Scout House 2016 Wilf Blum Music Scholarship Award Winners

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scout_house_100x100The two winners of the 2016 Wilf Blum Youth Music Scholarships offered by Preston Scout House Band Inc. of Cambridge will be heading off to post-secondary music programs this fall to add to more than 10 years of music training they have already experienced. Each will receive a $750 scholarship award, to be presented during the 7th annual Scout House International Invitational Tattoo field show in University Stadium, Waterloo on Saturday, August 20.

Madison Davidson-McCrabb, of Kitchener-Waterloo Collegiate and Vocational School (KCI), began her piano training at age 8 then added trumpet lessons at age 12. Liam Gerald Schatz, of Sir John A Macdonald Secondary School (SJAM) in Waterloo got an even earlier start, beginning on piano at age 5 and drums at age 8. Both have already completed the grade 8 Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) piano program.

Both also have wide-ranging interests and skills outside their primary music activities. Madison Davidson-McCrabb enjoys creative writing, has graduated from a French immersion program and completed a lifesaving and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course. Liam Schatz is an active member of the local Transylvania Club dance group and has performed cultural dances around the world. He volunteers as a ballroom dance instructor for young adults.

Applicants for the youth scholarship awards, presented in memory of Scout House Band founder Wilf Blum, are asked to 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.

The scholarships may be applied to post-secondary tuition in a music program, lessons with an accredited teacher or purchase of an instrument. Both 2016 winners have already been accepted into post-secondary music programs.


Madison Davidson-McCrabb is already a veteran performer, taking part in two recitals a year throughout her piano studies. She currently teaches piano to young children and completed the RCM advanced rudiments theory exam held in May.

She began trumpet lessons at age 12. She practices two or three hours a day as she prepares for a career in music. She performed regularly at KCI, including solo recitals in music class and performances with the school’s concert band, jazz band, senior wind ensemble and participated with the school’s Music Council. Her leadership in the trumpet section made a noticeable improvement in all her ensemble playing settings.

She was the lead trumpet in the Kitchener/Waterloo Youth Symphony performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony no. 2. She won the Ann Trusler Scholarship award as a dedicated member of the Youth Orchestra then successfully auditioned for entry into the Wilfrid Laurier University Bachelor of Music program. She plans to establish a career in music performance and composition.

Liam Schatz

Liam Schatz has envisioned a future in music since he first started playing piano and drums. He’ll take a major step forward in September when he begins studies in the Bachelor of Music Degree program at Humber College.

During his time at SJAM he played drums and percussion with many groups including the junior and senior jazz bands, the senior jazz combo, the junior and senior concert bands, the pit band for the musical Zombie Prom and as a member of the rhythm section of the jazz choir. On top of this performance schedule, he also mentored younger drummers and assisted with ensemble rehearsals and sectionals.

His school groups have earned top awards at the Kiwanis Music Festival, the Humber College Next Generation Jazz Festival and MusicFest Canada Nationals. He was section leader when his group won the Best Percussion Ensemble Award at MusicFest Canada. At the same festival, he won a personal honour award for drumming with the senior jazz band. He was selected to play the drum set with the Conn-Selmer Centre Stage Band at MusicFest Canada and was selected by Youth Jazz Canada to participate in the Summer Jazz Workshop which will wind up with a performance at the Toronto Beaches Jazz Festival in July.

Outside school, he led the Youth Praise Band at a summer camp for youth from across the province, performed at a Kitchener/Waterloo Oktoberfest Festhall for six years and has participated in several community fundraisers. He also plays drums with Stark Choice, his own band, and St. Peter’s Youth Praise Band. His weekly schedule includes practice sessions at home, weekly lessons with drum teacher Tony Bender and percussion teacher Brennan Connolly and rehearsals before, during and after school with various SJAM bands. He is scheduled to write the RCM Grade 2 (Advanced Rudiments) theory exam in August.

Members of the Wilf Blum Youth Music Scholarships 2016 selection committee were: Paul Mitchell, President, Central Ontario Musicians Union; Karen Tomlin, principal of St. Andrew’s School, Cambridge, who holds a joint Honours Bachelor of Arts in Music and Social Development studies; Gord Cupskey, music director of Scout House Band and Band’s Silver Leaves brass ensemble.

Wilf Blum 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 with practices beginning in the fall of 1998. Since its first performance in the spring of 1999, Scout House Band has performed more than 450 concerts, street parades and field shows in Ontario, Quebec and 10 American states, receiving more than 50 awards, plaques and certificates during that time.

Preston Scout House Band Inc. now includes five separate units offering people of all ages the opportunity to participate in marching arts activities throughout their entire lives.

Preston Scout House Band now includes about 50 marching members from more than a dozen communities across southern Ontario, New York and northern Pennsylvania who have previously been associated with more than 50 marching music organizations.

The Scout House family also includes the Preston Scout House Cadets youth drum and bugle corps for boys and girls, Silver Leaves brass ensemble, Magic of Scout House competitive winter guard, undefeated in two seasons of competition, and the Band’s Heritage Drill Team, wearing the distinctive uniform of the 1950s and 1960s while performing many of the unique marching routines of that time.

New members for all groups are welcome throughout the year in performance positions and a variety of support positions.

For more information about Preston Scout House Band Inc., 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 Tuesday, June 14th, 2016. Filed under DCA News, FrontPage Feature.