Steve Mandell Memorial Music Scholarship Fund awards announced

The recipients of the 2021 Steve Mandell Memorial Music Scholarship Fund grants have been announced. These awards are offered annually to assist those seeking to learn, develop, and enhance their music education in folk, bluegrass, old-timey, or other acoustic Americana styles. Grants between $500-$1,000 are provided based on need and/or ability.

The Mandell Memorial Fund Scholarship is managed by Common Ground on the Hill in Maryland, in honor of Steve Mandell, who passed away in 2018 from prostate cancer. He had been a prominent bluegrass and folk guitarist, starting in New York as part of the folk scene around Washington Square in the 1960s, eventually moving to the suburbs of Baltimore where he remained active as an artist. Steve’s biggest claim to fame was as the guitarist who played alongside Eric Weissberg on the classic recording of Dueling Banjos that ended up in the score for the movie Deliverance in 1972.

Later in his life, Mandell’s presence was felt as he initiated a concert series at his congregation in Reisterstown, MD. He was also a regular at regional festivals and served frequently as a judge for music competitions in Virginia and Maryland.

Following his death, Common Ground launched this scholarship, funded by tax deductible donations for this purpose. The number of scholarships to be given each year is dependent on the amount of donations received, as well as income from investments of the fund. Scholarship awards are paid directly to a music camp, instructor, or college designated by the applicants.

Chosen to receive awards this year are:

  • Emma Salemi, Arnold, MD – violin/fiddle
  • Elizabeth Keppler, Bangor, PA – hammered dulcimer
  • Maude Brossoie, Nottingham, MD – guitar
  • Deborah Jackson, Baltimore, MD – bass

Recipients will be honored officially during the Charm City Bluegrass Festival in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD, Saturday, April 30, 2022.

Applications are open now for the 2022 grants, and submissions received by December 31, 2022 will be considered. Application forms can be found online. The scholarship is available regardless of age.

Donations are gratefully accepted for the furtherance of the Steve Mandell Memorial Music Scholarship Fund.

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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.