Music scholarship benefits students

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Music scholarship benefits students

Anna Haas practices piano in Fine Arts Building, BJU, Greenville, SC, January 25, 2020. (Mark Kamibayashiyama)

Incoming freshmen have been awarded $71,000 in the last four years through the Gingery-Mack Music Scholarship, made possible by private donors and benefit concerts held on campus. 

The next benefit concert features pianist Dr. Matthew Edwards, a 1985 BJU graduate, who will perform on Feb. 8 in the War Memorial Chapel at 7 p.m. 

The sponsored performers learned their trade at BJU, Dr. Dan Turner, retired faculty and Music Admission and Music Scholarship Coordinator, said. “So we’re able to say to prospective students: ‘This is what we have to offer you,’ and to current students, ‘Work hard; you can be this in the future as God empowers you.’”

Katie Taylor, a senior orchestral instrument performance major, said receiving the scholarship in 2016 and a renewal in 2017 felt like a push from God that BJU was where she was meant to be. “It’s really amazing for potential music students to know that people value classical music,” Taylor said. “Knowing that people support you and care is a really big push both to get students to come to the University and to support them while they’re here emotionally, too.” 

An audition for the Gingery-Mack Music Scholarship considers the students’ recommendations and a performance of voice, piano or any orchestral instrument. 

“The life of the musician is kind of like a rope that’s woven,” Turner explained. “Part of those strands is their professional development—lessons and practicing—but the other part is how they’re actually using what they learn.” 

To reflect that ideal, those auditioning must also submit an essay on their motivation behind their music and participate in an interview that determines how they use their musical abilities to benefit their local church and community. The financial amount awarded to the students is determined by the merit indicated by the auditioning process. The idea of a scholarship began with an answer to a simple question posed in 2014. 

Scott Hoster, an attorney, asked his good friend Dr. Turner what he would choose if he could do one thing to help the Division of Music at Bob Jones University. “I would start a scholarship fund to bring in really fine, young Christian musicians to be trained,” Turner said. 

Hoster and Turner came together to establish the Gingery-Mack Music Scholarship, which has now helped over 35 music students come to Bob Jones University. 

The scholarship was named in honor of husband and wife Dr. Gail and Alice Gingery as well as Warren Mack, who all served extensively on the Bob Jones University music faculty. 

Christa Habegger, the Gingery’s daughter, said, “For [my parents], the study of music and the pursuit of excellence in their fields was as much a ministry as if they had surrendered to serve on the mission field.” 

Dr. Gingery was a former chair of the Division of Music, head of the voice department, faculty member, choir director and more.  “At lessons, he encouraged every student to embrace the study of voice as the best possible way to express joy and other emotions and to communicate the truths of the Gospel in a memorable way,” Habegger said. 

Alice Gingery is still teaching piano to about 30 students at 89 years old.  “[She’s a] ball of fire and a great teacher,” Turner said. 

Warren Mack taught piano, music theory and church music courses, as well as directed the Bob Jones Academy choir and Hampton Park Baptist Church choir. 

A World War II army veteran, Mack landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.  “He’s kind of, in our eyes, the G.I. Joe,” Turner said. “[He’s] a very quick-witted, humor-loving gentleman [and] was a very fine teacher.”

Anna Haas, a freshman keyboard performance major who received the scholarship this year, said she believes the scholarship is a chance to honor God. 

“The people they choose are ones that will hopefully make an impact in the music world someday,” Haas said. “You’re helping someone [whose goal] is to bless people by glorifying God through their music.”