Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund

Continuing the artistic and educational legacy of our beloved Music Director, mentor and friend.

Mission

The Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund exists to continue the artistic and educational legacy of Dr. Steven Thomas, Arcadia Chorale's Music Director from 2004-2020.

The primary purpose of the Memorial Fund is to award a biannual scholarship to a deserving student who sings with the Chorale, with preference given to undergraduate students.

At the discretion of the Memorial Fund Committee and with the approval of Arcadia Chorale's Board of Directors, the Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund may also contribute to the Chorale's special projects, including, but not limited to: commissions, engaging guest artists, community outreach, recordings and large-scale performances.

In all cases, contributions from the Fund will serve to enhance the ensemble's knowledge of the choral repertoire, support performances of the highest caliber and add to the cultural life of the wider community.

Scholarship Award

The Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Scholarship will be awarded twice each season to a student who sings with Arcadia Chorale and who best demonstrates the commitment to musicianship and continued learning that is central to Dr. Thomas's legacy. The recipient must be a current member of the Chorale in good standing and must meet all eligibility requirements set forth by the Memorial Fund Committee.

Applications for the Fall 2022 scholarship will be accepted at the beginning of the 2022 – 2023 Concert Season. For a copy of the application or for more information, interested applicants may contact the Memorial Fund Committee: scholarship@arcadiachorale.org

History

The singers and Board members of Arcadia Chorale established the Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund at the beginning of our 2020-2021 season, following Dr. Thomas's untimely passing in July 2020.

Dr. Thomas had been on medical leave during our 2019-2020 concert season, after having been diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome just days before our 2019 Pops Concert. Unfortunately, within months, his illness progressed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Though we knew he was very ill, we were still stunned at his passing. In the days after, separated for safety during the pandemic, we virtually discussed several ways to honor our cherished friend, who had been our Music Director since 2004.

Throughout his time with the Chorale, Dr. Thomas was also the Director of Choral Activities at Wilkes University. As part of his dedication to the development of young singers, Dr. Thomas frequently programmed collaborations between Wilkes choral ensembles and the Chorale, and a select few of his Wilkes singers joined us as full members. We are fortunate to count several of Dr. Thomas's alumni among our roster today.

Dr. Thomas influenced all of us who had the pleasure of singing for him, but those who had the additional privilege of working with him in their college years all speak of Dr. Thomas's formative encouragement of their musical development. In addition to dedicating the 2020-2021 season to Dr. Thomas, we decided an appropriate, lasting tribute would be to award a scholarship in his name to students who sing with the Chorale.

This scholarship, which will be awarded from the Memorial Fund, acknowledges the combination of artistry and education that in many ways defined our experiences with Dr. Thomas. Though we deeply mourn his loss, we are committed to honoring him in our work and in our music. We awarded the inaugural Dr. Steven Thomas Scholarship during our 2021-2022 season.

Due to the overwhelming success of our Summer 2021 campaign and the support of donors over the 2020–2021 and 2021–2022 seasons, the Chorale raised the initial principal to endow the Memorial Fund. In November 2021, we officially partnered with the Scranton Area Community Foundation to establish the Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund for Arcadia Chorale, an endowed fund that will ensure we can support the Chorale's student singers and special projects for many years to come.

Our Donors

Click to see a list of our Founding Donors, who have made contributions to the Memorial Fund during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons!

Support for the Memorial Fund comes from individual donations. Donations can be made through the Chorale's website, or by sending a check made payable to "Arcadia Chorale" with "Memorial Fund" in the memo line:


Arcadia Chorale

555 Northern Blvd. #350

Chinchilla, PA 18410

We gratefully acknowledge the contributions we have received in honor of Dr. Thomas, who touched many lives during his time with the Chorale. Our donors include members of the ensemble, the Board and our audiences; community supporters; alumni and colleagues from Wilkes University; and family and friends, all of whom are committed to furthering Dr. Thomas' legacy.

We hope to see you at a concert so that we may thank you in person!

