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Emerging Artist Program

Bach Roots Festival announces the 2nd Annual Emerging Artist Program for aspiring professional singers whose socio-cultural identities have historically been excluded in Baroque music. The week long program takes place June 18-24 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN and includes professional solo and chorister experience, vocal coachings and mentorship, compensation, travel stipend, and lodging accommodations. Applications are now closed.

2023 Program Overview 

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2023 Emerging Artists

2022 Emerging Artists

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2023 Emerging Artists BIOS

Amber Cierra Merritt | Soprano

Praised for her “exquisitely beautiful tone and faultless intonation” and “masterful performing” (Tuesday Musicale Detroit), soprano Amber Cierra Merritt has garnered a rich career across multiple genres. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, Merritt’s operatic stage experience includes a large array of works, including Edmonia in the world premiere of William Banfield’s Edmonia, 1st Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflote, the Sparrow in Okoye’s Bre’r Rabbit and the Tar Baby, and Little Emile (cover) in Blanchard’s Champion at the Kennedy Center. 

Merritt’s extensive and vibrant concert portfolio has brought collaborations as the featured soloist for two PBS Specials United in Song: Celebration of American Roots and One Voice: American Roots in 2021. This spring, Merritt will be debuting with the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra as the title role in Edmonia. In the summer of 2021, Merritt was a solo artist in recordings for An Anthology of African & African Diaspora Songs, which are featured on Thomas Hampson’s Song of America and the African Diaspora Project websites. 

Recently, Merritt has won numerous awards and competitions, such as 1st Place in NATS: Spiritual Category at the National Level, 1st Place in NATS: Advanced Category & Spiritual Category at the Great Lakes Regional Level, and 3rd Place in the Pleiades Projects’ Black Brilliance Competition. 

Merritt is currently in the final year of her Specialist in Music in Vocal Performance at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theater, & Dance, where she graduated with her Master’s Degree in 2021, as a student of Dr. Louise Toppin. Merritt received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance in 2019 at the University of Maryland, College Park, under the tutelage of Jennifer Casey Cabot. In addition to Amber’s dynamic stage and concert success, she also has experience as an audio engineer and producer. Her keen musicianship has made her a versatile vocalist not only in classical music, but also in R&B and jazz. Amber hopes to fuse together her love of R&B and opera to create an exciting new genre for audiences to enjoy.

Victor Bento | Countertenor

Victor Bento is a countertenor from Brazil. He holds a degree in Music Education from the Federal University of Paraná and a Master's degree in Musicology from the same university. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Voice Performance from the Paraná School of Music and Fine Arts. He is currently a master's student in Music Performance - Voice at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst in the US. He studied with important singers such as: Denise Sartori (Brazil), María Cristina Kiehr (Switzerland), Rodrigo del Pozzo (Chile), Carol McDavitt (USA/Brazil), Eliane Coelho (Brazil), Michael Chance (England) and Sophie Daneman (England).


Some works as a soloist include: Stabat Mater by G. B. Pergolesi; the opera The Magic Flute by W. A. Mozart, performed at Teatro Guaíra with OSEMBAP; Motets by J. S. Bach with the Camerata Antiqua de Curitiba in Sala São Paulo; St. John Passion by J. S. Bach; The Messiah by G. F. Haendel in Porto Alegre and Socrates by E. Satie at Theatro São Pedro in São Paulo. He was first prize winner of the Linus Lerner International Singing Competition - Brazil 2020 Edition and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition - New England 2023.

2022 Emerging Artists BIOS

Rozime Lindsey | Baritone


Originally from Philadelphia, Rozime is currently studying voice performance and music education at Boston University under the tutelage of Penelope Bitzas. Previously, Rozime served as an intern with the Philly Pops, helping the organization integrate music education into public schools and to facilitate the Pops' 40th anniversary season. After his internship with the Pops, he decided to dive deeper into the non-profit organization scene. He now serves as an intern with Juventas New Music Ensemble, developing an outreach/educational program for the ensemble, called ‘Juventas U.’ He also serves as a Program Associate and Voice Teacher for Through the Staff, which is an organization that provides free music private lessons to students from ages eight to eight-teen. As an artist, Rozime has had the opportunity to perform for President Joe Biden and Pope Francis. He has also performed numerous concerts under the baton of Yannick Nezet-Seguin of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Metropolitan Opera. Besides performing, Rozime enjoys hiking and cruising around the various coffee shops in Boston.


Jonathan May | Countertenor


Jonathan May, countertenor performs regularly with ensembles such as Ensemble VIII, Early Music New York, Mark Morris Dance Group, and The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys. He most recently performed as an alto soloist in Bach’s Saint Matthew Passion with the Saint Thomas Choir and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street. He also appeared as soloist in cantatas BWV 70, 147 and Bach’s Magnificat with Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity, and was one of the countertenors featured in GEMS’s Open Gates Project: Countertenors, a Consort, and Continuo. He holds a degree in music and economics from Dartmouth College.  


Sarah Rosales | Soprano


Sarah Rosales is a Salvadoran-American coloratura soprano who is notably known for her performance of the U.S national anthem for the 7th Presidential Democratic Debate in January of 2020. The event led her to make history as the first Salvadoran individual to perform on CNN International LIVE. Her operatic roles include Mozartian characters such as Königin der Nacht (Die Zauberflöte), and Despina (Così fan tutte). In her musical theater work she has starred in roles such as Woman 2 (Songs for a New World) and Magenta (Rocky Horror Picture Show).  Sarah has worked with and been recognized by many opera and musical theater professionals including Deborah Voigt, Michael Spyers, Michael Heaston, Chris Mann, Telly Leung, Laura Benanti, Shoshana Bean, Erica Spyers, and film star Jennifer Garner. In addition, she is a recipient of many awards from organizations and companies such as Opera Mississippi, The Schubert Club, National Society of Arts and Letters, Musicians Club of Women, and The Edvard Grieg Society of Minnesota.

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