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Minerva Music Scholarships at UNCG

Minerva Music Scholars represent excellence. Not only do they demonstrate some of the highest levels of music performance, but these students also possess outstanding qualities of leadership, creativity, innovation, dedication and discipline. There are up to four Minerva Music Scholars per entering class.

The Minerva Music Scholarships cover up to four years of in-state tuition.*

Minerva Music Scholars are selected through the general audition and scholarship process. There are no additional requirements, and eligibility is based is reserved for the finest auditioning students each year. Interested students (in-state, out-of-state, and international) must ensure that their application to the University and their request for music audition are submitted by the posted deadlines.

For further information or questions, contact Dr. Dennis AsKew (Director, School of Music; dwaskew@uncg.edu).

*Minerva Scholars who are not residents of North Carolina will be awarded up to the cost of resident tuition.

Minerva Scholars receive special, unique opportunities from the school, ranging from representing the school in high-profile performances to organized luncheons. In addition, the Minerva Scholars are provided tickets and transportation to attend performances around the state. These concerts have recently included the North Carolina Symphony, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and Ensemble Intercontemporain.

UNCG’s Minerva Scholars

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  • Katie Bracewell, viola – Oak Ridge, NC
  • Katie Cundiff, percussion – Gray, Tennessee

Katie Bracewell, viola

Hometown: Oak Ridge, NC

Tell us a little about your family
Music has been a part of my life from an early age. My Dad (Mark) and siblings enjoy playing as a family string quartet. My Mom (Terri) has an education degree and has homeschooled all four kids. My sister, Abigail also studies music at UNCG, and my brother, John is a freshman pursuing a degree in Chemistry here at UNCG. Michael is in high school and started his freshman year in August.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
Piano in K5 (6), violin in 2nd grade, changed to viola in 5th grade. I only play viola now and piano in class piano.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
The Minerva Scholarship is huge opportunity and honor. I count it a privilege to be a part of all the opportunities that come along with this scholarship, including attending concerts, performance opportunities, and meeting many inspiring musicians.
What would you like or hope to do after graduation?
Pursue a masters degree in Viola performance.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most?
Dr. Rawls, my viola professor here at UNCG.
What non-musical activity do you enjoy most?
Spending time with my family.
Tell us something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.
I received my second degree black belt in Tae-Kwondo last year.

Katie Cundiff, percussion

Hometown: Gray, Tennessee

Tell us a little about your family.
I have a 24 year old brother,Casey, who just finished his masters in Sports Marketing and is recently engaged. I also have a 21 year old sister, Shelby, who has recently discovered she loves playing piano. We have bonded over that, and I have been able to teach her a little bit of music theory. My dad, Gary, and my mom,Becky, are discovering the new found freedoms of having an empty nest.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
I first started playing music in elementary school; before school twice a week a drum circle would meet and we would learn a few simple African rhythms. This is when my passion for drumming really started. I would say I formally started playing music in 6th grade with my middle school band. I started out playing percussion and still do to this day.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
The Minerva Scholarship means that my hard work and dedication has finally payed off. The endless nights of practicing, always trying my hardest, going to the extra clinics, and becoming a part of the percussion community has been my life for the past four years, and I intend for them to be a part of my life for a very long time. This scholarship has shown me that the extra mile I go is being noticed and appreciated.
What would you like to do after graduation?
I am not exactly sure. I entered into college wanting to be a college professor, and that still sounds wonderful to me. But, as I progress into my time here at UNCG I have become more interested in other fields such as performing and the manufacturing of instruments. So, long story short, I am open to anything at this point as long as it includes music.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most?
My Uncle Ron has always been a huge inspiration for me. He died when I was around 12, but in those year he became someone I could always and have always admired. He was a wonderful Christian man who always giving no matter what it cost him. My favorite memory of him is one day we were sitting on his couch and we starting talking about going to heaven and he said, “Well if you don’t have a place in heaven you can have mine”. That exact moment has been in my mind for so many years and I will always remember that.
Who is your favorite author or book, and why?
My favorite author is Dr. Seuss because he always taught morals to not just children, but everyone in a fun and enjoyable way. I would have to say The Lorax is by far my favorite. I can still be know to read a Dr. Seuss book from time to time even now.
Who is your favorite musician, and why?
My favorite musician is no particular person exactly, but rather the musician who conveys emotion through their music to their audience. I have been to so many concerts and walked out and immediately forgotten what they played, but the musician who makes you remember they piece is the one I admire the most. This is not because they can play the fastest sixteenth note runs, but because the music they play conveys emotion and you can see and hear it. These are my favorite musicians.
What non-musical activity do you enjoy most?
I love hiking; I am from the mountains of Tennessee so it is not uncommon for me on a free weekend to be found hiking in the mountains to a waterfall or a beautiful view. Nature is where I truly find peace and comfort and can really re-discover God. Tell us something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn. When I first went to go try out different instruments the summer before middle school started I actually really wanted to learn how to play the saxophone. My dad had always loved jazz music, so I thought that if I learned the saxophone I could play for him. The people fitting us for instruments decided I would be best suited for percussion and I was so devastated I almost had my mom call the band director so I could play saxophone. Needless to say, I am glad Mom did not make that call.

