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Friends’ choose Music Fellows

By Staff | Feb 16, 2014

Nine students have been rewarded for their hard work via The Friends of Music at Shepherd University. The nine have been selected as Friends Fellows and have been awarded scholarships by the FOM group. The scholarship can be used to help with studies within the music department at Shepherd or with whatever other financial need the student may have.

Each of the newly-named Fellows were thrilled to receive such a high honor. Selected this year were three seniors, five juniors and one sophomore within the music department.

According to FOM President Jim Walker, the process for selecting the Fellows was a bit different than in the past. Formerly, he said, suggestions have been made by faculty and/or others who were aware of students who excelled and who may need the scholarship. This year, the group accepted applications for the awards.

“We received 43 applications,” Walker said.

Vice President Dan Anderson said that there was stiff competition this year.

“We have selected the cream of the crop,” he said.

This year’s Fellows shared their stories and how the scholarship has been of benefit.

Ryan McClure, a junior bassoonist, has been playing his instrument for 10 years. Prior to that, he played saxophone, he said. He plays oboe as well.

McClure said he chose Shepherd University because of the excellent professors, especially for bassoon players. He plans to go on for graduate studies in double reed education.

“People need double reed instruction,” he said.

He plans to use his scholarship funds to help purchase a new bassoon.

Dakota Slay is a sophomore self-taught guitar player from Glen Burnie, Md., who began playing in sixth grade. He explained that he did not have his first private lessons until he was a junior in high school. He shared that he had an older cousin who played guitar who was a role model and inspriation.

In addition to playing classical guitar, Slay is also a fifth year member of the drum corp at Shepherd.

Majoring in music education, Slay plans to use the scholarship funds to help with general bills.

Ryan Stewart, a junior composition and music education major, plays violin and saxophone. He has played the former for 12 years and the latter for nine, he shared.

A member of the Shepherd Preparatory Orchestra since he was in seventh grade, he shared that he knew Shepherd was a fit for him after working with the professors and instructors.

He laughed as he said that as a music major, he spends every hour of every day in the music department building until “they kick us out.”

Stewart plans to use his scholarship funds to help pruchase a new laptop and software to help transcribe music.

Jessica Adkins, a senior, is the only vocal performance major selected as a Fellow this year. Hailing from Sommersville, W. Va., she chose Shepherd because it was far enough away from home but close to big cities. She likes the university because, she said, “it is a community within the music department. It is big enough for health competition but we can also be involved in many things.”

Adkins plans to go on to graduate school after taking a year off. Her future goals are to perform and have a private studio.

She explained that she has used a portion of her scholarship money to apply to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and will use the remainder for tuition to that program coming up this summer.

Kristin Monroe, a senior trombone performance and music education major, is involved in many ensembles at the university. In addition, she teaches two trombone students and is a member of the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band. She is also a marching band instructor at a high school in Frederick, Md., all while attending Shepherd.

A graduate of Hedgesville High School, Monroe said she chose Shepherd because it was “cheap with the best music department in state.” Since her arrival at SU, she has been impressed with the guest artists that come to play here and the connections she has been able to establish with some of those performers.

She plans to visit a grad school in Colorado over the upcoming spring break and will use the FOM funds for that trip.

Alvaro Silva is a junior trumpet and music education major who was born in Chile and moved to Silver Spring, Md. at age 6. He explained that he found Shepherd to be the perfect school for him.

“The professors are all well qualified,” he said.

Silva plans to use his scholarship money on maintenance of his equipment. He explained that he has two trumpets, although most trumpet players have five or six. He plans to save some of the funds to put toward the purchase of a new horn or to invest in a summer program in New York.

Kevin Creed, a junior trumpet performance major, shared that he has been playing since age 13. He formerly attend James Madison University, but left school when his father was ill. He later joined the U.S. Army, where he served for nine years.

He has chosen Shepherd to come back to school to finally focus on his desire to play music.

“I tried to put the trumpet away,” he said, “but I just can’t get away from it.”

“I was flabbergasted with the level of knowledge and experience of the staff,” he shared.

He plans to use his scholarship funds to help with his tuition, which he said, as an out-of-state student is very expensive.

Others receiving the scholarships this year were Shannon Mendoza, a junior organ performance and music education major and Nathan Arch, a piano performance major. The two were unavailable at a recent group interview.