"I will always be grateful to Stubbs Educational Foundation for helping me find my musical talent and developing it"
I got first-class piano training. I know because I entered the annual Piano Teacher's evaluation in May several years. We prepared about half a dozen pieces
for a visiting piano teacher at a location in town and would be called upon to play any of them. Each year I was ranked superior with a total of scores in some
two dozen areas. One Summer I was invited to play at the state conference in at Jacksonville
My music education from SEF gave me poise and confidence. At Stubbs Music Center
we had recitals in December and May. I learned to get on the stage and sit at a
grand piano that dwarfed me in front of a hundred or more people. In that
beginning silence I learned to find the courage to move the keys In a precise
way over time to create music. I learned not to rush, but to let it unfold
In my final year of music study I found my voice. Mrs. Willis was flexible
enough to let me sing as well as play my pieces. She was one of my first
accompanists. At my senior recital in May, 2004, I was able to play six piano
pieces and sing three songs for my parents and friends.
In the Spring of my senior year in high school, 2004, I auditioned and was
chosen for a role in the Tallahassee Little Theatre musical How to Succeed in
Business. It was the first of more than a dozen shows I have appeared in there
and for another community-theater group, Theatre à la Carte.
I went on to
specialized courses in music theory and ear training and took voice lessons. I
appeared before an annual jury of professors twice to sing and received high
marks. By this time I was seasoned from so many recitals at Stubbs Music Center.
In my senior year I took off two semesters so I could prepare with a jazz trio
and perform on a cruise ship. This was my first professional music job. I
met many fine musicians and singers including a pianist who played for Frank
Sinatra and accompanied me in jam sessions, I also met passengers from many
countries who supported me at nightly performances. It was a vacation for
them, but we performed seven days a week. I learned many new skills like how to
sing while sea sick and how to balance on four-inch heels on stage during rough
seas. It was another example how music has enriched my life.
Now that I have graduated in May, I face the future with some trepidation, but
with the kind of nervous anticipation I learned to control before music recitals
and music-theater opening nights. My eyes are set on New York to perform in
musical theater or with jazz combos. During visits over the last few years I
have received warm receptions at open-mike nights at the Algonquin Hotel,
Birdland and the Hotel Kitano.
I will always be grateful to Stubbs Educational Foundation for helping me find
my musical talent and developing it.
As a young teen, I was fortunate to be one of the first students to receive a music scholarship from Stubbs' Educational Foundation. Even now as I reflect upon my experience, words fall short of describing what this privilege truly meant to me. The days I spent playing the piano for audiences and judges, participating in community events, and most importantly, the many hours spent practicing enriched my life in a way that school and other activities could not. Enrolling in music lessons at Stubbs' Music Center afforded me the opportunity to express myself; to learn and to grow in an environment which provided the perfect balance of challenge and encouragement.
As I look back on my experience, what stands out most is that Stubbs' Educational Foundation allowed me to pursue both technique and passion. As any artist or advocate of the arts knows, one cannot exist without the other. It is as important for a student to learn the fundamentals of their music as it is that they feel a true love and connection to the music they are creating. A pivotal moment I recall was when a member of the audience commented to me following a monthly recital, “When you played, you could really feel the music. I could see you moving with the melody. The music became a part of you.” What a beautiful thing. When a person connects to the music they are playing beyond the work and commitment, while realizing the value of those essential elements, the result is a life-long talent.
The providers of Stubbs' Educational Foundation offer a comprehensive music education, incorporating music theory, ear training, sight reading, memorization and even improvisation. They believe that students should be able to express themselves as well as understand the building blocks of music. Their thorough approach to learning encourages students to push themselves to new levels of achievement and be rewarded for their hard work.
The skills I learned as a scholarship recipient serve me both as a musician and as a person. I cannot thank Stubbs' Educational Foundation enough for the great gift they have given me. My experience as a scholarship recipient and member of their community continues to impact me each and every day
SENIOR AWARD WINNERS
Director's Award: Alexis Forrest and Tessa Gillard
Leadership Award: Jason Maxwell
Most Improved Award: Mercedes Gainor
John Philip Sousa Award: Zach Boyd
SEF Scholarship Recipients from Cairo, Georgia
SEF Provider - Erikka Edwards
Students - Alexis Forrest and Mercedes Gainor
Endowments provided by: Ira Higdon Family to honor Ira & Gladys Hidgon Ron & Martha Stubbs to honor Grace & Ernest Herring
Cairo Messanger - May 2011