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Fargo Moorhead Opera Young Artists Thrive with Bank's Near $300K Supporting Role

Gate City Bank has proudly supported community arts for years, and the show must go on. The Bank has donated nearly $300,000 toward the Gate City Bank Young Artist Program, a one-of-a-kind opportunity that helps student singers from all over the country experience professional training and the chance to deliver world-class live performances to local audiences who might not normally be able to enjoy them.

An Innovative Partnership Between Gate City Bank and the Fargo Moorhead Opera

The annual Gate City Bank Young Artist Program debuted in 2013 and runs from February to April. It’s the successful and innovative brainchild of Gate City Bank and the Fargo Moorhead Opera, who have developed a unique partnership. Not only is the program an extremely rare and prestigious learning opportunity for up-and-coming singers, it’s an amazing benefit to the community as a whole.

Each year, the program attracts an average of 300 applicants, of which the top four are chosen to participate. All participants are college graduates whose main area of study is in performing arts, and many have come to see the program as essential to their professional development in the industry.

“Gate City Bank is truly honored to support the local arts and entertainment culture,” says Kevin Hanson, President & CEO. “We’re especially thankful for the opportunity to attract some of the most talented student singers from across the country, who enrich our community with their amazing gifts.”

Community giving is core to the Bank’s mission, which is one reason why the Gate City Bank Young Artist Program is such a great fit. It runs solely on donations, which the Bank has been a leader in providing.

One of the Gate City Bank team members who advocates for local performance arts is Karin Rudd, Gate City Bank Senior Vice President of EPIC Checking. She also serves as board member for the Fargo Moorhead Opera.

“It’s an amazing honor to be involved with Fargo-Moorhead’s exceptional performing arts programs,” Rudd says. “I’m especially thankful to Gate City Bank for the support it shows for team members and others who enjoy enriching our community with talent, passion and creativity.”

A Learning Experience That Hits All the Right Notes

The Gate City Bank Young Artist Program provides a fun, educational and hands-on approach to learning performance arts, as well as free performances for the community to enjoy. To date, the program’s performances have reached more than 35,000 people.

The young artists have performed in a variety of settings, such as Bank locations, schools, assisted-living facilities, local performing arts clubs, Rourke Art Museum, Dakota Medical Foundation, West Acres Mall and many community events. They’ve even performed outside of Fargo, most recently in the Twin Cities area and Thief River Falls, MN.

Through this one-of-a-kind opportunity, participants gain valuable experience with:

  • Professional Coaching: Each young artist is expected to learn at least one major theatre role in its entirety.
  • Educational Seminars: These touch on audition techniques, vocal wellness, marketing, diction and acting.
  • Production Logistics: From leading roles to backstage preparation, participants learn the basics.
  • Community Involvement: While many artists are from outside the area, they learn to serve as community ambassadors by participating in multiple local outreach opportunities.

Testimonials from Gate City Bank Young Artist Program participants have been overwhelmingly positive:

“Being here in Fargo as a Gate City Bank Young Artist has been empowering and enlightening. I’m so happy to be back in rehearsals, and I’m so thankful to be working with a company that I really love.” – Gabriel Hernandez (2021)

“I’m very grateful to Gate City Bank for this fantastic opportunity to collaborate with an amazing group of colleagues. When I learned I would be able to take part in the program, I was ecstatic. This is the opportunity I had been waiting for – the opportunity to make music with other performers.” – Madison Marie McIntosh (2021)

“Being here in Fargo and getting to work with a company that helps us rehearse and perform operas is a really, really incredible experience. I am so thankful to be a part of this program, and to be able to do the thing that I love most in the world. Working with amazing people and collaborating on awesome projects is something I missed so much throughout the first year of COVID-19. I can’t express how excited I am to be back at it.” – Nathan Haltiwanger (2021)

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here in Fargo. I’m from North Carolina, so this is the furthest north I’ve ever lived. It means so much to be singing live and in person for audiences. This is an extraordinary experience.” – Alicia Russell (2021)

Artistic Influence That Creates a Better Way of Life

While the Gate City Bank Young Artist Program is focused within Fargo-Moorhead, it has a rippling effect throughout the country. Participants take their talents with them wherever they go – creating a better way of life with each audition they crush.

“Gate City Bank’s impact on performing arts continues to be nothing short of incredible,” says David Hamilton, General Director of the Fargo Moorhead Opera. “We greatly appreciate their eagerness to promote performing arts in the community, and to support talented young artists nationwide.”

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