First Scout House Music Scholarship Winners

| |

scout_house_100x100The inaugural winners of Wilf Blum $1,000 Youth Music Scholarships awarded by Scout House Band through the Waterloo Region boards of education include an elementary school student who is already teaching music theory to younger students; a high school jazz soloist who has been playing alto, tenor and baritone saxophone for six years in performances including local, regional and national competitions and a multi-instrumentalist music producer about to enter the Popular Music Studies program at the University of Western Ontario.

The students who will each receive a $1,000 scholarship to be applied to post-secondary tuition in a music program, lessons with an accredited teacher or purchase of an instrument are: Natalie Fischer, a grade 7 student at Laurentian Public School; Luke Wriglesworth, a grade 11 student at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School and Mitchell Hall, a St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School graduate about to begin studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Popular Music Studies at the University of Western Ontario in London.

The scholarships will be presented during a reception at Preston Royal Canadian Legion Branch 126 on Friday, September 12, the evening before the Legion’s annual Warriors’ Day parade and tattoo on Saturday September 13. Preston Legion has encouraged Scout House Band activities for many years through financial and other support.

Natalie Fischer, a grade 7 student at Laurentian Public School who hopes to become a piano teacher, began her music training at age 6. She is already teaching music theory to younger children. She is currently playing piano at the Grade 5 level, having passed the grade 1 and 3 exams with such high marks her teacher decided she did not to have to take the Grade 2 and 4 exams. She walks to her weekly 90-minute piano lessons after school for an hour of playing and 30 minutes of music theory. She also plays flute in her school band. Her scholarship award will be applied to piano and flute lessons.

Luke Wriglesworth, a saxophone player in the Special High Skills Major program at Sir John A. Macdonald Secondary School, will be auditioning for admission to the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Humber College to study jazz in order to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Music program at university. He hopes to become a professional musician. He plays alto, tenor and baritone sax with half a dozen school bands including jazz, guitar, rhythm and blues groups, the pit band for school musicals and the Waterloo Region Ceremonial Police Band. Before moving to Waterloo from Iowa he was selected to play in the Iowa Grade 8 Honor Band. In the Kitchener/Waterloo area, his bands have performed in local, regional and national competitions. He will apply the scholarship to specialized training in jazz theory and piano lessons.

Mitchell Hall, a graduate of St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School just beginning work toward a Bachelor of Arts Major in Popular Music Studies at the University of Western Ontario, started music training at age 3. He hopes to pursue a career in music production, composition or performance. He has already completed Grade 8 Royal Conservatory of Music piano studies. He has extensive experience playing piano, guitar and drums in many school settings including concert, jazz and music class bands. He has won an Outstanding Achievement in Glee Club and an Outstanding Achievement in Orchestra award for his piano playing in a production of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods. He applies his knowledge and skill with various instruments to produce his own recordings. He will apply the scholarship to expand his outdated recording software and hardware. He recently established a YouTube channel for video reviews.

The scholarships are awarded in memory of Wilf Blum, who founded Preston Scout House Band in 1938 as a new activity for members of the 1st Preston Boy Scout Troop. Over the following three decades, Scout House Band (named for the building that was home for the troop) became one of the most popular and admired drum and bugle corps in North America before winding down operation in 1967. The group became independent of Scouts Canada in 1954. The Band returned to life in the fall of 1998 and has since performed more than 425 concerts, street parades and field shows in Ontario, Quebec and 10 American states, receiving more than 50 awards, plaques and certificates during that time.

Applicants for the youth scholarship awards must meet several criteria. They must:
*Excel in the arts at their school, with strong involvement in extra-curricular and student-run activities
*Demonstrate aptitude and intent to pursue continuing activity in the field of instrumental music.
*Reside in Waterloo Region.
*Be attending school in a grade from 7 to 12.
*Have the application endorsed by the student’s music teacher.

Applications are available through school music departments in both Waterloo Region District School Board and Waterloo District Catholic School Board.

Members of the selection committee for the 2014 inaugural awards were: Paul Mitchell, President, Central Ontario Musicians Union; Karen Tomlin, former music teacher and department head with Waterloo Region District School Board, director of the University of Waterloo Concert Band, former marching member and instructor with Ventures Girls drum and bugle corps, former Drum Corps International (DCI) judge, currently principal of St. Andrew’s School in Cambridge; Jim Fraser, vice president of Scout House Band board of directors who has been playing brass instruments for more than 60 years including Scout House Band in the 1950s and the current Scout House Band for the past 15 years. He also has his own six-piece dance combo that has performed as the Tiroler Brass throughout Canada and the United States for more than 40 years.

The Scout House organization now includes about 90 marching members from more than 20 communities across southern Ontario and northern Pennsylvania who had previously been associated with more than 75 marching music organizations. The Scout House family also includes the Scout House Cadets drum and bugle corps for boys and girls from ages 12 to 18.

New members for both groups are welcome throughout the year in marching music positions and a variety of support positions.

For information about Present Scout House Cadets, email pshcadets [at] outlook [dot] com, telephone (519) 886-7468 or visit the web site at

For more information about Scout House Band, contact Activities Director Nancy Weiler at telephone (519) 653-3376, email prestonscouthouseband [dot] adm [at] sympatico [dot] ca or visit the Web site at

Posted by on Thursday, September 4th, 2014. Filed under DCA News, FrontPage Feature.