Matthew Thomas Lin Memorial Scholarship from Grand Masters

The Grand Master Fiddler Championship has announced a new annual $1,000 scholarship in honor of Matthew Lin, a promising young fiddler and regular competitor who died last year at 19 years of age.

The Matthew Thomas Lin Memorial Scholarship is open to high school and college students and musicians, “who display academic achievement, a commitment to serving others, a strong work ethic, active leadership, and financial need the opportunity to continue their musical and academic pursuits.”

Those descriptors above perfectly characterize Lin, who in addition to being a standout young fiddler, was also an athlete, a peer mentor for other young musicians, and an Eagle Scout. His dedication to community service which he had demonstrated in high school continued when he enrolled at the University of Kentucky where he was a Peer Mentor in the Engineering Living Learning Program, as well as a Peer Instructor, and a K Crew Leader.

He passed on December 11, 2020 from complications following lung surgery to remove several blood clots. Matthew’s death sent a shock wave through the music community in which he was involved, his family (of course), and the amateur and competition fiddle world. At the time of his passing Lin was also a member of the University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra., and was studying for a twin major in Chemical Engineering and violin performance.

Here is video of him winning the Youth Division at the 2014 Grand Masters.

The new scholarship application process will typically run from February to May, with a recipient announced in June, but this first year, applications are being accepted now until August 1. A 2021 award recipient will be named August 22.

Requirements for eligibility are:

  • Applicants should be currently enrolled in a public or private high school, homeschool, or an accredited two- or four-year college, university, or vocational-technical school in the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • Applicants should be current residents of the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico.
  • Students should have a cumulative, unweighted grade point average of 2.5.
  • Void wherever prohibited by law.

Preference for selection will be baed on the following criteria:

  • Musicians who plan to use this scholarship for music lessons, instruments, camps, or music-related travel.
  • Applicants who demonstrate substantial contributions to community service.
  • Students with a cumulative unweighted grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.3.
  • Students demonstrating active participation in extracurricular, faith-based, and/or community organizations.
  • Applicants displaying an active leadership role in community service, athletics, and/or similar co-curricular activity (such as student government, team sports, fraternal life, etc.).
  • Students with a minimum ACT Composite score of 25 or a minimum combined SAT score of 1220 (if available).
  • Applicants with demonstration of substantial financial need.

An application form for the Matthew Thomas Lin Memorial Scholarship is available online, along with a list of full scholarship requirements and details. Each candidate must also submit a short video (less than three minutes) or a personal statement (1000 words or less) describing your educational plans and why you should be considered for the scholarship. Musicians are also invited to send links to performance videos online.

More information is available on the Grand Master Fiddler web site.

The 2021 Grand Master Fiddler Championship will be held in person at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum over Labor Day weekend, September 4-5.

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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.