News

Arcadia Chorale Establishes Endowment for the

Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund

  • Due to the overwhelming success of our Summer 2021 campaign and the support of donors during our past two seasons, the Chorale has raised the initial principal to endow the Memorial Fund! In November 2021, we officially partnered with the Scranton Area Community Foundation to establish an endowed fund that will ensure we can support the Chorale's student singers and special projects in Steven's name for many years to come.

  • “We’re grateful for every donation we’ve received in Steven’s honor since the Fund began in 2020,” says Sue Minsavage, chair of the Memorial Fund Committee. “After the generous response to last summer’s campaign, an endowment for our Fund became a possibility. We’re delighted to now house the endowment with SAF, whose work for the betterment of our community is in line with the Chorale’s, and Steven’s, mission.”

  • Currently, the Chorale offers two scholarships per year, up to $500 each. We look forward to building the Memorial Fund endowment over time, with the primary purpose of increasing our awards for student singers.

  • Donations can be made via PayPal here, or a check may be sent to Arcadia Chorale with “Memorial Fund” in the memo line. SAF will also accept donations directly: The Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund for Arcadia Chorale

  • As always, we thank you for the many ways you support the Chorale, financial and otherwise. We couldn’t make our music without you! We hope you and your families are well—and we hope to see you online or in person soon!

Hannah Eastman

Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Fall 2021 - Spring 2022

First Row: Evelyn Munley, President; Hannah Eastman, scholarship recipient; Susan Minsavage, chair, Memorial Fund Committee


Second Row: Matthew Rupcich, Music Director; Samantha Schumacher, Mariane Ferrantino, Benjamin Collins, Memorial Fund Committee members


Not pictured: Martina Reid & Matt Socha, Memorial Fund Committee members

Arcadia Chorale awards

Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Scholarship

to

Hannah Eastman


Arcadia Chorale’s Memorial Fund Committee is delighted to announce we've awarded the Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Scholarships to Hannah Eastman. Hannah sings in our soprano section and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Chamberlain University, with the goal of becoming a Nurse Practitioner.

Hannah is employed by the Geisinger health system, where, in addition to providing patient care, she was recently promoted to a Clinical Coordinator position. She also teaches clinical practicum classes for local nursing students and serves as a Primary Preceptor, in which capacity she helps orient and mentor new nurses. She currently lives in Wilkes-Barre with her poodle, Charlie.

“Hannah’s continued commitment to the Chorale and to her studies exemplifies the spirit of the scholarship,” says Sue Minsavage, Memorial Fund chair and Board member. “She is very highly regarded by her professional colleagues and, of course, she is a deeply valued member of our Chorale family. We don’t know how she finds time to keep making music with us, but we’re so glad she does!”

Hannah has been a member of the Chorale since 2014, when our then-director, Steven, invited her to sing with the ensemble. At the time, Hannah was a choral student of Steven’s at Wilkes University, where she was pursuing her undergraduate nursing degree. She quickly established herself as a leader in her college choirs and worked to develop her own musicianship, even with the demands of her nursing curriculum.

“Hannah has sung with us since her days at Wilkes. It’s been wonderful to see and hear her growth over the years. Her appreciation and enthusiasm for the work we do is apparent,” says Evelyn Munley, Board President.

Though she is currently singing soprano for the Chorale, Hannah has also been one of our altos. This flexibility is characteristic of her. Our Music Director, Matthew Rupcich agrees: “Hannah approaches challenges with a positive attitude. She’s willing to jump in and help in any way she can. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her as a singer and as a person. We’re thrilled to be able to support her graduate education with this scholarship!”

Sue adds, “I had the privilege of announcing Hannah’s award at our December Christmas concerts. On a personal note, some of our supporters will know that Steven was my husband. I’ve known Hannah just about as long as he did. I couldn’t be more personally pleased that she is the first recipient of this scholarship in his name. I know he was very proud of Hannah’s accomplishments at Wilkes and beyond, as I continue to be.”

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating Hannah on her achievement and wish her well in her pursuits!

2022 - 2023 Memorial Fund Committee

Susan Minsavage, chair

Benjamin Collins

Mariane Ferrantino

Martina Reid

Matthew Rupcich

Samantha Schumacher

Matt Socha