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Local scholarship program grows for high school juniors, seniors

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The WMS 2016 Scholarship Program is open to all high school juniors and seniors and not based on college major, GPA, or tests scores.
Underwriting support from:

WMS 2016 Scholarship Details


  • To expose high school juniors and seniors to Gilbert & Sullivan, the arts, the social/political issues of Victorian England and how those issues relate to society today
  • To be an example of community, business, and school cooperation

 Scholarship Application and Submission

  • Any high school Junior or Senior in western Michigan may apply and no purchase is necessary
  • Students are encouraged to attend a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s, The Mikado, at the Wealthy Theatre and bring a parent, relative, or friend; however it is not a requirement
  • Students may attend the Thursday night performance (April 22, 2016) at no charge.  Just check in at the scholarship registration table located in the theater lobby and receive your application
  • Alternatively a student may attend another performance between April 22 and April 25, 2016, or study the show with a friend, parent, or relative.  Scholarship applications will be available at every performance
  • By May 7, 2016, you must submit your application form along with a paper (800 to 1200 words) including your thoughts and comments on the following points:
    • Your discussions with your Teacher Sponsor, other teachers, friends, and relatives about the show
    • Contrast your impressions of the show with one or more people you saw it or discussed it with
    • What political and/or social issues from Victorian England were brought out?
    • Elaborate on whether these issues exist in American society today
    • How did the show relate to a high school class you are taking such as English, History, Government, Literature, Music, or Drama? Include examples
  • Attach your signed application form to your paper and mail to:

West Michigan Savoyards
c/o Bob Hicks
7659 Pine Park SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49546

  • All submissions must be postmarked by May 7, 2016. No exceptions.
  • Properly signed electronic submissions can be sent to: [email protected]


  • Judging will be done by volunteers from the West Michigan Savoyards and/or area high schools
  • It is recognized that there may be many excellent papers submitted for a limited number of scholarships. Finalist and/or Honorable Mention awards will be given.  Judges decisions are final.



  • A minimum of one $1000 scholarship will be awarded which can be used to offset costs at the college, university, or trade school of the recipient’s choosing
  • Additional scholarships ranging from $100 to $500 will be awarded based upon participation and support from schools and businesses
  • Scholarship funding comes from the WMS general fund, patron donations, foundation grants, and local businesses
  • 100 percent of all student ticket revenue is applied to the WMS Scholarship fund regardless of whether the student applied for a scholarship

The West Michigan Savoyards is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization and all donations are fully tax deductible as allowed by law.

For additional information, please contact:

Bob Hicks
Email: [email protected]

West Michigan Savoyards is not a local household name, but their scholarship program is becoming well known to area high schools. The Savoyards have been putting on Gilbert & Sullivan performances each spring for 17 years and are now in their fourth year of offering college scholarships to area high school juniors and seniors.

Savoyard board member Bonnie Bailey says their mission is to enrich the community of Grand Rapids and West Michigan by continuing the tradition of producing Gilbert and Sullivan performances and making them available to seniors and students who might otherwise not be able to attend a live performance. “We’ve done a great job making these performances available to senior citizens, but haven’t done as well with students” says Bailey, who initiated the scholarship program.

Bailey says that the goal of the scholarship program is to expose high school juniors and seniors to Gilbert and Sullivan, the arts, the social/political issues of Victorian England and how those issues relate to society today. She continues, “The students who participate walk away with a wonderful understanding of Victorian England and how some basic society issues change or don’t change over time. They also see where the roots of satiric comedies such as Monty Python and Saturday Night Live came from.”

The educational experience is good, but many students also walk away with some money toward college for their effort. This year the Savoyards expect to award students with close to $3000 in scholarships ranging from $100 to $1000. 

To participate in this year’s program students are asked to attend the Savoyards’ production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s, "The Mikado" at the Wealthy Theatre April 21-24, 2016 and bring a parent, relative or friend. Any student attending the Thursday night show is allowed in free of charge.  Student ticket price for the other shows is only $9. 

After the performance students are encouraged to discuss the show with those they attended it with and also with their teachers. Bailey says that Government, History and Literature teachers who may not even be familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan are still good sounding boards regarding Victorian England or Gilbert’s topsy-turvy satire writing styles. Music and drama teachers are usually quite familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan comic musicals. After their discussions, students then submit their scholarship application along with a short paper on their thoughts and opinions about the show.

 One of the things both the schools and students like about this scholarship program is that it is open to all students. Bailey enthusiastically says, “What college you plan to attend, your college major, your GPA, and your ACT/SAT scores don’t matter. Just attend the show and express yourself in a thoughtful manner.  It is a local program which means the chances of winning a scholarship are very good.” Full details of the scholarship program along with show dates and times for "The Mikado" are on the Savoyards’ website.


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