The IBMA Foundation is pleased to announce Megan Cody, Clara Guilmette, Jessica Lang, Anne Jarrell, and Bailey Stephenson as the first recipients of the Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship for female bluegrass musicians and Heather Alley as the first Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship recipient.

Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship recipients:

  • Megan Cody, a guitarist, mandolinist, and vocalist from Parker, CO, is a freshman at the University of Colorado, Boulder, pursuing a Jazz Studies and Entrepreneurship Business degree. Megan performs and tours with the Cody Sisters band, and she is a mentor and teacher to young musicians around Colorado. Roots in bluegrass, folk, and jazz come together to define her musical style.
  • Clara Guilmette, a banjo player from Portland, CT, is a freshman in the Music Education program at Central Connecticut State University. Clara fronts her own bluegrass band, Bend in the River, and plans on working as a choral director at the middle or high school level.
  • Jessica Lang, a guitar and mandolin player from Wake Forest, NC, is a freshman at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She will be majoring in Commercial Music, with guitar as her primary instrument, and is a part of Belmont’s Academic Honors Program. Jessica has performed and recorded with the Lang Sisters and the Carolina PineCones, and she hopes to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter, guitarist, or a composer for television and film.
  • Anne Jarrell, a banjo and trumpet player from Charlotte, NC, will be a senior this fall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Jarrell is a science major and performs with the Carolina Bluegrass Band at UNC. In addition to continuing to play the banjo, her goal is to conduct research in the field of plant biology at her own lab.
  • Bailey Stephenson, a banjo and guitar player from Wheeling, WV, is a senior English major at West Liberty University in Liberty, WV, who plans a career in library science working to collect, preserve and share rare literature, particularly lesser-known authors of the Appalachian region. Bailey enjoys writing about bluegrass as well as performing in bands and entering competitions.

Sally Ann Forrester played accordion and sang as a member of Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys from 1943-1946, thus becoming the first female professional bluegrass musician in history. Initial funds for the scholarships for female bluegrass musicians were donated by Murphy Hicks Henry, co-founder with her husband, Red Henry, of the Murphy Method instructional media company and the author of Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass (University of Illinois Press). Additional supporters of the Sally Ann Forrester Scholarship Fund, which has been permanently endowed at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, include Chip Bach, Alison Brown, Tom Brown, Megan Brugger, Cathy Fink, Jordan Entertainment Inc., Maria Nadauld, Nancy Webster, the late Donald Wermuth, and anonymous donors.

Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship recipient:

The IBMA Foundation is also proud to announce Heather Alley as the 2020 recipient of the Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship. Heather is a songwriter who sings and plays guitar and mandolin. From Dayton, OH, she is a senior at Morehead State University. She will finish her bachelor’s degree at the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead in 2021. In addition to college ensembles, Alley performs in her own band, Mountain Time.

The Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship is funded by Rick and Wendy Lang. Rick Lang is a Grammy-nominated writer who serves as the chair of the IBMA Songwriter Committee and volunteers with the IBMA Songwriter Mentor Program. Lang hopes to continue the college scholarship for songwriters next year.

The IBMA Foundation supports programs and initiatives fostering the growth of bluegrass music, helping donors to create a legacy for future generations by connecting resources to projects that focus on bluegrass music-related arts and culture, education, literary work, and historic preservation.

Click here for the Sally Ann Forrester Fund promo video, featuring a score of well-known female artists.  Listen to a song by Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship recipient Heather Alley here.