The VanDelinder Fellowships

Prizes have been awarded to the Vandelinder Fellows for 2017

Madeleine Woodworth, winner of the the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Prize in Liturgical Organ Skills. This prize is awarded to the VanDelinder Fellow that demonstrates the greatest diligence and achievement in the program. 

I’m thrilled to be serving as one of this year’s three VanDelinder Fellows. In the fall of 2014, I came to Eastman to study organ with Nathan Laube, and I was fortunate enough to join Schola Cantorum as a freshman. Working under the direction of Stephen Kennedy inspired me to participate as a choir member at Christ Church starting in February 2015. I grew up singing in choirs at Grace Episcopal Church in Oak Park, IL, so my passion for singing and conducting has been well nourished from an early age. Watching everyone work together here, I’ve truly fallen in love with what this music program has to offer. I’m constantly realizing the profound joys of sacred music and hope that this path makes itself present in my future. Sacred music brings so much spiritual balance and peace to my life, and the quality of musicianship at Christ Church continually serves to nurture my soul. I’m so grateful for this unique opportunity, and I look forward to serving this community in what I know will be a wonderful year.

Alden Wright, awarded the Casparini Prize for the best hymn playing

My name is Alden Wright and I am honored to serve as a VanDelinder Fellow in your parish!  I am a freshman here at Eastman, where I study with Nathan Laube.  I am a native of Salisbury, NC and I am truly excited to be living in Rochester.  In Salisbury, I served as music director and organist at Milford Hills United Methodist Church from January 2015 – June 2016.  Now, of course, I will continue my experience in church music in your parish.  Though only a freshman, I have visited your sanctuary on several occasions, the first being during last summer’s High School Organ Week, a program of the ‘Summer at Eastman’ series.  I will always remember the day that I first heard the two fabulous instruments at Christ Church.  I did not imagine at the time that I would have the opportunity in my first year to serve the parish on those instruments and study with your wonderful music director, Stephen Kennedy.  I am truly looking forward to serving God and this parish while furthering my knowledge of the timeless liturgy of the Church. 

Jiaqi Shao, awarded the Hook and Hastings Prize for the greatest advancement in liturgical music skills

I am Jiaqi Shao, a sophomore pursuing my BM in Organ Performance in the studio of Professor David Higgs at Eastman School of Music. I was born in 1997 in Shanghai, China, and began studying piano at the age of four. As a pianist, I won the second prize in the 16th Annual Music Open Competition in the United States (2008). I studied in the Music Middle School (affiliated with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music) from 2009-2015. I have studied organ since 2011, and was the winner of the teenage group in the Second International Electronic Organ Competition in Beijing, China in 2011. Now being an organ student at Eastman School of Music, I performed in “Pipedreams Organ Concerts” in Rochester this April and played in student improvisation concerts at Christ Church. I sang in Christ Church Choir last year and am very much looking forward to being with you as a VanDelinder Fellow this year.

More about the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Fellowship Program at Christ Church Rochester.

Through the combined resources of Christ Church’s Liturgical Music Program and the Eastman School of Music’s Organ Department, this exciting program offers vocational training and practical application in liturgical music skills for Eastman organ students who are pursuing a career in liturgical music. Fellows will receive a scholarship for participating in this program, and a large cash prize is awarded each year to the Fellow who demonstrates the greatest diligence and achievement. Under the leadership of Music Director Stephen Kennedy, Fellows will receive training and experience in improvising, composing, arranging, hymn playing, anthem and motet accompaniment, chanting, conducting, and rehearsing choirs and instrumentalists as well as other components within a church music program. This program is made possible by a generous gift from the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Fund of Rochester Area Community Foundation.

Fellowship in Liturgical Organ Studies

Fellows will be selected by the VanDelinder Committee.  This committee will base their decision on the student’s résumé, playing skills, and two letters of recommendation. Fellows will receive a scholarship of around $4,700 for the academic year.  This amount will be re-figured this year, so it may be slightly more than this amount.  Fellows may participate in this program for up to three years but the VanDelinder Committee makes the selection of Fellows each year. 


Prize in Liturgical Organ Skills

Each year, the VanDelinder Committee will select one acting Fellow to receive the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Prize in Liturgical Organ Skills that includes a cash prize of $8,000 above the scholarship. This prize will be awarded to the VanDelinder Fellow that demonstrates the greatest diligence and achievement. The prizewinner will be expected to remain in active duty as Fellow for a negotiated number of Sundays beyond the school term.  Fellows who do not win the prize will be excused at the end of the school term. 

Past Winners of the Roy E. VanDelinder, Jr. Fund of Rochester Area Community Foundation Prize in Liturgical Organ Skills

Käthe Wright Kaufman: Winner in 2014 

Käthe Wright Kaufman: Winner in 2015 

Jeremy Jelinek: Winner in 2016