Foote Foundation Scholars

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Van-Anthoney Hall is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of North Carolina State University in Greensboro. He has extensive experience in Music Theater and commercial music and received numerous state grants for his work with children in the arts in North Carolina. He gave jazz concerts in Europe through his first year of study at SMU. Van performed the roles of the Magician in SMU’s production of The Consul, Kaspar in Deep Ellum Opera Theater’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors, Sporting Life in Porgy and Bess and Viper in Ain’t Misbehavin’. Upon receiving the MM in Voice from SMU, Mr. Hall moved to Louisiana where he served as Assistant professor of Voice at Southern University of Baton Rouge, LA and presented numerous recitals in collaboration with other artists from around the world. After several years on the faculty at Southern University, he returned to graduate study at the University of Illinois and received PhD in Music Education specializing in Curriculum and Aesthetic Instruction. Dr. Hall is Head of Voice at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he resides with his wife and four daughters.


1989: JIN YOUNG JANG, Bass

Jin Young Jang received the BM degree in voice from Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea and he completed the Artist Certificate from SMU. During his time in Dallas, he performed roles in Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors with Deep Ellum Opera Theater and The Consul with SMU. He also sang the role of Bartolo in The Magic Flute and in a number of recitals, concerts and oratorio performances throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Jin Young began work on the DMA in Voice at UCLA, but interrupted it to sing in the Young Artist Program at the Los Angeles Opera. He is married and living in the Los Angeles area with his wife, son and daughter and continues his singing career throughout the world.


1999-2001: RASHARD ALLEN, Tenor

Rashard Allen is a native of Philadelphia, PA and a graduate in voice from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He entered the MM and MSM programs in Voice and Sacred Music in 1998. Rashard was a very successful performer and teacher during his tenure at SMU. He taught privately, tutored students in music theory at SMU, sang oratorio performances throughout the Dallas Fort Worth area, and he also sang many solo recitals of sacred music. Rashard was appointed Director of the Music Ministry at the Northminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburg in the summer of 2001. He returned to the Dallas area in November of 2002 to sing in the premiere performance of a newly commissioned opera, David’s Atonement by Timothy Cutler and Hugh Weldon Moody at Austin College in Sherman, Texas. Rashard remains active in his singing. He is Minister of Music in a large Presbyterian church in Pittsburg, PA where he lives with his wife and two sons.


2001-2003: PAUL ANDRÈ DOUCET, Baritone

Paul André Doucet is a native of Lake Charles, Louisiana and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Southern University in Baton Rouge. He studied with Foote Scholar, Van-Anthoney Hall who persuaded him to continue his graduate studies with Professor Hill Moore at SMU where he completed the MM before beginning his career as a vocal music educator. Paul is in his tenth year of teaching in Texas. He is the former Head Choral Director at Skyline Center in the Dallas Independent School District and presently a Co-Director of choirs at the Highland Park High School. He is an active member of Texas Music Educators Association, Texas Choral Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference and the Dallas Music Educators Association. Paul has performed worldwide singing music of all genres and he is a highly sought after adjudicator and clinician for TMEA UIL events.


2003-2004: PATRICK TIKOLO, Bass-Baritone

Patrick Tikolo is from King Williams Town, South Africa and graduated from the University of Cape Town. He earned his Artist Certificate from SMU and the MM. Patrick was active as a soloist with orchestras throughout the southwest. He sang the roles of Inquisitor in The Gondoliers and Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro with the SMU Opera Theater. Before returning to his native South Africa to teach, Patrick sang the roles of Crown and Porgy in the Artist Certificate productions of Porgy in Bess in Dallas and on tour in South Africa. Patrick was an apprentice artist in the U.S. in El Paso, Texas Opera, Houston Ebony Opera, and also in Europe, in the Orvieto, Italy Opera Lirica and the Benjamin Britten-Peter Pears School for Advanced Singers in England. Professor Patrick Tikolo is presently the Chair of Voice at the University of Cape Town, South Africa where he is the first black on the tenured faculty in the UCT School of Music.


2004-2005: LIONEL MKHWANAZI, Tenor

Lionel Mkhwanazi is from Soweto, South Africa. He completed his undergraduate studies in opera at the University of Cape Town and the Artist Certificate and MM at SMU. He won Second Place in the National Opera Association Competition in Philadelphia, Second Place in the Shreveport Opera Competition, and the Encouragement Award in the Dallas Opera Competition. Lionel was an Affiliate Artist with the El Paso Opera Young Artist Program and sang the role of Tamino in their production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The following spring, he sang the principal tenor role in a new opera production, She Never Lost a Passenger, about the Underground Railroad, presented by the Shreveport Opera. He sang a principal role in The Gondoliers, the role of Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess and Nemorino in SMU’s production of Donizetti’s Elixir of Love. Professor Mkhwanazi is Chair of Voice at the Opera School and Choral Arts College at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa.


