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Concert to benefit music scholarships

© St. Petersburg Times
published May 24, 2002

Seven years ago, Karen Wilcox went with her son to the honors banquet for Pasco County students.

"We saw lots of scholarships given for academics and athletics, but only one was music-related," Mrs. Wilcox said.

That night, she and her husband, Jim, both teachers and music lovers, hatched an idea: Hold music concerts to raise money for music scholarships.

They recruited their friend, harmonica player T.C. Carr, to headline a benefit concert at the Center for the Arts at River Ridge. The classic rock group Knight Sounds, which is mostly Pasco teachers, offered to play, too. The first concert in 1996 put the plan on the road.

Since then, the annual Catch a Rising Star concerts have raised more than $6,500 for scholarships for students involved in music programs, and the family of the late Carol Ann Alber has funded one $500 memorial scholarship for the past two years. This has meant 15 students have been given $500 each toward their college expenses.

"That $500 may pay for books, for private music lessons, for lab fees," Mrs. Wilcox said. "It's not a great big scholarship, but it's something."

On Saturday, the seventh annual Catch a Rising Star Concert will be held at Bourbon Street Concert Club in New Port Richey. The Knight Sounds will headline with T.C. Carr as guest performer, his seventh straight year of donating his talents to the show.

Carr has been out front for various bands in the United States and Europe, toured with rock star Gregg Allman, recorded with Woodstock artist Melanie and played with regional favorites Sarasota Slim and the late "Diamond Teeth" Mary McClain. He played at the International Festival of Country Music in London for four straight years.

Members of Knight Sounds are singer Darrell Huling, drummer Ron Spriggs, bassist Dale Miller, guitarist Tim Ferro and keyboard-guitarist Bob Nunno.

The 2002 scholarship winners already have been announced: Stephanie Fridley and Brittany Houser of River Ridge High School and Jonathan Nace of Zephyrhills High School. To win, they had to have at least a 2.5 grade point average, be involved in a school music program, complete an application and get at least one teacher reference and submit a video of themselves performing on a musical instrument or singing.

"The Carol Ann Alber memorial scholarship rewards a spirited kid whose heart is in the music," Mrs. Wilcox said. This year's award went to Nace.

"He was just unbelieveable, doing scales up and down, a tender, slow ballad, and he inserted himself into the music," Mrs. Wilcox said.

A new, $100 award will be given to the Music Educator of the Year, chosen by other music teachers in the school system, said Jim Wilcox. The winner is Terry Adams of Hudson High School.

"That money goes toward her music program," Wilcox said.

The scholarship winners don't necessarily have to major in music in college, Mrs. Wilcox said. "One went to a pre-med student. We were impressed with the way he played percussion and his spirit," she said. "But some do become music teachers."

At a glance

WHAT: Catch a Rising Star Concert

WHERE: Bourbon Street Concert Club, 4331 U.S. 19, New Port Richey (across from Sam's)

WHEN: Doors open 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m. until 1 a.m.

TICKETS: At the door, $5, or in advance at the club or Encore Music in Bayonet Point

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