Joe Mullins has announced a new scholarship for music students in Ohio which has been named for his dear friend, Doug Eyink, a very special educator in Centerville, OH who we have covered several times at Bluegrass Today. Doug runs an after school program for middle and high school students in Centerville called Alternative Strings, which not only exposes them to bluegrass and other roots music forms, but also gives them the opportunity to perform and even record with top bluegrass artists.
Eyink is in a continuing battle with cancer, and is expected to retire from teaching after this school year. While Doug is personally irreplaceable, Mullins has started work to institute a scholarship in his name, which has been titled The Doug Eyink Alternative Strings Scholarship. Fundraising to endow the scholarship has just begun, with proceeds from a Fan Feast Breakfast at this weekend’s Industrial Strength Bluegrass Festival to be donated to the fund.
Let’s have Joe share his own thoughts about Doug and this effort in his name.
I met Doug Eyink nearly 15 years ago when he called me to help present and promote a Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver concert at Centerville High School. He said, “I’m a banjo player who teaches music and orchestra to over 600 students, and I want them to learn about bluegrass.” I was immediately excited!
Doug has now inspired hundreds of former students and families with his passion and skills. He began the Alternative Strings program to teach select orchestra students bluegrass, Celtic, jazz, and other music styles, and has showcased the students as performers in the bluegrass community extensively. Doug and his Alternative Strings students have hosted concerts and performed with The Radio Ramblers many times, as well as Sierra Hull, Special Consensus, Doyle Lawson, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Rhonda Vincent, Nothin’ Fancy and many others through the years.
When JMRR and Alternative Strings first partnered to perform and video record our song, Some Kind of War, Doug was fighting his first battle with colon cancer. It was an emotional time for his family, his students, alumni, and everyone who so enjoys working with this wonderful teacher. The fight has continued and Doug’s doctor recommended his retirement from teaching this year.
I want Doug’s impact and legacy to always be appreciated and represented in Ohio schools, so I contacted his dear friend Hillary Wagner, an Alternative Strings assistant and coordinator, and asked her to help launch the Doug Eyink Alternative Strings Scholarship. Doug, the Eyink family, and many Alternative Strings alums were thankful and eagerly approved of the effort. We have even received a matching grant from a former student of up to $5000!!
In addition to net proceeds from the Fan Feast tomorrow at the festival, all tips and donations solicited during the meal will go into the scholarship fund. They will also be raffling off a new Frank Howard guitar during the festival, and soliciting further donations at a booth on site all weekend. Any donation of $5 or more earns a chance in the raffle.
If you will be attending Industrial Strength Bluegrass this weekend, please consider a donation of any size to the Doug Eyink Alternative Strings Scholarship. We presume that after the festival is concluded, Joe will share other ways you can donate to this great cause.
Here’s video from 2013 of Doug leading Alternative Strings performing his arrangement for Some Kind of War with Joe and The Radio Ramblers.