2005-2006: CONROY CUPIDO, Tenor

Conroy Cupido received the BM from Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, the Honors Certificate in Opera from the University of Cape Town, the Master of Music and Artist Certificate from SMU, and the DMA from the University of North Texas. He sang the role of Don Basilio in the SMU production of The Marriage of Figaro, the role of Sportin’ Life in all four performances of the South African tour of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and the role of Nemorino in Donizetti’s Elixir of Love, a role he repeated many times. He sang in concert with the Fort Worth Symphony and as an Apprentice Artist in the Utah Opera Summer Opera Program. Dr. Cupido is presently Chair of Voice at the University of Northwest in Potchefstroom, South Africa.


2006-2007: PHANDULWAZI MASETI, Tenor

Phandulwazi Maseti graduated with a Performer’s Diploma in Opera from the University of Cape Town College of Music where he studied voice with Dr. Brad Liebl and opera with Professor Angelo Gobatto. During his study at UCT Phandulwazi was featured as Conte Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Vasek in The Bartered Bride, Arturo in Lucia di Lammemoor, Pang in Turandot and Jaquino in Fidelio. He was a semi-finalist in the Neue-Stimmen International Competition in Germany and was invited to the Neue-Stimmen International master-class series with Francisco Araiza, Katia Ricciarreli, Siegfried Jerusalem and Gustav Kuhn. Phandulwazi performed the role of Oronte in Alcina with Cape Town Opera. After coming to Dallas, Phandulwazi sang the roles of Nemorino in the SMU Opera production of Donizetti‘s L’elisir D’amore and Peter Quint in the production of Britten’s The Turn of the Screw. He was Second Place winner of the Dallas Opera Guild Competition. He was also a Finalist in the Houston Opera Young Artist Program. Phandulwazi was named as one of the four Young Artists for two years with the Dallas Opera/SMU Emerging Artists Program. He was also a Young Artist in the Houston Ebony Opera Young Artist Program. Phandulwazi continues to perform in South Africa and throughout Europe.


2007-2008: MHLABA BUTHELEZI, Tenor

Mhlaba Buthelezi is from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa where he received the Bachelor of Music degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2006.. He received the Master of Music from Southern Methodist University. Among his operatic roles are Ferrando in Così fan tutte, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail and the Witch in Hansel and Gretel, numerous leading roles in the Meadows Opera Gala and the First Sailor in Dido and Aeneas. In concert he has sung Bach’s Magnificat, Mozart’s Requiem, and Haydn’s Missa in Angustiis. Mhlaba was a member of the Dallas Opera Emerging Artists Program. Professor Buthelezi taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for four years before accepting the position he currently holds on the faculty of Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria.


2008-2010: RICHARD CALVIN ODOM, Tenor

Richard Calvin Odom is a native of South Carolina, received the BM in vocal performance from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and the MM in Voice and the MM in Choral Conducting from SMU. He is a singer, composer, pianist, and conductor whose distinctions include receiving the Magnolia Lewis Butts Piano Scholarship Award, the Annual Waljo People’s Choice Award in singing and the National Association of Negro Business Women’s Leontyne Price Vocal Arts Competition. Richard was Director of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters Children’s Chorus in Dallas, and annual conducting clinician for the African American Sacred Music Festival in Orangeburg, South Carolina, a position he holds today. After graduating from SMU in May 2010, Odom returned to Washington DC as Associate Minister of Music of Reid Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church and adjunct professor and Director of Choral Activities of the University of the District of Columbia. Soon thereafter, he joined the faculty of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Georgetown as instructor of conducting, voice, and music theory. He also boasts a nearly 25-year tenure as background singer for national recording artist, Stephanie Mills.


