U of A Bands Commits Over $1 Million in Scholarships to Arkansas Students

University of Arkansas Bands has pledged more than $1 million to create a new scholarship program
Photo by University of Arkansas Bands

University of Arkansas Bands has pledged more than $1 million to create a new scholarship program

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Becoming part of “the Best in Sight and Sound” just got even better – now Arkansas students who want to study music at the University of Arkansas or join one of the U of A bands can receive a $5,000 annual scholarship to help them achieve these goals.

Starting in fall 2016, the newly founded Arkansas Music Initiative will commit more than $1 million in scholarship support over the next five years for students planning to study music in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

“We are incredibly proud of the talented, dedicated student musicians who play and study with us,” said Todd Shields, dean of Fulbright College. “And we want to encourage and support the growth of music education throughout Arkansas. Our hope is that by creating these scholarships we’ll be able to empower and encourage some of the finest musicians in our state.”

Shields said because the bands’ private funding support has been so strong, the Music Department has been able to offer a scholarship of some amount to every member of one of the bands who remains grade eligible. About 350 students receive these general scholarships.

However, the bands still had scholarship funds left after fulfilling this commitment to their students. The department and Fulbright College decided to use those funds to found the Arkansas Music Initiative.

Shields said creating these new, additional scholarships is also in response to U of A Chancellor Joseph E. Steinmetz’s call for the university to recruit and retain more students from Arkansas.

As a result, the Arkansas Music Initiative will award 10 scholarships of $5,000 each to incoming music majors from Arkansas. These awards will be renewable for up to five years and can be used on top of other scholarships from the university.

“The University of Arkansas Bands Program believes in the power of music education and in the students of Arkansas,” said Chris Knighten, director of university bands. “By combining these two beliefs, the program is launching the Arkansas Music Initiative to increase the accessibility and the affordability for in-state students planning to study music.”

Knighten said the first group of scholars has been named and includes the following incoming 2016 music education majors:

  • Spencer Baltz of Pocahontas, trombone
  • Brandon Garret of Alma, tuba
  • Stephen Hunt of Russellville, euphonium
  • Ashton Johnson of Greenbrier, trombone
  • Kerry Myers of Elkins, clarinet
  • Melissa Stanton of Saratoga, trombone
  • Angela Thompson-Neeser of Morrilton, flute
  • Tyler Weaver of Fort Smith, trombone

The following incoming 2016 scholars majoring in music performance include:

  • Bayleigh Darrough of Fayetteville, oboe
  • Jessica Rider of Maumelle, clarinet

Current high school students in the state of Arkansas will be eligible for future Arkansas Music Initiative scholarships by auditioning on campus during the spring semester of their senior year.

For more information about auditions or the program, please visit the University of Arkansas Bands website.

About the University of Arkansas Bands: The University of Arkansas Bands Program, part of the Department of Music in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, began in 1874 and is one of the oldest band programs in the country. The program has six ensembles including the Razorback Marching Band, Hogwild Band, and four concert bands with over 400 student members representing every college at the university.

About the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences: The J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences is the largest and most academically diverse unit on campus with 19 departments and 43 academic programs and research centers. The college provides the core curriculum for all University of Arkansas students and is named for J. William Fulbright, former university president and longtime U.S. senator.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Robert G. Hopper, associate director of operations, Department of Music
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-3589, rghoppe@uark.edu

Andra Liwag, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences
479-575-4393, liwag@uark.edu


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