three students

  • Madison Blake, piano – Fayetteville, NC
  • Max Singleton, voice – Charlotte, NC
  • Jacob Warren, saxophone – Emerald Isle, NC

 

MADISON BLAKE, piano

Hometown: Fayetteville, NC

Tell us a little about your family.
I am the second oldest of five kids; I have two sisters and two brothers. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have been raised in close, tight-knit family. My siblings are my best friends, and I couldn’t have asked for better parents. My mom has homeschooled all of us since my older brother was in first grade, and my dad had a military career for 27 years.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
I first began studying piano when I was 7 years old, and I haven’t stopped playing since!
What were some of your reasons for choosing to attend UNCG as a music student?
When I was considering different music schools to attend last year, UNCG became the clear choice for many reasons. But besides having a reputable, well-established music program, having a teacher who I could work well with, and grow as a pianist was the most important thing to me. I had met Dr. DiPiazza about a year before I auditioned at UNCG, and after working with him a few times, the decision was clear to me—this is where I needed to be. And that’s why I chose to study music at UNCG.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
The Minerva Scholarship is a huge honor and privilege, and I am so thankful for this opportunity. To me, the Minerva Scholarship means that there were people who saw potential in my musical abilities, and were willing to invest in me to help me become a better musician. I am so very grateful for all of the donors who make this scholarship possible.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most? Why?
That would definitely be Beethoven. Beethoven inspires me not simply because he is my favorite composer and I enjoy playing his music, but also because his life is a story of trial and triumph. Beethoven’s life was full of many obstacles, one of which being his ever encroaching deafness. And yet despite that, among a great many other things, he was still able to compose some of the most cherished music of all time.
What would you like or hope to do after graduation?
I hope to continue my musical training in order to eventually teach piano at the collegiate level, and perform professionally.
What do you enjoy doing when you have “down time”?
When I’m not practicing piano, I enjoy traveling, watching British period dramas, and learning foreign languages.
Tell us something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.
Unlike most people I know, I do not like animals, I don’t like shopping, and I enjoy math.

MAX SINGLETON, voice

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Tell us a little about your family.
I have two brothers, one older who lives in Asheville, the other younger who is currently a sophomore in high school.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
I first started with music when I got a mass flyer for a local choir program when I was 6. There I began singing, and the rest is history.
What were some of your reasons for choosing to attend UNCG as a music student?
I did the summer camps for a few years and felt very at home here at UNCG. The staff was knowledgeable and entertaining and brought things to the table I never thought of prior. Plus, I can’t imagine doing anything other than music in my life.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the School of Music in this way as this is not a title that is given out freely. It motivates me to work hard and do the school proud.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most? Why?
I take inspiration from all sorts of people, from my older brother to my choir director back in grade school, as these people have helped me greatly along the way.
What would you like or hope to do after graduation?
Something involving music. I have yet to figure out exactly what I want to do.
What do you enjoy doing when you have “down time”?
I play videogames with some of my friends here or I hang out with the UNCG Spartones, the men’s a capella group here.

Tell us something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.
I am a 1st degree black belt in Jeet Fan Jeet Kun Do, or better known as Bruce Lee’s art form.

JACOB WARREN, saxophone

Hometown: Emerald Isle, NC

Tell us a little about your family.
My mother attended The University of Georgia, and The University of Tennessee for her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Speech/Language Pathology. She has been teaching in the public school system for 35 years. My father attended NC State University and graduated from Guilford College. He currently works at Stanadyne in Jacksonville, NC as a Quality Control Engineer. My older brother lives in Virginia Beach where he works for the US Navy at the Oceana Naval Air Station. He is an Aviation Electrician. I also have a cat named Sam.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
In the 5th grade I found an old saxophone hidden in the closet in my house and attempted to make some noise with it. I joined the band in the 6th grade and I haven’t looked back since.
What were some of your reasons for choosing to attend UNCG as a music student?
Being at UNCG can provide a lot of things. This school allows me to receive a world class education in not only music, but also a wide array of skills in many other fields being a widely recognized institution of higher education.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
The Minerva Scholarship means a lot of things to me, however, most of all it means that the faculty at UNCG saw potential in me and is willing to help me become a great musician.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most? Why?
Since I was young, my father has been exposing me to more good music than I can even recollect. From his incredible guitar playing, singing, and songwriting; his wonderful collection of vinyl albums ranging from John Coltrane to the Rolling Stones, and an incredible amount of talent for someone who claims to be just a hobbyist. My dad as a musician, artist, and role model has inspired me more than I can describe in a couple sentences.
What would you like or hope to do after graduation?
When I graduate I hope to continue my education in music and complete a master’s and doctoral degree in saxophone and play in a military band and eventually teach saxophone at a university.
What do you enjoy doing when you have “down time”?
Whenever I can find free time I love to sit down with a guitar and write cheesy songs.
Tell us something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.
I sing and I like cats.

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  • Isaac Pyatt, percussion – Mount Airy, NC
  • Alex Whitehead, clarinet – Nashville, NC

ISAAC PYATT, percussion

Hometown: Mount Airy, NC

Tell us a little about your family.
My father is a Methodist minister, so as a result, my family moved around a lot during my childhood. My mother, an alumna of the UNCG School of Music, is now involved with local history and historical reenactments, and my older sister is attending the University of Oklahoma.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
My parents began teaching me piano when I was 4, and started private lessons when I was 6. I took formal lessons on piano for 9 years, before switching all of my instrumental focus to percussion. I still maintain my piano skills when necessary.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most? Why?
Aaron Gillespie, while not a classical musician, brings a certain energy and emotion to his performances that is almost unparalleled. Within his musical style, he carved himself a niche, which has attributed to his success as a performer.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
To me, the Minerva Scholarship means that I have been recognized by the faculty of this school for the hard work and dedication that I have put forth towards my craft. I am grateful that there are donors willing to give money to help students further their education in this manner.
What would you like to do after graduation?
I plan to continue my musical education by pursuing a master’s degree in music performance, and see where that takes me.
What non-musical activity do you enjoy most?
Since music has been an integral part of my life from a young age, I sometimes find it difficult to remove myself completely from music. On the rare occasion I find myself with free time apart from studying or practicing, I choose to spend it relaxing with friends.
Tell us something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.
Every once in a while, I’ll dive headfirst into the writings of Immanuel Kant, or even John Stuart Mill or John-Paul Sartre. Philosophy is a side interest of mine, but one I have little time to pursue.

ALEX WHITEHEAD, clarinet

Hometown: Nashville, NC

Tell us a little about your family.
I grew up in a small town with my mom and younger brother. My brother is in 10th grade and plays the alto saxophone. My mom works with budgeting at Social Services.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
I started playing music when I was in the sixth grade, with the middle school band program. I started with clarinet, loved the way it sounded, and stuck with it all along.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most? Why?
The person who inspires me the most would be Michael Cyzewski. I’ve studied with him 8th grade. He kindled my love for music, and for the clarinet. He pushed me hard to do my best, and taught me to settle for nothing less.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
It means that the professors here saw something in me, and were willing to make an investment in my musical studies. I am very grateful and thankful for receiving this scholarship on behalf of the CVPA and the benefactors.
What would you like to do after graduation?
I would like to go to graduate school and continue to pursue clarinet performance. After that, I want a career in a professional orchestra.
What non-musical activity do you enjoy most?
I love to play tennis whenever I get a chance. It’s such a great stress reliever!
Tell us something about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn.
In 7th grade, I won my middle school’s geography bee with flying colors.

three students jumping

  • Samantha Frenduto, clarinet – Rougemont, NC
  • Patrick Hoffman, viola – Charlotte, NC
  • Rachel Knierim, horn – Raleigh, NC

SAMANTHA FRENDUTO, clarinet

Hometown: Rougemont, NC
Tell us a little about your family.
Both of my parents graduated from UNC Chapel Hill. My mother teaches elementary school and preschool and my father is doctor. My younger sister is active in the theater and choral programs at her high school and has recently discovered an interest in technical theater.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
I first started playing the clarinet in 6th grade band. I never had the desire to switch instruments.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
To me, the Minerva Scholarship is a representation of the UNCG faculty’s belief in my potential and investment in my education. I thoroughly appreciate their support and genuine interest in my growth as a musician.
What would you like or hope to do after graduation?
I hope to continue furthering my musical development by pursuing both Masters and Doctoral degrees. I have an interest in both performing in professional ensembles and teaching at the university level.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most?
Julie DeRoche. She is one of the current clarinet professors at DePaul University. She also plays in the Chicago Clarinet Trio and has played with the Chicago Symphony. I heard her perform a double concerto for Viola and clarinet with the DePaul Symphony Orchestra and was blown away by her resonance, beauty, and control of sound. Also, after having a clarinet lesson with her I immediately grabbed a pen and paper was able to write an entire page of notes about the lesson because I gained so much from it.
Who is your favorite author or book, and why?
My favorite book is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I found it very interesting because it is a dystopian novel that exacerbates the flaws of today’s society to such an extreme extent that the reader feels uneasy.
Who is your favorite musician, and why?
Anthony McGill, the principal clarinetist of the Metropolitan Opera. I loved hearing him perform at the Obama Inauguration in 2008.
What do you enjoy doing when you have “down time”?
I enjoy listening to music and going to Tate Street Coffee.
Tell us something about yourself that most folks would be surprised to know.
Throughout high school I had such a strong interest in the Spanish language that I took five semesters of Spanish. I think it would be advantageous and fun to continue taking Spanish or study abroad in a Spanish speaking country.