2011-2013: JEAWOOK LEE, Tenor

JeaWook Lee received the Bachelor of Music degree from Seoul National University in 2009. He entered the Performance Diploma program in fall, 2011 and in that same year, JeaWook was a Finalist in the Regional Competition of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. In summer 2012, he sang the role of Tamino in The Magic Flute in Amalfi Coast Music Festival production in Naples, Italy. JeaWook sang the role of Don Basilio in the SMU Opera Theater productions of The Marriage of Figaro in 2012, and in the February 2013 production of Albert Herring, he performed the role of Mayor. He completed the Performance Diploma in May 2013 and was named Young Artist with the “Dallas Opera To Go” project. JeaWook has been a Finalist in the National Opera Association Competition and is again a Finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Competition to be held in March 2014. He began study in the Masters Degree program in fall 2013 as a student of Clifton Forbis.



Njabluo Mthimkulu received the Performance Diploma from SMU in May 2012.  He is a native of Durban, South Africa and a graduate of the Cape Town University College of Music. His university performances include the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro, Gulielmo in Cosi fan tutte and the title role in Don Giovanni. He worked professionally with the Cape Town Opera singing the roles of de Bretigny in Massenet’s Manon, Ntsizi in Huyssen’s Masque, and Marullo in Verdi’s Rigoletto.  He recently sang the male lead of Jean in the Swedish Opera’s premier of Boesmans’ Julie in Malmo, Sweden.  At SMU, Njabulo has sung the roles of Jupiter in Orpheus in the Underworld by Jules Offenbach, the role of Count Almaviva in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and the role of Sid in Albert Herring.  He was the concerto competition winner in his first year of study at SMU. Njabulo recently completed the role of the father in Bizet’s Le docteur Miracle and he will begin his third year as Young Artist with the “Dallas Opera To Go” project. Njabulo is presently teaching on the faculty of Nelson Mandela University in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa and he will collaborate with Professor Hill Moore for the SMU Study Abroad summer musical theater productions beginning 2019.


2014-2017: LANGELIHLE MNGXATI, Bass Baritone

Langelihle Mngxati is a native of South Africa, born and educated in KwaZulu-Natal. He received the Bachelor of Arts in Voice from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban. Mngxati obtained his first operatic role as a sophomore in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi as Simone. His oratorio repertoire includes performances of Handel’s Messiah and Haydn’s Missa Sanctae Caecilliae as a bass soloist. Mngxati began graduate study in the US in 2014 at Southern Methodist University with the Performance Diploma, earned in December 2016. He has performed the role of Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Olin Blitch in Floyd’s Susannah, Dulcamara in Donizetti’s L’elisir D’amore and he will sing Melisso in Handel’s Alcina in February 2018. As one of the opera scholars in the Dallas Opera Outreach Program, Mngxati has performed the role of Belcore (2014) in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Colas (2015-2016) in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne and Vertigo (2017-2018) in Offenbach’s Pepito. He is a December 2017 candidate for the Masters in Voice from SMU.


2015-2018: NDUMISO NYOKA, Tenor

Ndumiso Nyoka was born in Ladysmith, South Africa. He received the Bachelor of Practical Music Degree with Honors from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in Durban. During his study in South Africa, Ndumiso sang the roles of Gherardo in Puccini’ Gianni Schicchi, Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Lt. Joseph Cable in Rogers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific and Tony in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. During study for the Performer’s Diploma earned in May 2017 from Southern Methodist University, Ndumiso sang the role of Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and reprised the roles of Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte and Tony in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. He performed the role of Renuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in Amalfi Italy in July 2017 and will sing Oronte in the 2018 Meadows Opera production of Handel’s Alcina. Ndumiso is honored to have participated in the opening 67-minute launch of the Nelson Mandela Day celebration in Paris on July 18, 2013. He is one of the Dallas Opera Outreach Program’s opera scholar since 2016 and sang the role of Bastien in Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne through the 2016-2017 academic years and is currently singing Miguel in Offenbach’s Pepito through the 2017-2018 academic years. Ndumso is the 2016 First Place Winner of the Graduate Men’s Division of the TEXOMA Region Competition sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing and in November 2017 was named the TEXOMA NATS Artist Award winner. Ndumiso Nyoka is a 2019 candidate for the Master of Music in Voice Performance from SMU where he studies with Professor Barbara Hill Moore.



