IBMA Foundation announces 2020 scholarship recipients

The IBMA Foundation, the charitable and academic arm of the International Bluegrass Music Association, has announced the 2020 recipients of their Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship and Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship.

These young students and musicians are the first class of scholars to receive these awards to further their study of bluegrass and traditional music forms in higher education. The Sally Ann Forrester College Scholarship is expressly directed to women in bluegrass, and is permanently endowed at the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, through a major founding gift from Murphy Henry, prominent bluegrass educator and author of the first biography of female bluegrass artists, Pretty Good for a Girl: Women in Bluegrass (University of Illinois Press).

The recipients for this scholarship include:

  • 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.

The Rick Lang Music Songwriter Scholarship is, as its name suggests, for young people who show promise and determination in bluegrass songwriting. This award is funded by Rick and Wendy Lang, and they hope to continue to offer it year over year. Rick is a noted writer in our music who currently chairs the IBMA Songwriter Committee whose career has been marked equally by successful songs and an effort to help others in our industry achieve their dreams.

This year’s recipient of the Rick Lang Scholarship is Heather Alley, a particularly promising young singer and songwriter from Dayton, OH who is a senior at Morehead State University. She plans to complete her degree at Morehead’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music at Morehead in 2021. You can also hear her with band, Mountain Time.

The IBMA Foundation is deeply proud of these young women who represent the future of bluegrass music. You can support the work of the Foundation by making donations online.

Share this:

About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.