The College of Humanities and Fine Arts will award the Marie Holifield Taylor Piano Scholarship in the Spring of 2014. The endowment level has been reached after its establishment in 2008.
The scholarship will be awarded to a music major with an emphasis in piano. Private study is one requirement needed for a piano player before they come to the University, and all Murray State enrollment requirements must be met. Auditions will be held to select the recipient.
Music professor Randall Black said the piano scholarship will more than likely go to an incoming freshman, encouraging their enrollment at Murray State.
Taylor said the scholarship is meaningful to the University because it encourages a well-prepared pianist to come study at Murray State rather than another school. To attract high quality piano majors, the University has to become more competitive.
Taylor began at Murray State in 1970 with the department of music. She taught for 31 years, and served as Keyboard Unit Coordinator for many of those years.
She is currently teaching a piano class, although she officially retired in 2000.
Black started the scholarship fund in 2008 after recording a CD of classical pieces with Taylor.
Neither Black nor Taylor wanted to sell the CD for profit; Black said the scholarship would be a noble use of the money.
Former students of Taylor, colleagues and friends contributed to the fund in honor of Taylor and in memory of her late husband Robert “Hawk” Taylor.
Taylor started playing at a young age. She said she cannot remember when she was unable to play the piano. Her talent led her to venues such as the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. She has also played abroad in Australia, London and throughout the United Kingdom.
Taylor plays regularly for nursing homes and volunteers for opportunities to play with University and area public school students.
“Piano adds so much more to a song,” said Grace Lauzon, a vocalist from Owensboro, Ky. “Instrumentalists can play by themselves but most often they are accompanied by a piano because that gives much more depth and detail to the piece.”
Said Black: “(Taylor) is the most giving musician that I know. A person who is so generous with their talent deserves recognition.”