Baritone Lawrence Mitchell-Matthews has sung with orchestras and opera companies throughout the Midwest, including the South Bend, Indiana Symphony, the Chautauqua, New York Symphony and others. Opera roles include Malatesta in Donizetti’s Don Pasqulale, the title role of Porgy in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Demetrius from Britten’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, Belcore in Donizetti’s Elixir of Love. Lawrence also performed in the world premiere of Opera As You Like It by Roger Steptoe based on the play by Shakespeare. He has won many prestigious competitions including First Prize, the Thomas Wilkins Young Artist of Tomorrow Award, named after the African American conductor in residence for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, 2012 local Classical Singer competition in South Bend, numerous competitions sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) including Second Place in the 2016 Graduate Men’s Division of the Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico (TEXOMA) Region Competitions. Lawrence received the Bachelor of Music Degree from Indiana University at South Bend and is presently a 2018 candidate for the Master of Music Degree in Voice Performance from Southern Methodist University.



was born in Colima, Mexico and received a prestigious scholarship from the International Society of Mexican Artistic Values (SIVAM) to study music at the Instituto Universitario de Bellas Artes (IUBA, University of Fine Arts) under the tutelage of Enrique Patrón de Rueda. Ricardo was a finalist in the Concurso Internacional de Canto Sinaloa 2016 (International Voice Competition of Sinaloa) and winner of the “Colegio de Sinaloa” prize, as well as a Finalist in the 2016 National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Competition. His opera roles include Il Commendatore in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in Mazatlan, Sinaloa; Zuniga in Bizet’s Carmen with the Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado; Simone in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi; Friar Laurence in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet and Bartolo in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with the 2016 Amalfi Coast Festival. He is very active in the Meadows Opera program, singing the role of Dulcamara in the 2017 production of Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and in 2018, Melisso in Handel’s Alcina. Ricardo is one of the opera scholars in the Dallas Opera Outreach Program and is covering the role of Vertigo (2017-2018) in Offenbach’s Pepito. He will sing in concerts in 2017 with the Plano Symphony and the San Angelo Symphony and Ricardo will sing in 2017 and 2018 in the Dallas Opera Orchestra Donizetti and Company concerts. Ricardo is a May 2018 candidate for the Performer’s Diploma in Voice in at Southern Methodist University.


2016-2017 ESEWU NOBELA, Tenor

Esewu Nobela was born in Witbank Mpumalanga where he went to high school and developed the love of music and singing. He earned the Bachelor of Music in Performance from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2012 and the Performer’s Diploma in 2013 from the University of Cape Town. During his study at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Esewu won a number of competitions including 1st Prize in the First Year’s Competition in Italian. He was also cast in the roles of Tamino in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Rinuccio in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Rudolfo in La Boheme, Tony in West Side Story and Cetswayo in Ziyankomo composed by Phelelani Mnomiya. As a member of the Cape Town Opera Company, Esewu was cast as Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni under the baton of Prof. Kamal Khan and directed by Mathews Wild, Don Curzio in Le Nozze di Figaro under the baton of Jeremy Silver, directed by Christen Cruise, Basilio in Le Nozze di Figaro under the baton of Jeremy Silver, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet under the baton of Kamal Khan, Man with Old Luggage in Postcard from Morocco under the baton of Phillip Brunelle and directed by Alan Swerdlow, Crap Man and Nelson in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in Bordeaux, France under the baton of Tim Murray and Conte di liebenskof in Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims under the baton of Kamal Khan. In 2015, Esewu also sang in performances of the Festival Internationale Opera Werkstatt in Basel, Bern, Sigriswil and Zürich, Switzerland.


2017-2019: ANGÉLICA MATA ESPARZA, Mezzo Soprano

ANGÉLICA MATA ESPARZA is from Sinaloa, Culiacan Mexico. She holds degrees in Technical studied of Choral Singing from the Escuela Superior de Musica de Sinaloa (ESUM-ISIC) and afterwards continued studies for the BM at the Escuela Superior de Musica of Bellas Artes in Mexico City where she studied in with Amelia Sierra. She is currently enrolled in the first semester of study in the Performers Diploma at SMU. Angélica has performed the role of Stephano in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliette, Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the 2nd Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen. She was the 1st place Female Voice Winner of the 7th International Voice Competition of Sinaloa in 2015, won 2nd place at Maritza Aleman competition and she was also a Finalist of Carlo Morelli National Competition. Angélica is the Winner of the Marchande de journaux in the production of Les Mamelles di Tiresias by Francis Poulenc. She sang the contemporary opera Apoidea by José Miguel Delgado in 2015 and she is a fellow of the program SIVAM in Mexico City. In August 2016, Angélica made her international debut in recital at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, in Moscow Russia, and represented Mexico in the International Arts Festival entitled, Bringing Friends Together. In summer of 2017, Angélica sang the role of Gianetta in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and in November 2017, Angélica won First Place in the TEXOMA (Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico) Region Competition sponsored by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS).