Samuel T. Hutcheson Memorial Scholarship

Samuel T. Hutcheson was a member of the tenor section of the North Jersey Chorus for 15 years before passing away unexpectedly a few years ago. At the request of his family, the Samuel T. Hutcheson Memorial Scholarship Fund was established and continues to be supported with the contributions received in his memory and through the on-going commitment of the chorus. As a tribute to Sam’s devotion to music and the chorus, scholarships are awarded to graduating high school seniors who are planning to further their education in the study of music. Awarding music scholarships has been the main purpose of the chorus since its early beginnings over 60 years ago.

2016 Samuel T. Hutcheson Memorial Scholarship Recipients:
Rebekah Braun-McGovern and Melanie Lotta 

Rebekah Braun-McGovern has a diverse musical background, performing with the choir and band in school musicals for 6 years. A member of the madrigal choir for 4 years, she was selected to the Bergen County Chorus for all 6 years of her eligibility. Rebekah has served as Cantor and soloist for Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Washington Township. Described as a “very generous volunteer” she has worked on service projects with her church youth group, serving as a classroom aide preparing children for First Communion. Rebekah plans to continue her studies in music education.

Melanie Lotta has performed in the school choir, chorale and chamber choir, often as featured soloist. A finalist in the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall, she has been selected to the Bergen County Choir each of her four high school years. She performed the National Anthem at the state championship basketball game for 3 years. Other special events include the Christopher Baron Live Life Foundation (2013-2015) and the Glen Rock High School Cabaret Night and Coffee House (2012-2016). Her voice teacher commented that Melanie is the most dedicated, organized and “beyond prepared” student with whom she has ever worked. Melanie will be attending Ithaca College in the fall, majoring in vocal performance and music education.


2015 Samuel T. Hutcheson Memorial Scholarship Recipient:
Abigail Koenig

    Abigail Koenig is a senior at Glen Rock High School and has demonstrated her love of music throughout her high school career, having performed with the choir, the chorale, and with staged musicals. Her talent and dedication have twice led to her selection to the Bergen County Chorus. She also “broadened my horizons theater and church choirs...”  In her sophomore year, she joined “Sharing the Arts,” a program which assists children with special needs in putting on a musical production. “Through this experience, I saw that the arts can help people come together, make new friendships, and make everyone feel included and important.” For the past two years, Abigail has served as the director of this program. Additionally, she has served as the Director of St. Catharines’s youth choir and has been an active member of Porchlight Productions, a privately run theatrical company and school, which works for many charities and community events. Continuing her dedication to the sharing of her love of music, Abigail is majoring in special education in college.


2014 Samuel T. Hutcheson Memorial Scholarship Recipients:

Nicole Crilly and Mark Serkin

Nicole Crilly comes highly recommended by her high school music teacher as one of the most talented students he has ever worked with.  Nicole is a member of the chamber choir and concert band. Noted by her voice instructor at Manhattan Pre-College Student School of Music, she is praised as a dedicated “great voice student” who is extremely musical.  Nicole’s performance credits include several musicals and dramas. Specialized education includes lessons in acting, music theory and “ear training.” Nicole’s philosophy: good performers are “primarily meant to teach, influence and benefit others.” She will attend either Rider University or Wagner University and is planning to major in Arts and Entertainment Management with a minor in Music.


Mark Serkin is a junior in cello perfoemance at Mannes School of Music in New York City where he studies with Professor Barbara Stein Mallow.

Mark who began studying piano at a young age, decided in 2009 at the age of 14 that he would focus his talents on cello. In 2014 Mark took second place in the Korean Radion Broadcasting New York International Music Competition and was the Gold Winner at the National Young Musicians Showcase Competition at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall and the Merkin Concert Hall in New York City.

Mark is interested in chamber music not only as a performer but as a teacher as well. He is chamber music coach for the Face the Music program at the Kaufman Center in New York City. Face the Music is the only youth ensemble in the country dedicated to studying and performing the music of living composers. This year, Mark and his students/quartet perfoemed at Player's Theater in Greenwich Village, NY.

Mark has participated in many summer festivals such as the National Orchestra Institute and Festival, Manchester Music Festival, Luzerne Music Festival and Kinhaven Music School. He has performed in solo and chamber music classes for artists such as Julia Lichten, Gloria dePasquale, Robert DeMaine, Jonathan Spitz, Peter Stumpf, Kronos Quartet and the Miró Quartet.



2013 Samuel T. Hutcheson Memorial Scholarship Recipient:
Isaac Choi

Isaac Choi, a recent graduate of Fair Lawn High School, is the recipient of a $500. scholarship award. Isaac’s music career in the public schools and community has been exceptional. As a violinist, he has served as concert master of the school’s orchestra and he was honored as the “Most Dedicated Performer in the Symphony Orchestra”. He shared his skills and love of music with the community as he taught guitar at a charter school, performed at a nursing home and played in a church band. Alison Lucas, his high school mentor, praised Isaac as being one of the most dedicated workers she has ever met, saying that he assumed leadership responsibilities without being told, tutoring other orchestra members and insuring that all performers were prepared for rehearsals and performances. Music has been an integral part of Isaac’s life. His parents were an inspiration for him. Isaac will continue his studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, specializing in music production and sound engineering, while pursuing his interests in the violin and jazz guitar.

Each year the North Jersey Chorus recognizes high school seniors like Isaac Choi who have made music a significant part of their background and who will further their education in a music-related area of study.

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