Sky's the limit
Opera singer Sky Ingram's burgeoning international career has been made possible, in part, through a bequest.
Sky, who graduated with an Honours degree in Music from the University of Adelaide in 2006, was one of the first three recipients of the George Boland Scholarship, given to Elder Conservatorium of Music graduates to further their studies internationally.
The scholarship is derived from a bequest left to the University to commemorate George's name by his widow, Josephine Patricia Boland. Both George and Patricia were lovers of opera, and in particular Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling.
Sky said the scholarship came at a very important time in her development, after she had sung at the Sydney Opera House in 2008 for the final of the Australian Singing Competition and won a prize for one year's study in London.
"I felt two things: excitement and fear," she said. "Excitement at the amazing opportunity ahead, and also fearing about how I would raise enough money to live in London. Opportunities like this need to be taken when you have the chance, but that doesn't always mean you will have the funds to support yourself and make it happen.
"The George Boland Scholarship allowed me not only to live in London during my first year at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, but it allowed me to embrace the music culture of the city.
"I was able to go to numerous operas and concerts, see some of the best singers in the world perform on some of the world's best stages, pay for lessons with some of the UK's leading vocal coaches, improve my language skills with private tuition, and come to understand the expectations ahead for a professional opera singer."
Elder Conservatorium of Music Director Carl Crossin said bequests - of any size - can make a big difference to the lives of young musicians.
"The George Boland Scholarship came from a large bequest, but there are also many smaller-scale scholarships we offer from bequests that can have just as much of an impact," he said.
"For many talented students leaving high school, obtaining an undergraduate scholarship can literally be the difference between being able to attend university or not."
Sky has just begun a new two-year opera course at Guildhall, after which she hopes to secure an agent and further her career.
"I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to study over here and especially to have all the support of family, friends and sponsors.
"Without those three, it would be near impossible to become an international opera singer at any†level." ■
Story Ben Osborne