Musical students take a step toward their future

Liam Utt (pictured), Jason Xiao and Sam Martin, recent recipients of scholarships from Dayton Music Club, will perform at the local organization’s annual scholarship benefit concert at Christ United Methodist Church in Kettering on Sunday, May 2. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Liam Utt (pictured), Jason Xiao and Sam Martin, recent recipients of scholarships from Dayton Music Club, will perform at the local organization’s annual scholarship benefit concert at Christ United Methodist Church in Kettering on Sunday, May 2. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Dayton Music Club’s annual fundraiser set for May 2

Not even a global pandemic could prevent Dayton Music Club (DMC) from awarding its youth scholarships in 2020 and 2021. To continue this program, the local organization is presenting its annual scholarship benefit concert at Christ United Methodist Church in Kettering on Sunday, May 2.

The free fundraising event features performances by 2021 scholarship recipients Liam Utt, Jason Xiao and Sam Martin and DMC members such as Kristen Smith, Bill Slusser and Samee Griffith. Donations are accepted. Face coverings are required and social distancing will be observed.

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“We had over 30 kids audition this year,” said Gwen Brubaker, program coordinator and membership treasurer for DMC. “That’s more than we thought it would be because of COVID but it turned out pretty well. The kids were very happy to play for a live audience instead of just playing for their teacher over Zoom every week.”

Since 1991, DMC has used its endowment fund each year to award thousands of dollars in youth scholarship money to local student musicians in grades seven through 12. This year, it provided $9,000 in support to area student musicians.

“The level of accomplishment is so impressive,” said Kristen Kosey, the chair of DMC’s auditioning committee. “It’s amazing what some of these young people are managing to do. They do things in school and out of school too so they’re busy people. The level of play and the polish they achieve as they perform is beautiful to behold.”

Scholarship recipients can use the financial support for summer music camps, master classes, continuing lessons or college tuition for music majors. Utt, a piano-playing senior at Beavercreek High School, will be attending Ohio State University this fall.

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“I was pretty happy when I heard back from them saying I’d won a scholarship,” said Utt, 17. “The money will go toward my tuition. My major is music but the specific major is currently undecided. I haven’t fully figured out what I want to do as a career so I’m going to explore my options while I’m there.

“I’ll be working at my job this summer to help pay for college,” he continued. “I don’t have any exact plans but I’ll be working on honing my own abilities, my playing and composing and stuff like that before I get to college. I want to be as prepared as possible.”

While not all student winners will become music majors, Kosey believes continuing to develop musically will pay future dividends.

“The arts grow people in an amazing way, mentally and emotionally,” she said. “Music meets needs we can’t quantify well. Life without any music is pretty sterile. It’s not much fun. Knowing that, it’s important to encourage students to pursue their skill and refine it before they go out into life and get too busy to play like this.

“Many people choose other career fields but the skills they learn will always be with them,” Kosey continued. “They can always play. They can always help others with it. There are so many ways music touches our lives. To allow these children to pursue it and fund it for them and then give them a place to actually feature the skills they’ve gained is just amazing.”

Last year’s benefit concert was canceled due to coronavirus restrictions so this year’s fundraiser is crucial for DMC. Donations to the scholarship fund are tax-deductible.

“We get to use the interest from the endowment for the scholarships, but we rely on donations for everything else,” Brubaker said. “This program on May 2 is a kickoff for that. We want to continue to be able to award big scholarships to future students, so here’s a chance to donate to Dayton Music Club’s scholarship fund.”

Contact this contributing writer at 937-287-6139 or e-mail at donthrasher100@gmail.com.

HOW TO GO

What: Dayton Music Club’s Scholarship Benefit Concert

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, May 2

Where: Christ United Methodist Church, 3440 Shroyer Road, Kettering

Cost: Free, donations accepted

More info: www.daytonmusicclub.org

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