Students at Flagstaff High School will have the opportunity to apply for a new Music Scholarship this month. Started by Bob and Bina Miller in memory of their son, the Haven Walker Scholarship Fund aims to help local musicians afford lessons.
Haven Walker was a musician in the Flagstaff community, playing guitar and narration in a number of bands prior to his death in February of 2020. Pina Miller said the scholarship was created as a way to honor Walker and his love of music.
“We thought this would be a great way to pay tribute to and honor our son’s memory by helping the community with this scholarship,” she said.
In partnership with Flagstaff Music Festival, a non-profit organization, Millers will provide five $1,000 scholarships to local high school students to encourage their passion for music. They say scholarships will be awarded based on talent, financial need, and a “clear commitment to music.”
Bob Miller described the potential recipients as “gifted Flagstaff High School students who are financially in need and cannot afford to pay for lessons”.
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At least half of the funds for each scholarship will be allocated to music lessons for instrumental musicians. Vocal musicians will not be eligible for scholarships for this year, but students who are going charter or homeschooling are also encouraged to apply.
The Millers team has been working on this extensively since June, and they say they are excited to finally be offering the scholarship. Applications will be open from January 15 to 26. After review by the advisory board of local musicians and teachers of music, the five winners will be announced in late March.
“The idea is for each scholarship recipient to have a mentor who works with that student and comes up with a good plan to maximize the use of the $1,000,” Bob Miller said. “[The scholarship] For talented musicians who are financially in need of any instrument at all – it doesn’t matter if it’s classical, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll or bluegrass. “
Millers hope that each of the scholarship recipients will play at the awards ceremony in the spring. They also plan to grow the fund over time, adding additional and larger scholarships.
Pina Miller said they have supported Walker with his music education since he was 13, making sure he can access music and instrument lessons. Walker made two trips to India to study Sarod under Ali Akbar Kan, she said, and performed with artists such as David Lindley.
“He’s joined quite a few different rock ‘n’ roll bands,” said Bob Miller. “Huck Freely, Eaten by Ants – they had very funny names.”
A statement announcing the scholarship named Walker “a wonderful musician, son, father, and friend to all.”
“He’s been a staple for 20 years in the Flagstaff music scene, playing guitar, narration, and crossing many genres of music,” she said. “His premature death is still in our mourning, but his legacy will continue through this new scholarship fund.”
More information, including application instructions, can be found at flagstaffmusicfestival.com/#apply.