• Hannah McCaw is a student with the Western Carolina University Trumpet Studio who has been selected to attend the TrumpetFest in Italy.
    Hannah McCaw is a student with the Western Carolina University Trumpet Studio who has been selected to attend the TrumpetFest in Italy.
  • Jonathan Wheaton is a student with the Western Carolina University Trumpet Studio who has been selected to attend the TrumpetFest in Italy.
    Jonathan Wheaton is a student with the Western Carolina University Trumpet Studio who has been selected to attend the TrumpetFest in Italy.

SCOUTING AROUND: Top trumpters return for benefit concert

    Murphy – As applications for this year’s Judith Beyer Memorial Music Scholarship were being prepared, two of last year’s applicants returned to perform in a concert to benefit Western Carolina University’s Trumpet Studio’s trip to Italy this summer.
    Hannah McCaw and Jonathan Wheaton, both freshman, were featured performers in the concert on April 6 at Episcopal Church of the Messiah downtown. Both had solo performances and also performed with ensembles, like the Freshman Trumpet Ensemble.
    “I was proud as could be,” said David Vowell, director of the Cherokee County Arts Council, which provides the scholarship each year. “These are local kids who are pursuing serious endeavors in performing arts.”
    Wheaton said they have concerts at school all the time, but it was special to get to perform at home with an audience including his grandparents, siblings and former band director.
    “It was really great,” Wheaton said. “He got to see how I’ve progressed.”
    The Trumpet Studio consists of 25-30 students each year who get to study individually with professors P. Bradley Ulrich and David Ginn, attend a weekly master class and have the opportunity to perform with the school’s Trumpet Ensemble.
    “It is difficult to get in the WCU Trumpet Studio right now, because slots are in high demand and the level of playing continues to rise each year,” Ulrich said.
    “They are part of the finest freshmen class of trumpeters I have had in my 30 years at Western.”
    McCaw, last year’s scholarship recipient, said the funds from the scholarship helped her purchase the materials she needed before she could be accepted in the studio.
    “Honestly, it means the world to me,” she said. “I never imagined I’d be a part of something so awesome.”
    Every four years, the professors work to provide an international experience for the students. In June, the group plans to travel to Orvieto, Italy, to participate in TrumpetFest, part of the Orvieto Musica Festival. The concert was raising funds for this trip.
    McCaw said she hasn’t traveled much, and said the thought of being able to connect with musicians from all over the world was incredible. Wheaton, who also hasn’t experienced much of life outside the mountains of North Carolina, called the trip a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
    “I don’t know what I’m going to learn, but I’m going to learn a lot,” he said.
    McCaw is majoring in music education, while Wheaton is majoring in commercial and electronic music.
    The Judith Beyer Memorial Music Scholarship is awarded to a high school senior in Cherokee, Clay or Graham counties each year. Students interested in applying should contact their music teacher, guidance counselor or Vowell. The application deadline is Friday, and the $2,000 scholarship is scheduled to be awarded Friday, May 10.
    The Support Big Valley Music Benefit Concert raises funds for the scholarship primarily through a tip jar and raffles.
    This year’s concert is 5-9 p.m. April 26, at The Daily Grind & Wine. Featured performers are Dottie, Somebody’s Child, Gabe Myers, and George and Andy.
    Anyone wishing to continue to support McCaw and Wheaton’s trip to Italy may still do so. Checks should be made out to the WCU School of Music, with “Trumpet Italy trip” in the memo line, and mailed to Ulrich at School of Music, 253 Coulter Building, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723. Donations may even be specified for an individual student’s expenses.

Gala tickets on sale
    Peachtree – Performers have brought the Rat Pack and Elton John to town for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala in the past, but this year’s entertainer can become them and more. Conner Lorre will perform his “Variety of Legends Tribute Show” at the organization’s fundraiser Saturday, May 18, at McGuire’s Millrace Farm.
    The show starts at 7:30 p.m., but the evening begins with a cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 each and include hors d’oeuvres, beer or wine, gourmet dinner, dessert and the show.
    Tickets became available two weeks ago, and the gala sells out every year. The advisory council’s fundraising chair, Christie Standish, said this year’s tickets are selling quickly.
    “The money helps supports the children in our community,” Standish said. “The impact is phenomenal.”
    While Lorre can perform as a variety of artists, he is well known as a Neil Diamond tribute artist. He can manipulate his singing voice to become legends through time, including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney and Michael Buble.
    “This guy does about 12 impersonations,” said Tom Spencer, advisory council chairman for Big Brothers Big Sisters. “I’m going to ask him to concentrate on ones we haven’t had.”
    The evening will also include an auction.
    Tickets may be purchased at Marketplace Antiques or the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce. The gala is sponsored by Harrah’s Cherokee Valley River Casino & Hotel.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email, scoutingaround@cherokeescout.com; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message in the office at 837-5122.

The Cherokee Scout

Mailing Address:
89 Sycamore St. 

Murphy, NC 28906
Phone: 828-837-5122
Fax: 828-837-5832