Jillian Tate was not expecting to win the Samuel Waters Memorial Award on the Strathmore Stage at The Circle of Life: The Songs of Tim Rice performance, but she did. We sat down with her to hear more about how she plans on using it, and her hopes for the future.

Congrats on your win. Were you expecting it?

Thank you! I was not expecting to win a scholarship at all. It was an absolute shock, but I was incredibly grateful. 

Do you know what you will be doing next year? Tell us a bit more about your plans and how you expect to use the scholarship.

Next year I plan to begin college pursuing an undergraduate degree in vocal performance. I'm very excited to say I've been admitted to multiple schools with great vocal programs, although I haven't decided on a school yet.  Being a musician is an expensive profession, so I plan to use the scholarship towards purchasing a laptop for my studies. 

Tell us about your experiences with YAA. 

In my first YAA show, I was cast as Andrea in their Summer Intensive production of Once on This Island.  It was a great program where I was challenged, developed strong friendships, and strengthened my skills. Since then I've performed with YAA as Emma in Jekyll & Hyde in Concert, Glinda in The Wizard of Oz in Concert, and was a soloist in The Circle of Life

What has been your memory from your experiences at YAA?

From my experience, YAA is a very welcoming and fair organization. It's an organization where talented students who are serious about music can be involved in a professional production while having fun in the process. Not only have I gotten to work with professionals in the business, but I've also met some of my best friends through YAA.