Dallas student receives scholarship to pursue her dream as vocalist at UNT's College of Music
DENTON (UNT), Texas – A Dallas native and music performance sophomore in UNT's College of Music received a $6,000 annually renewable scholarship that will allow her to pursue her dream career in opera and on the stage.
The youngest of five children, Chabely Rodriguez attended Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She completed her freshman year at the University of North Texas in May 2014. It was important to Rodriguez and her family that she continue her education, though they knew it would be tough with all of her siblings currently attending college (two brothers are currently enrolled in UT-Arlington and Texas Woman's University and two sisters are currently enrolled in Texas Woman's University and Southern Methodist University). With her father as the sole wage earner for the family, Rodriguez was unsure how she could continue to afford her education.
"Obtaining a university degree means everything to my parents," Rodriguez said. "My parents are both from Mexico. Emerging in Dallas, they found better opportunities here. My parents struggle and work hard for our family. They want the best for us and they both expect us to attain degrees and have the higher level education that they did not."
Rodriguez's voice professor, Carol Wilson, told her about the Texas Association of Music Schools' Clara Freshour Nelson Music Scholarship, which is renewable for up to seven semesters. In early June, Rodriguez found out that she had been chosen to receive the scholarship, which requires second semester freshman music students in good standing to submit an audio recording, letter of recommendation and an essay that addresses their educational and professional goals. Scholarships are given to students at public and private universities as well as two-year colleges.
"When I found out, I was in complete shock. I was fulfilled," said Rodriguez, who will be able to use the money for tuition, books, university housing and to enhance her educational experience. "I am so thankful I have this scholarship. Now I do not have to worry about getting loans or working in school. I will have even more time to focus on my music, voice studies, and academic classes in the College of Music at UNT. I also plan to attend vocal programs to get instruction and travel to acquire vocal knowledge from various coaches. Dr. Carol Wilson directs a summer vocal program in Italy and with the money from this scholarship I hope to go next year."
It was on a previous trip to Italy that Rodriguez had what she called a life-changing experience. She went with her high school varsity choir and performed in various Catholic churches in the country.
"It was the best experience, visiting a different country where the culture, food and music are unique," Rodriguez said. "It's nice to visit another country and see people who admire the importance of music. It motivates me as a musician."
Rodriguez said receiving the scholarship was an unexpected blessing that will enable her to pursue her dream career, which she believes all college students should do.
"There was a moment in my life where I was thinking about giving up on my dreams, but I prayed and kept faith to be strong and continue," Rodriguez said. "Never give up on your education, no matter what you choose to do. Any venture in life is achievable as long as you hold faith, trust and passion."
About the UNT College of Music
The UNT College of Music is one of the largest and most respected comprehensive music schools in the country. More than 1,600 music students attend UNT each year, participating in more than 50 widely varied ensembles and pursuing specialized studies in performance, composition, music education or music scholarship. UNT faculty members and students have made appearances on the world's finest stages and have produced numerous recordings, many receiving Grammy awards and nominations. Distinguished UNT alumni can be found around the globe, in top music ensembles, opera companies, universities and schools.