Orillia Vocal Ensemble

Scholarships & Grants

The Orillia Vocal Ensemble participates in scholarships and grants to young singers and other musicians. News and information about this aspect of our work is listed here. 

The Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship Roger and Kathy Andrews

Kathy Andrews created and funded a foundation and annual scholarship program in memory of her late husband Roger who was an enthusiastic founding member of this choir and who served as its president until his death in 2012. Because of this endowment and the hard work and dedication of Carol Benedetti of the Community Foundation of Orillia, this fund is able to award a scholarship of $500 annually to a deserving student anywhere in Canada who is studying Voice or Musical Theatre at the post-secondary level.

Roger and Kathy Andrews together 






***ATTENTION*** Music Students!!

Apply now for the Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship for this current 2023/2024 season!

à Please submit a personal letter describing your musical experience and education goals, including the post-secondary program you will be attending, or are currently attending.

Deadline for submissions this year is Friday April 19, 2024. The successful applicant will be invited to perform at the OVE Spring Concert in May at St. Paul's Centre.

Applications for the Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship are made to Carol Benedetti at orilliavocalensemble@gmail.com 


The Scholarship Committee is:    

Blair Bailey, Artistic Director of the OVE

Jim Ferry, Committee Chair (reporting to the board)

Carol Benedetti, OVE Business Manager

Kathy Andrews, Founder

The scholarship fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Orillia


Past Winners are: 

When our choir was founded in 2010, Roger and Kathy Andrews were founding members and Roger sat on the board as the president until his death in 2012. The choir founder, Roy Menagh, had the idea of creating the scholarship in his memory and Kathy agreed to fund the necessary foundation which was setup in accordance with the rules. The objective of the foundation was to provide an annual cash prize of $500 to a deserving student of music from the region who was planning to study Voice or Musical Theatre at the post-secondary level.

Each year in the winter, a scholarship application is distributed through High-School guidance channels to reach students who wish to apply. The committee sorts through the submitted applications and chooses a single winner who is awarded the prize in May of the next year. If possible, each winner is invited to join the spring concert the following year to participate in some way of their choosing - usually by singing.  


Parade of Winners (page is under construction)

Here are our winners:

2021/2022 - "Sammy" Johnston Samantha Johnston

SAMMY hails from Orillia where she grew up learning blues guitar and idolizing famous raspy voices. She has combined her love of heavy tones, cynical lyrics, and storytelling with a setlist that brings together a unique sound, drawing inspiration from blues, grunge, folk, and rock n roll. She began hosting open mic nights at the Brownstone Cafe in 2017, which continued for 3 years until the COVID-19 pandemic. Sammy is enrolled in Community Music at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and expects her Bmus in April 2023. She has a minor in psychology and takes interest in the interrelationships among music therapy, facilitation, and community.

In the summer of 2020 she released her first record “Sad to Say”, a 5-song EP that was self-produced during the height of the pandemic. 

She has been playing solo live gigs for the past 4 years at venues such as the Brownstone Cafe, Flying Monkeys Brewery, and the Bracebridge Hall. More recently she started performing with a backing band consisting of Drew Barrett, Jennie Davis and Jeff Davis. They have played venues such as the Bracebridge Hall and Meridian Stage, Barrie. The full band allows for a much heavier sound than SAMMY’s solo style, and a unique effect due to the various musical backgrounds of each band member including bluegrass, gospel and jazz. 

Sammy performed at our Nov 9th Concert "Song for the Land" in 2022 Sammy

2019/2020 - Isabel Livie  

Isabel LivieWe are pleased to announce (rather late) that Isabel Livie is the winner of the Roger Andrews Memorial Scholarship for 2019/2020.  Normally, the winner would have been asked to perform at our end-of-season concert in late May last year, but with the Covid-19 restrictions in place, this could not happen.  Instead, we have asked Isabel to say a few words about what she is doing:

"This year has been soo crazy with Covid and it has definitely been a challenge to start university along with it. I finished my first semester of my Bachelor of Arts at Queens [University] and despite the difficulties of learning on-line, I have passed my courses with flying colours for a first year. I have already set myself up for my double major of music and drama by studying music theory, vocal composition, and drama as well. I also plan on taking my Grade 9 Harmony exam with the Royal Conservatory of Music come the end of my second semester!"

Congratulations, Isabel.  We will no doubt hear more about your progress later!

January 11, 2021

2018/2019 - Lauryn MacDonald


Lauryn MacDonald


2017/2018 - Matilda Wilson



2014/2015 - Autumn Debassige 

Autumn Debassige