PATRICK HOFFMAN, viola

Hometown: Charlotte, NC

Tell us a little about your family.
I grew up in Charlotte, the youngest of three children (not including the family dog which might as well be considered one of the children), with my Mom and Dad. I have two older sisters who both are currently living in Charlotte. My mother is a self-employed Hair Dresser and my father is the Theater manager/ Technical Director at Charlotte Country day school.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
I guess I started playing music a little late by today’s standards. I didn’t start until my 6th grade year. I am also one of the few, born and raised Violists. Viola was my first instrument and I’ve been in love ever since.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
The Minerva scholarship means a couple things to me. First, it is a great honor to be awarded anything to come to a school. I’m very grateful for UNCG’s generosity. Second, it really means a great deal of responsibility. Being granted not only admission but financial assistance to come to a school to do exactly what you want to do is an enormous gift. With that gift comes a responsibility to do exactly what you came to school to do to the best of your ability and maybe even more importantly, use that to give back to the University as much as possible.
What would you like or hope to do after graduation?
After graduation I would love to start teaching Orchestra at the high school level. If I were to not teach, I would also like to go back to school for my masters in either Music Education or Instrumental Conducting.
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most?
This is such a difficult question to answer because I feel that you can draw some inspiration from all artists. The name however, that keeps popping into my head is Dr. Kevin Geraldi. Dr. Geraldi is one of the most skilled conductors and all-around nicest people I have ever met. I’m so privileged to have the opportunity to work with him this year and I hope that I will continue to have that pleasure.
Who is your favorite author or book, and why?
I’m fighting the urge to write “Junie B Jones”, but I suppose I should put something a little more scholarly. Jokes aside, I am a big fan of Agatha Christie and William Faulkner.
Who is your favorite musician, and why?
I can’t say that I have a favorite musician because it changes so frequently!
What do you enjoy doing when you have “down time”?
I’m a Music Ed major, so I’ll have to let you know in 4 years. It’s all music, eating, and the occasional sleeping… and it’s fantastic.
Tell us something about yourself that most folks would be surprised to know.
I have Heterochromia, which means that my eyes are two slightly different colors. And to top off that weirdness, I also have two different color eye-brows!

RACHEL KNIERIM, horn

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Tell us a little about your family.
My family is great. My dad is a computer engineer who grew up on a farm in Montana, and my mum is an anthropology student at NC State who grew up in Britain. She’s also really interested in theatre design and production. My sister, Sarah, is an artist and probably the most creative and unique person I know.
When did you first start playing music? What was your first instrument? (Do you still play that instrument?)
As a kid, I always really enjoyed listening to classical music and going to music class in elementary school. As far as my first instrument, I started playing flute in sixth grade, and then switched to horn at the end of that year. I don’t play flute anymore.
What does the Minerva Scholarship mean to you?
I am very grateful for this scholarship and for its benefactors. It reminds me that there are people who are supportive of my dreams and goals, and that inspires me to work even harder.
What would you like or hope to do after graduation?
I would like to pursue a Master’s degree in Performance. After that I would like to play in orchestras or chamber ensembles, but I’ll keep my options open!
What musician, artist, or role model inspires you the most?
I’m inspired by lots of different people, but I’d have to say my high school band director, Dr. Jerry Markoch, is one of the most influential role models in my life. He always keeps a positive attitude, finds a way to learn from every situation, and works hard at everything he does.
Who is your favorite author or book, and why?
Ender’s Shadow, part of the Ender’s Game series by Orson Scott Card. I love the depth of the characters and the story, as well as the moral and ethical questions that arise in the story.
Who is your favorite musician, and why?
There are lots of musicians who stand out to me as favorites, but Sarah Willis of the Berlin Philharmonic is one of my absolute favorite musicians. Not only is she a brilliant musician and horn player, but she also finds new ways to teach. For example, she uses YouTube and other technological advances to teach on a new level.
What do you enjoy doing when you have “down time”?
I love movies, so I usually watch a lot of Netflix and YouTube. I also like making my own videos, so sometimes I go out with my video camera and film just for fun.
Tell us something about yourself that most folks would be surprised to know.
I really like making good food, particularly vegetarian and vegan recipes.

2012

  • Taylor Speed, clarinet – Burke, VA
  • Hamin Kim, cello – Fayetteville, NC
  • Caroline Webster, oboe – Greensboro, NC
  • Anson Carroll, horn – Holly Springs, NC