The DC Bluegrass Union has chosen today, the birthday of the late guitarist Orrin Star, to announce the first recipient of their music scholarship which honors his many contributions to bluegrass music.
Marleigh Blackwell of Capon Bridge, West Virginia is the 2022 awardee of the Orrin Star Music Scholarship. She is just getting started with guitar and her $500 grant will be applied to private lessons with Ben Townsend of Capon Bridge.
Speaking of his student, Ben shares that “Marleigh has a passion for singing and traditional music. She looks to use the guitar to support her creative spirit.”
Star was a native of New Jersey who toured widely with Gary Mehalick during the 1970s and ’80s as a flatpicking duo. Later he settled in Maryland and became known as one of the premiere instructors of the style, both with private students, at camps and workshops around the country, and with his flatpicking videos. His 1985 book, Hot Licks for Bluegrass Guitar, is still in use today.
DCBU President Matt Slocum says that “The DC Bluegrass Union is proud to commemorate Orrin’s legacy of teaching to assist young players as they pursue their interest in music.”
The Orrin Star Music Scholarship is open to any residents of Washington, DC, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware who are 21 years of age or younger, pursuing guitar and/or vocal training in bluegrass or old time music. Application details to submit for next year’s scholarship will be posted on the DCBU web site this fall.