Southern Maryland Music Presenter, Go-DIVA! Productions, Inc. recently awarded $5,800 to five members of the Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra as a result of their successful application to the S. Wayne Cooper Go-DIVA! Youth Music Award. Applicants were required to answer questions about their chosen instrument, their musical studies, and write an essay describing their musical goals, achievements, musicians who inspire them, and how assistance from the award would specifically help them to achieve their goals. The 2014 award winners are; Kyra Aragon, Ben Ausenbaugh, Emma Carrigg, Sam Coronado, and Lisa Sipe. Each will receive funds to cover their SMYOrch tuition fee, several months of private lesson fees, and in one case, pay the remaining balance to purchase a rented instrument.

An awards ceremony honoring the recipients will take place at the beginning of SMYOrch’s first concert of the 2014-2015 season, to be held on Sat. November 15 at 6pm at Chopticon High School auditorium.  Jennifer Cooper, President/CEO of GDPinc, will present the awards. “I only wish I could see the expressions on the faces of the students and parents when they receive their award announcement in the mail, but I’ll settle for their smiles on November 15!”, said Cooper at a recent meeting with SMYOrch President, Julia Nichols, and Treasurer, Elizabeth Price.  Nichols agreed that these awards will be “a huge help” to the recipients, who work so diligently and have such a strong passion for music.

The S. Wayne Cooper Go-DIVA! Youth Music Award was established as the result of a fundraising event, “Go-DIVA!” Act III: The Swan Takes Flight”, a full length multi-genre, multi-media cabaret scripted by Artistic Producer and playwright, LB Hamilton, which was held on March 29-30 at Grace Lutheran Family Life Center in LaPlata,MD.  The event, presented by GDPinc in partnership with SMYOrch, was sponsored by Rotary Club of LaPlata, Agape Auto, Lord George Robinson, Robert E. Plant of Blue Wind Gourmet, plus other private donors, and featured performances by Jennifer Cooper, Abbe Levin, GrooveSpan, and several other musicians, including members of SMYOrch.  The purpose of the award is to support deserving, talented youth musicians as well as quality youth music education programs in the Tri-County area.

Southern Maryland Youth Orchestra is a non-profit organization committed to nurturing and developing young, talented musicians (grades 6-12) in a quality orchestral program.  Its calendar year runs August-May, with concerts offered in November and May. Contact Julia Nichols at 301-997-0079,, or visit Go-DIVA! Productions, Inc. provides entertainment for public and private events, ranging from concerts that feature jazz, blues, pop, rock, opera and musical theater, to original showcases that highlight specific artists, eras or themes.  Its core mission is to continue to advocate for the growth and support of the arts, especially among talented youth.  Visit or write to