Southern Delaware Chorale selects two Lee Mitchell Scholars

November 14, 2023

Southern Delaware Chorale has selected two high school students to be this year’s recipients of the Lee Mitchell Scholarship. The scholarship was begun through an endowment given by the family of pianist and composer Lee Mitchell, who was commissioned by Richard Eckerd, former chorale director, to compose a piece titled, “Delaware: A Secular Oratorio,” which premiered in April 1996. The scholarship is designed to encourage high school singers to participate in community choral singing.

Winners of the scholarship are determined through an audition. They are awarded the opportunity to sing with the Southern Delaware Chorale, given vocal lessons for the year, provided with concert attire and featured as soloists at one of the chorale’s three yearly concerts.

This year’s recipients include Gina Garcia Perez, a student at Indian River High School who sings soprano with Southern Delaware Chorale. Gina has been singing for nine years and has been involved in many different choirs throughout her school years, including River Rhythms Acapella Choir and Tri-Music Honor Society Choir Group. In addition, she sings with her community church, Our Lady of Guadalupe. Through her scholarship, she is studying privately with Denise Adkins, a former music teacher in the Indian River School District.
Gina’s future plans include going to the University of Delaware to major in finance and minor in music. She hopes to join the choral groups offered at UD to keep up with her passion for music, which she enjoys sharing with her family and friends. Her desire is to go into real estate while continuing to look for ways to keep singing as a major focus in her life.

The second Lee Mitchel Scholar, Caliana Velasquez, also sings soprano with Southern Delaware Chorale. She attends Sussex Technical High School, where she sings in the Concert Choir as well as the Chamber Ensemble. Besides singing, she enjoys sketching and other visual arts, swimming, traveling and karaoke. She is currently her high school’s color guard captain and is part of the marching band. Caliana is studying voice with Sarah Cambidge, with whom she enjoys singing opera as well as classical and Broadway music. Caliana’s future plans include obtaining a license in cosmetology from Sussex Tech and going on to college to pursue music and musical theater. Her desire is to become an educator or director while continuing to perform.

Southern Delaware Chorale is very proud of these two young ladies and happy to assist them in their current musical endeavors while helping them prepare for their future musical pursuits. For details, go to


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