Music endowment to provide DePauw tutoring to students

Monday, October 13, 2014
Greencastle High School senior Taylor Secrest was recently honored as the inaugural recipient of the Gerard Family Musical Endowment scholarship. Endowed by Bryan and Robin Gerard of Greencastle, the fund will allow Putnam County students to receive individual tutoring on a musical instrument through the DePauw School of Music Preparatory Program. Present for the announcement were (from left) Putnam County Community Foundation Executive Director Elaine Peck, Bryan and Robin Gerard, DePauw organ instructor Carla Edwards, Secrest, DePauw Preparatory Program Coordinator Jennifer Soster and DePauw School of Music Dean Mark McCoy. (Photo by JARED JERNAGAN)

The generosity of a local family will have a Greencastle High School senior learning a new musical instrument and expanding his musical repertoire.

Taylor Secrest, son of Brad and Marjorie Secrest, is already a trombonist and pianist. The newly-established Gerard Family Music Endowment will allow him to begin learning organ from DePauw School of Music instructor Carla Edwards.

The endowment was established through the Putnam County Community Foundation.

The grant of $1,145 from Bryan and Robin Gerard was set up to provide a scholarship for Putnam County students to receive individual tutoring on a musical instrument from DePauw faculty through the DePauw School of Music Preparatory Program.

It just so happened that the first award went to Secrest, a former piano student of Robin Gerard.

"It's a great honor," Secrest said. "I've known Robin as my piano teacher and I was honored to learn I was going to get a scholarship to learn organ."

Secrest's current piano instructor is DePauw instructor Maureen Carkeek, who suggested his piano playing would benefit from organ lessons. Those lessons will now come from fellow DePauw instructor Carla Edwards.

The Gerards were surprised to learn a former student had been awarded the scholarship. The real goal, Robin said, was to simply bring more music to the youth of the community.

"I just wanted more music," Robin said. "I want children to be able to grow up and have the experience of music. I'd like in the future to see an orchestra -- a youth orchestra and perhaps a community adult orchestra."

With such goals in mind, Community Foundation Executive Director Elaine Peck said the Gerards can, in the future, change the exact use of the endowment, but that it is to promote music in the community.

Peck also highlighted the partnership between community members and the university such a program represents.

"This is an excellent opportunity to showcase the new and exciting ways that DePauw and members of the community are working together," Peck said.

The Putnam County Community Foundation is a nonprofit public charity established in 1985 to serve donors, award grants and provide leadership, enriching the quality of life and strengthening community in Putnam County.

The DePauw University School of Music Preparatory Program offers public school-aged students and all interested members of the community of any age private music instruction from School of Music faculty and students. Instruction on instruments not available in the public schools and music for younger students and children is especially popular.

For more information about the preparatory program, contact Jennifer Soster at or 658-4437.

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