Clown Band scholarship concert Wednesday

June 12, 2013

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — The Scottville Clown Band annual scholarship concert is at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the Ludington Waterfront Park pavilion.

I always enjoy this concert because it’s great to see all the young people who are in the early parts of the musical journeys. As the treasurer of the Scottville Clown Band one of the most rewarding times of the year is the spring when I write out scholarship checks for kids to attend music camp. The scholarship program is named in honor of Raymond Schulte, who re-started the clown band in 1947, after it went dormant during World War II. Ray, who was fondly called “the Godfather” in the band, died in 2007. The band was his pride and joy. Being able to encourage young people to pursue the performing arts was one of his proudest points in starting the band.

The clown band first gave out scholarships in the mid-1960s. The band had a special relationship with Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in northern Muskegon County because one of its founders, Gilbert Stansell I, was a former Scottville/Mason County Central High School band director. The band’s first scholarship recipient was Marty Erickson of Ludington, who went on to become one of the top tuba players in the world serving in the U.S. Navy bands. Marty now is a professor of music in Green Bay, Wis. Scottville’s Edgar Struble was also one of the first recipients. After graduating from Michigan State University, Edgar had a career as music director for Kenny Rogers. He now is an independent music writer and producer.

Every year the band devotes a portion of its funds to the Raymond Schulte Memorial Scholarship Fund. Donations given by the public and memorials from funerals are also used to fund the program. Scholarships are rewarded to middle school and high school students who plan to attend a summer performing arts program.

This year, the band is rewarding $6,030 in scholarships to music students, the majority from western Michigan. Most of the scholarships, $4,905, are being used at Blue Lake. Other programs include Interlochen Fine Arts Academy, Central Michigan University, Grand Haven High School, Lions Club of Michigan and University of Arkansas.

The scholarship program is overseen by Marvin Drier. Marvin is a life member of the band, originally from Scottville, and now lives in Indiana and works as a school administrator.

The concert is sponsored by the Ludington Area Jaycees. During the show the Jaycees will have a presentation for Eric Lund, this year’s Freedom Festival parade grand marshal. Lund is a Ludington soldier who was injured last year in Afghanistan.

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