The Monmouth Civic Chorus awarded a total of $3000 to the winners of its 2015 scholarships for vocally talented New Jersey high school seniors. First Place went to Nicole Toms, Point Pleasant Borough, who was awarded $2000. Second Place was shared by Mary Roberts of Milford and Selena Siri of Parlin, who were each awarded $500.

First Place winner Nicole Toms attends Point Pleasant Borough High School, and plans to attend the Eastman School of Music. She won scholarships from the New Jersey All State Opera Festival and New Jersey All Shore Chorus, and was a finalist in the Algonquin Arts Rising Stars, Suburban Music Study Club and Montclair State Curtain Call Awards. Her musical training includes Oberlin Summer Vocal Academy and Walt Disney World Band and Color Guard Clinics. She has performed in choir, band, dance, drama, musical theater, show choir and vocal jazz, and volunteered with Cancer Walk and Relay for Life.

Second Place winner Mary Roberts attends Delaware Valley Regional High School, and plans to attend either Messiah College or Westminster Choir College of Rider University. She has sung with All-State Women’s Choir, All-State Mixed Choir, and Evangel Chapel Worship Team. She has volunteered at an animal shelter while working at a restaurant and maintaining a 3.67 grade point average. She also participates in drama club, yearbook, environmental club, peer leadership, volleyball, cross country, and track and field.

Sharing Second Place was Selena Siri, who attends Sayreville War Memorial High School, and plans to attend Westminster Choir College. She received First Place in the Doris Lenz Festival Competition held by the New Jersey National Association of Teachers of Singing. She has attended Middlesex County Arts High School, Rider University Musical Theatre Workshop, and Rutgers Musical Theatre Conservatory. She is a member of the National Honors Society and the Tri-M Music Honors Society. She volunteers for children with autism, brain injury and scoliosis, and enjoys competitive figure skating, cheerleading and art.

This year’s scholarship judges were Monmouth Civic Chorus Artistic Director Dr. Ryan Brandau; Director Emeritus William R. Shoppell, Jr.; Marina Alexander, Musical Director of the Arcadian Chorale; and Reid Masters, Artistic Director of the New Jersey Chamber Singers. The accompanists were Neil F. Brown, Director of Music Ministries, First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank; and Allan Robinson, Organist and Choirmaster at Trinity Episcopal Church, Red Bank.


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“Thanks to the generosity of chorus members, we were able to increase the funds for the scholarship” from $2500 to $3000, said Scholarship Committee Chair Jenni Blumenthal. Additional committee members were Arleen Faustina, Mary Pacheco, Clare Resnick, Teri Lindstrom, and Warren Moe.

Since 1970, the Monmouth Civic Chorus has awarded more than $55,000 in scholarships to New Jersey high school seniors of outstanding vocal promise. To learn more or to donate to the scholarship fund, call 732-933-9333 or visit

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...