, drama, and musical theatre instruction for each school or organization. One of the highlights of our community programs is the Paterson Music Project, an El Sistema-inspired program that provides intensive music instruction to elementary school students attending the Community Charter School of Paterson.

Wharton Music Center builds personal connections in the community through an array of faculty and student performances, many of which are free and allow community members to become more involved with WMC. These often interactive Community Concerts include classical, jazz and family programs and are held at a variety of venues throughout the region. New Jersey Youth Symphony ensembles, both large and small, perform throughout the community.

Located in Berkeley Heights and New Providence, New Jersey, Wharton Music Center and New Jersey Youth Symphony serve students from thirteen counties.

For additional information about our community programs and class offerings visit our website www.WhartonMusicCenter.org or call 908-790-0700.