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While students prepare to be sent out into the workforce, Los Alamos Rotary Club members are hoping their time isn’t all work and no play. Therefore, the organization works to ensure a little music is included in students’ lives.
To encourage students to participate in music, Rotary hosts the Deborah Beene Memorial Music Scholarship.
This year’s recipients are Los Alamos High School junior Catherine Chen, LAHS sophomore Cathy Lin and LAHS graduate Susan Hargreaves. Scholarships reach up to $1,000 can be used to attend a summer music camp, college or university music expenses, purchase a better instrument or go toward private music instruction.
Normally, said Ed Vaneekhout of Los Alamos Rotary Club, the organization receives 12-15 applications from freshmen to senior music students. Applicants submit a tape of their music and a committee listens to it.
Then, the committee invites seven or eight students to a live audition, he said. This year, the auditions were held May 1 at Fuller Lodge. During the auditions, students’ musicality and tone are taken into account.
A wide variety of music has been preformed during the auditions, Vaneekhout said. Everything from the xylophone, to the tuba and voice has been auditioned.
The winners from this year and previous years will host a free concert at 2 p.m. June 22 at Fuller Lodge.
Lin said she is excited to be among the performers at the upcoming recital. “I’m excited and honored to receive this because I was the youngest competitor this year and it is a great way to encourage young musicians to keep doing what they are doing,” she said.
Lin said her scholarship will go toward college expenses.
Hargreaves is also using her scholarship for college. “I am going to ENMU (Eastern New Mexico University) so that money I won will help pay for voice lessons, which will be great,” she said.
At ENMU, Hargreaves said she plans to pursue a music education degree but is considering a minor in music. She explained she is focusing more on a financially fruitful degree because, “I like to eat.”
Hargreaves added her “deep love for music,” helped her earn the scholarship. “I’ve always loved to sing,” she said. “I honestly believe music is my therapy. It’s relaxing ee definitely one of the things I’m strongest at. It’s my gift to share with people.”
Hagreaves also credited her music teacher and choir teacher.
Chen seized the opportunity to audition for the scholarship not so much to earn money but to simply perform. “(It was) mainly because it was just another music function I could attend,” she said. “(It was) just an opportunity to perform.”
When she found out she had won, “I was really surprised, actually but really honored because I had planned to go on to a music school this summer but the costs were a little too high.”
After learning about the scholarship, Chen said she plans to audition for the scholarship again next year.
She encourages other music students to get involved in the Deborah Beene Scholarship because “I think it is a really good opportunity. To work on a piece ee you really get to know your music and maybe convey a message to someone else,” Chen said. “Maybe they can get something out of the music as well.”
Vaneekhout said Rotary has hosted the scholarship since 1995. Before that, LAHS hosted the scholarship.
Vaneekhout explained Don Beene was a member of Rotary and an orchestra conductor at the high school. Additionally, his wife, Sarah, was a teacher at Pion Elementary School.
When their teenage daughter, Deborah, who was violinist and pianist, died; the scholarship was founded.
Rotary, Los Alamos National Bank and individual donors support the memorial scholarship.
When the Beenes left Los Alamos, Rotary was asked to continue the scholarship.
The organization accepted because “There are a number of us in Rotary who think music is a godo thing,” Vaneekhout said. “We like to encourage young musicians.”