New Elon Vocal Scholars program to amplify top undergraduate singers

The new scholarship program will enroll 15 talented singers in each incoming first-year class who will enhance culture on campus and in the broader community.

A new music scholarship will attract talented singers from across musical and academic interests to Elon, serving the community in the process.

The Elon Vocal Scholars program is a select, audition-based program for incoming first-year students. The program is available to students interested in any academic major who are passionate about singing and want to develop their talents to enhance Elon and the local community.

Fifteen Elon Vocal Scholars will be selected in each first-year class. Scholars will receive $5,000 scholarships which are renewable annually.The application deadline for fall 2023 admissions is Jan. 10. Separate scholars program applications are due Jan. 15 for the Class of 2027.

Program coordinator Polly Cornelius says the Elon Vocal Scholars program will attract top-tier singers to Elon.

headshot of Polly Cornelius
Polly Cornelius, senior lecturer in music

“This is a significant scholarship and I think this could be a pioneering program,” Cornelius said. “This program will draw the highest quality singers and makes Elon competitive with our peer and aspirant schools. The Department of Music is grateful for this opportunity to grow the program and raise the bar.”

Elon’s student vocalists are already prominent on campus. They perform at large public events like commencement, convocation and baccalaureate ceremonies, and at functions hosted by university administration and University Advancement.

The scholars program will raise their profile higher through more frequent on-campus performances as well as in the broader community. Scholars will participate in Music in the Village, teaching music to public school students enrolled in Elon’s “It Takes a Village” Project. Cornelius also plans to increase Elon’s musical outreach with local organizations and events.

Cornelius — a sought-after voice teacher and international performer of opera, oratorio and song recitals — and Elon’s world-class voice faculty will mentor Elon Vocal Scholars. At Elon, Cornelius teaches other courses related to voice to music and music theatre students. Her past students have been accepted to prestigious graduate music programs, and have performed leading roles on Broadway, on national tours and in regional opera theaters throughout the U.S. Cornelius will also lead Elon 1010 for each cohort of first-year vocal scholars.

Prospective students interested in becoming an Elon Vocal Scholar must audition by submitting a video of two contrasting songs and a current resume. Audition files are submitted with scholars applications, due Jan. 15. The song may represent any style of music with which the student is comfortable. Students auditioning for degree programs in music or performing arts may be considered for the Elon Vocal Scholars during their audition for those respective departments.