Soprano Sara Schabas Wins IRCPA’s “Career Blueprint”





Soprano Sara Schabas of Toronto has been named recipient of a valuable “Career Blueprint”. 

The announcement was made Monday night at Zoomer Hall in Toronto after the concert New Singing Stars, featuring 11 young professional singers, presented by the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists (, and broadcast live on The New Classical FM with host Jean Stilwell.

As a result of receiving the Career Blueprint, Ms. Schabas, 28 (, will spend three days at the National Opera Center in New York, where new photographs, video and audio recordings, website consultation, mentoring with professionals, and more are provided

She was selected by internationally celebrated Canadian soprano Adrianne Pieczonka, who had worked with the singers beforehand in an Encounter, organized by the IRCPA.  Each singer had received a scholarship donated in the name of a renowned Canadian singer.  Sara Schabas had received hers in the name of the great soprano Lois Marshall (1924-97).  Schabas performed Sophie’s aria Mir ist die Ehre widerfahren  from Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier.

The singers, who all performed with pianist Rachel Andrist, were the following:

Sopranos:  Tonia Cianciulli, Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor,  Jocelyn Fralick, Beth Hagerman, Teiya Kasahara, Kathleen Promane, Sara Schabas, Rebecca Townsend

Mezzo-soprano:  Georgia Burashko

Tenors:  Zachary Rioux, John-Michael Scapin

In the audience were IRCPA founder and director Ann Summers Dossena, and special guest Joan Dornemann, well known, recently semi-retired iconic Metropolitan Opera coach.   Ms. Dornemann had encouraged artist manager Summers to found the IRCPA 35 years ago, and had come to Toronto to conduct several Encounters – in which both Pieczonka, Stilwell (a mezzo-soprano) and pianist Rachel Andrist had taken part early in their careers.  At the reception that followed the concert, Dornemann, Pieczonka and Summers all cut a special 35th anniversary cake. 

The selection of singers for the 2018 encounter and Singing Stars concert was made by the IRCPA’s vocal advisory group – all well experienced artists:  Adrianne Pieczonka, baritones Brett Polegato and Theodore Baerg, artist manager Kathy Domoney (also an IRCPA alumna), and master teacher Mary Morrison. 

Ann Summers Dossena founded the International Resource Centre for Performing Artists ( in 1983 as a non-profit, charitable organization, with the support and advice of  contralto Maureen Forrester and Arnold Edinborough, a founder of Business for the Arts.  Its goal is to assist Canada’s musicians to achieve sustainable, fulfilling careers that meet or exceed their goals.  Summers notes, “Once their formal training has been completed, singers and instrumentalists have to pay for their lessons, coaching, studio rentals and related expenses.  There can be a gap of up to five years between training and employment.  Meanwhile, the musicians’ costs have been rising dramatically.  They must now pay $1,000 to audition in New York.  What other industry requires such an outlay for a job interview?  With the IRCPA program, we have reduced the employment gap to as little as two years. 

Through its Encounters, workshops, round-table discussions and other programs, the IRCPA provides such resources as opportunities for musicians to keep skills sharpened, preparing new repertoire correctly, and learning where auditions are taking place or who and what employers are looking to hire.

Scholarships or other donations honoring an artist or arts worker in support of the IRCPA and its programs may be easily made at, or by telephone, 416-362-1422.  Tax receipts will be issued by the IRCPA or Canada Helps. 

The IRCPA acknowledges with thanks the support of the Ontario Arts Council, the Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation, the Canadian Opera Company, The 519, The New Classical FM, Remenyi House of Music, Qi Natural Food, Le Paradis, Barista & Chef, private donors, partners, sponsors and volunteers.


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