Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund

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

Arcadia Chorale congratulates the recipient of our 

Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Scholarship:

Jesse Dunaway

Matthew Rupcich, Music Director; Mariane Ferrantino, Scholarship Committee Member; Jesse Dunaway, Scholarship Recipient; Susan Minsavage, Chair, Memorial Fund Committee

Arcadia Chorale awards Fall 2023 Scholarship 

Arcadia Chorale’s Memorial Fund Committee was thrilled to award the Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Scholarships to Jesse Dunaway.


Jesse joined the ensemble this past fall after relocating to the NEPA region. He sang in our bass section – and sometimes our tenor section! – as he remotely pursued his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from North Dakota State University. In addition to his work as a section singer with the Chorale, he was a featured singer on our fall Spirituals in Concert program. Earlier this summer, he presented his culminating lecture-recital as part of his final degree requirements; many of our Chorale colleagues sang under his direction for that performance.   

"Last fall, Jesse quickly became an active member of the NEPA music community," says Sue Minsavage, Memorial Fund Chair. "In addition to his considerable musical talents, he brings a wonderfully open and engaged attitude to all he does. He will undoubtedly bring excellence to the field of choral music as a conductor and educator. His commitment to his own education is perfectly aligned with the spirit of the Scholarship."

Our Music Director, Matthew Rupcich, agrees: "Jesse's musicianship and voice are assets to our ensemble, but he's also a wonderful colleague. We couldn't be happier that he's part of our Arcadia Chorale family!"


Jesse recently accepted a full-time position as a music faculty member at Bethel University in Tennessee. Though we’re sad to see him go, we’re glad to have been part of his musical and academic journey and wish him all the best in this new stage of his career.


Please join us in congratulating Jesse! 

Arcadia Chorale congratulates the recipients of our 

Fall 2022 & Spring 2023 Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Scholarships:

Hannah Eastman and John Kear

Marshall Kornblatt, Distinguished Founding Sponsor of the Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund; Hannah Eastman, Spring 2023 scholarship recipient; Susan Minsavage, Chair, Memorial Fund Committee

Matthew Rupcich, Music Director; Evelyn Munley, President; Hannah Eastman and John Kear, Fall 2022 scholarship recipients; Susan Minsavage, Chair, Memorial Fund Committee

Learn more about Hannah and John 

Arcadia Chorale’s Memorial Fund Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the Fall 2022 Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Scholarship are Hannah Eastman and John Kear. Hannah is also our Spring 2023 awardee.

“Thanks to the remarkable generosity of our singers, board and community of supporters, this semester we’re awarding two scholarships in Steven’s name,” says Memorial Fund chair, Sue Minsavage. “We couldn’t be happier to acknowledge both Hannah’s and John’s accomplishments.”

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. John sings in our bass section and is a student at Marywood University, where he is pursuing his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education.

Both Hannah and John have been exemplary members of the Chorale this fall. As valued members of the ensemble, their voices add much to our sound. Similarly, their enthusiasm adds much to our camaraderie and sense of musical citizenship.  


These student singers are already seen as leaders in their chosen fields; their attention to their academic and professional commitments is mirrored by their attention to their work with the Chorale. Our Music Director, Matthew Rupcich, says, “Hannah is a rock-solid chorister, and John is a wonderful new addition to the bass section.” The Chorale’s President, Evelyn Munley, adds, “I am grateful for their dedication and contributions to the ensemble’s success.”

Hannah has been a member of the Chorale since 2014, when our then-director, Steven, invited her to sing with the ensemble. She is employed by the Geisinger health system, where she recently accepted a position as a Labor and Delivery nurse. As part of her overall training as a healthcare provider, Hannah is keen on learning a broad range of skills related to family health. This fall, she has engaged in numerous classes related to postpartum and neonatal care while continuing to provide nursing care at bedside.  

John is new to the ensemble, having joined for the 2022–2023 concert season. He decided to audition after enjoying his experience singing as a community member at our Summer Sing! event last June. John completed his student teaching in the Old Forge School District this fall and recently presented his senior degree recital on his major instrument, clarinet. A versatile musician, he is active as an instrumental instructor and can be heard locally as a member of the rock band, Room 108.

“Hannah and John are dedicated to their growth as musicians and young professionals,” says Sue. “They are well-respected by their colleagues in all their endeavors, musical and otherwise. We're fortunate to have them share their talents with the Chorale and our audiences!”

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating Hannah and John on their achievements and wish them well in their pursuits.


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 students who sing with Arcadia Chorale and who best demonstrate the commitment to musicianship and continued learning that is central to Dr. Thomas's legacy. Recipients must be current members of the Chorale in good standing and must meet all eligibility requirements set forth by the Memorial Fund Committee. 

The application for the Spring 2024 scholarship is now open. Deadline to apply is April 26. For access to the application, contact the Memorial Fund Committee: scholarship@arcadiachorale.org 


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

Support for the Memorial Fund comes from individual donations, which are accepted year-round. 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

117 S State St #150

Clarks Summit, PA 18411

We gratefully acknowledge the contributions we receive 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. 

Current season donors to the Memorial Fund are listed in our concert programs. We hope you'll join us so we may thank you in person!

We also extend our gratitude to our Founding Donors, whose contributions to the Memorial Fund during the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons allowed us to endow the Fund with the Scranton Area Community Foundation.


Arcadia Chorale Establishes Endowment for the 

Dr. Steven Thomas Memorial Fund

2023 - 2024 Memorial Fund Committee

Susan Minsavage, chair

Benjamin Collins

Mariane Ferrantino

Martina Reid

Matthew Rupcich

Samantha Schumacher

Matt Socha