The IBMA Foundation is proud to announce the following recipients of college scholarships for the fall 2023 semester.
Lucy Howe Becker originally from Lexington, Kentucky, and now living in Morehead, Kentucky, is the 2023 recipient of both the Sally Ann Forrester Scholarship and the Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship. Lucy is a senior at Morehead State University, majoring in Traditional Music. She plays the fiddle, sings, and writes songs. In addition to her studies, Lucy enjoys teaching private lessons, writing, and performing with different bands. Her goal is to be a performer, to compose songs, and to be a teacher who inspires young people interested in bluegrass music.
Initial funds for the Forrester scholarships 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. 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. Support for the 2023 scholarships came from Robert Forrester, son of Howdy and Sally Ann Forrester.
The Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship is funded by Rick and Wendy Lang. Rick is a Grammy-nominated writer, chair of the IBMA Songwriter Committee, and a volunteer with the IBMA Songwriter Mentor Program.
Alaina Majkrzak, a sophomore at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee, is the recipient of the Katy Daley Broadcaster & Sound Engineering Scholarship. Originally from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Alaina is a guitarist and singer working on a Bluegrass Music Industry major at ETSU. Her academic focus is on learning production and performing in bluegrass and Celtic groups. When she completes her degree, Alaina hopes to combine her passion for music with teaching. She’s interested in performing with a group and contributing her production skills in the areas of running live sound and engineering/producing in the studio.
Katy Daley, co-host of the Bluegrass Stories podcast series, along with Howard Parker, has had a 30+ year career in bluegrass (WAMU-FM and Bluegrass Country) and country (WMZQ) radio in the Washington, DC, area. Katy was named IBMA Bluegrass Broadcaster of the year in 2009 and 2011, and received the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2019 for her contributions to bluegrass music
Liam Purcell, a senior at Berklee College of Music in Boston, will receive the IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship for 2023. The IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship is awarded to a student who plans to be involved in the bluegrass music industry on a professional level and who shows evidence of talent in a bluegrass-related field.
Liam is majoring in Performance, with a concentration on Bluegrass and American Roots Music. His goals at Berklee are to expand his technical knowledge of music, learn production and business skills, and be a part of an environment that constantly challenges his musicianship. Liam’s primary instrument is mandolin, but he also plays banjo. He is interested in sound engineering and is also a songwriter. Purcell fronts his own band, Liam Purcell and Cane Mill Road, based in Deep Gap, North Carolina. The group plays 85-100 dates a year.
Named Momentum Band of the Year by IBMA in 2019, Liam Purcell & Cane Mill Road have released four albums. Their current recording, Roots, debuted at #6 on the Billboard Bluegrass Album Charts. In 2022 Liam swept the Rockygrass Instrumental Championships on guitar, mandolin and banjo, becoming the first person in history to do so.
The IBMA Bluegrass College Scholarship, originated by the IBMA Board of Directors, has been funded by Lee Zapis of Z Mandolins, Alan Tompkins, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers, Katy Daley, and several others.
Jack Rehbeck, a freshman at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, will receive the J. D. Crowe Banjo Scholarship this year. Originally from Newark, Ohio, Jack plays banjo, as well as mandolin and guitar. He is pursuing a degree in American Roots Music, and his goal is to work as a professional bluegrass musician.
Legendary banjo stylist and Bluegrass Hall of Fame member J. D. Crowe (1937-2021) was one of the most influential banjo players in the history of bluegrass music. His longtime friend and fellow Kentucky bluegrass musician, Arthur Hancock III, made the donation in 2022 to endow this new scholarship. His son, Arthur Hancock IV, a member of the IBMA Foundation board of directors, was also instrumental in creating the scholarship in Crowe’s memory.
Contributions to the IBMA Foundation’s scholarships are welcome throughout the year. Permanent endowments at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee have been established to help fund all of the scholarships listed above.
Return to the August, 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.
Photos, left to right: Lucy Becker, Alaina Majkrzak, Liam Purcell, Jack Rehbeck