To encourage young singers to achieve success in the professional world of opera
History of the Competition
When Henry Holt founded West Bay Opera in 1955, his two goals were to provide the community with its own opera company and to provide the opportunity for young beginning students to get training and experience. After Henry’s death in 1969, his wife Maria Holt assumed the General Directorship of West Bay Opera and continued in that capacity for the next 27 years, maintaining the mission statement for community opera and opportunity for young singers.
In 1970, Maria established the Henry Holt Memorial Fund for the specific purposes of giving students, ages 18 to 26, the experience of competing with other singers before qualified judges and receiving scholarship awards for the continuance of their studies. Upon Maria’s death in 1996, her committee incorporated the Henry and Maria Holt Memorial Scholarship Fund as a charitable organization and dedicated itself to honoring Henry and Maria and the continuation of the Holt tradition with beginning singers.
During these past 46 years, we have auditioned well over 1,000 young singers and awarded over 200 scholarships. We are supported by donations only, and virtually every cent is used for awards.