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 2012-13 Fellows were thrilled to receive such a high honor. Selected this year were two seniors, five juniors and two sophomores within the music department..
Jorge Alvarez, a senior cellist, explained that his whole family is musical so it was a logical conclusion that he would study music. A native of Venezuela, Alvarez shared that he does not see his family often and that living alone in a foreign country sometimes becomes difficult.
"I am grateful for the Friends of Music encouraging us to pursue our dreams," he said. "To know that the faculty here knows and recognizes the work that we put in, it is amazing to hear that," he said.
The Friends are nominated for the scholarships by their professors who work with them daily and know their work ethic and dedication to their education.
Alana Gondeck, a junior bassoon player from Frederick, Md. shared Alvarez's sentiments of gratitude. Amid tears, she said, "The fact that the faculty has selected us...that they see the work I have put in." She went on to commend those who donate to the Friends organization saying, "It is unbelievable that these people who don't know us and may have never seen us perform to give us money to continue to do what we love..."
Gondeck plans to use her scholarship money to attend a summer music program as well as invest in reed making supplies.
Eduardo Rivera, a junior specializing in vocal performance, shared that music has always been a part of his life. He sang with his father, a military pastor, and received inspiration from the church.
"I want to teach and use music to inspire others," he said. He plans to use his monetary award to help with books and other school supplies. Working three jobs to help pay for his schooling, Rivera said he was very grateful for the assistance from the Friends as well as for all that group does to support the music department at Shepherd.
Allyson Bayer, also a voice major, agreed that the financial contribution was appreciated, but even more so is the support given by the Friends to the music department.
"They are at every concert," she shared. "They are a solid group that provides such a support system to us."
A sophomore at Shepherd, Bayer explained that she has been singing as long as she can remember. She plans to go on to graduate school after Shepherd where she will concentrate on vocal performance. "I'm not sure where I will end up next," she laughed.
The financial award she gained through the Friends program will be put to use toward a trip to France with the music department in the spring.
Trumpet player Tyler Arnold, a junior, also focuses on composition while at Shepherd. He hopes to use his scholarship money to travel to New York City to check out graduate schools.
"It is amazing what the Friends of Music accomplish here," he said. He pointed out that the group brings outstanding concert series to campus as well as sponsoring an orchestra, The Two Rivers Chamber Orchestra.
"I thank you not just for the money but for the enhancement of our experience here," Arnold said.
Christina Oliver, a senior focusing in percussion, explained that music has always been important to her. With hopes of teaching in her future, Oliver shared that she will use the scholarship to help pay for her final semester at Shepherd.
She shared that she has played with the Two Rivers Orchestra and echoed the sentiments shared by Arnold.
"How many people can say they have done this?" she asked.
Nathan Arch, a junior pianist, told about playing a trombone in high school in the marching band.
"I always liked piano," he said. He plans to further his education through graduate studies in piano performance.
"I wouldn't mind teaching in the college setting," he sshared.
He plans to use part of his scholarship money to join the group heading to France in the spring as well as to pay for books.
Arch said that often he feels that a lot of what he does in his studies goes unnoticed and to be recognized by the Friends of Music in an honor.
Ian Karraker, a sophomore at Shepherd, plays violin and studies composition. He has hopes to attend graduate school after Shepherd to study film scoring.
His plans for the scholarship include paying some of his student loans and using part of the funds toward a trip to Europe for a composition workshop in Italy.
"It is very gratifying in a sense, that you work hard and something like this [winning the scholarship] can happen," he said. "We're all broke college students," he laughed." The scholarship offers a helping hand and I am very thankful for it."
Justin Loizos, a junior saxophonist, shared that had wanted to play drums, but hs mother said no. She suggested a saxophone, an instrument he said he didn't know. He laughingly shared that his mother told him it was what Lisa Simpson played on The Simpsons, so he said okay.
Of his experience at Shepherd, Loizos said, "I am learning way more than I ever thought about music. It's wonderful!" He plans to use his scholarship money toward recording software and programs as well as reeds and music.
The Friends of Music and fellowships they provide allow our music students to take advantage of extraordinary opportunities that they otherwise would not have.
Sue Kennedy, a member of the Friends of Music, told the Fellows, "We love what you do. That's why we're here."