VPA 2020 Student Awards

A list of VPA’s Student Award Winners!
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Performing Artist off the Year-Theatre

Emily Burke (2020) was nominated for her performance in the fall VPA production of The Moors, where she appeared in the role of Huldey. Emily is a Theatre Arts and English major and served this year as the President of the Onstagers Dramatic Society. Emily was also cast in the role of Gertrude McFuzz in the spring musical Seussical: The Musical which, unfortunately, had to be canceled when the college moved to remote learning.

Performing Artist of the Year-Music

Dillon Cloonan (2020) was nominated for his innovative concept and execution in his senior capstone project for his Contract Major in Music. Dillon’s project investigates the intersections between the musical styles of rock and rap. Drawing on his extensive and diverse musical knowledge, Dillon’s capstone yielded a well-researched academic thesis, as well as creative music composition work connecting the musical elements of these two styles.

David Raymond Visual Artist of the Year

Kevin Benkart (2020) was nominated for his creative blend of art and design in his senior project. His project brings mental health issues into dialogue producing two complementary artifacts. Kevin’s working process yielded both highly engaging visual work for a streetwear brand, as well as a thematically linked collection of songs.

Arts Event of the Year

The Merrimack College Christmas Concert (December 2019) featured the Merrimack Concert Band, Concert Choir, and Jazz Ensemble joining forces to present their annual musical celebration of the Christmas season in the Rogers Center. A second performance of the concert was added for the first time this year, due to audience demand. A benefit event for Lazarus House, all proceeds were donated to that organization to help with their food pantry, homeless shelter, and other services. Over $5,000 was raised at the concerts for these programs, a new record.


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