COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A unique program this holiday season provided a group of central Ohio students an opportunity to participate in a youth internship program.

Opera Project Columbus, a non-profit arts foundation now in its sixth season, guides young operatic talent by offering a chance to work with mentors, under the direction of Maestro Alessandro Siciliani.

For the first time, “Project Intern” offered  19 Marysville area students, from elementary to high school age, a rare opportunity to work with professional mentors.

Chelsea Hart Melcher, Opera Project Columbus Development Director, said, “Students were able to intern behind the scenes, attend rehearsals, ask questions and consult with their mentor” in a Double Feature that played at Lincoln Theatre in November.

Mentors such as Joshua Cook, an OSU performing arts major, stressed that “learning the hard work that goes into being and artist, and not just the fun” is important advice for aspiring young performers both on stage and behind the curtain.

During the fall, interns and mentors were paired “based on interest areas and required to attend both pre-rehearsals and tech week,” according to the Opera Project Columbus New Intern Program guidelines.