The Staunton Music Guild recently named Waynesboro High School graduate Gwynne Wood winner of the Ray Houser Scholarship for 2014.
Gwynne is the third recipient of what the Staunton Music Guild hopes will be a long list of “Ray Houser Scholars.” Gwynne maintained a 3.75 grade point average at WHS and will be majoring in Musical Theater at the Boston Conservatory this fall. Gwynne has been active in local musical theater, a frequent performer at open mic nights, and had her own band, “Gwynne Wood and the Civilians.” Gwynne’s passion for music and how it contributes to the entire community shone through in her submitted essay to the Staunton Music Guild Scholarship committee.
The SMG scholarship was created in honor of Ray Houser’s legacy in the Staunton area. After battling health problems for quite some time, the 85 year old Houser died on May 30, 2012. He was however, able to attend the scholarship fundraiser in November 2011. Houser had been a memorable figure in the Staunton community since 1946 when he first started working in local radio. Born blind, Houser “miraculously” recovered his sight and went on to graduate from the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind, performed in a dance band, ran several businesses, served on the boards for local non-profits, assisted with local concert series—all while hosting a variety of radio programs.
Generous donations from the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Staunton Lions Club and dozens of musicians who have donated time at fundraisers over the past two years have allowed SMG to build a program that will assist aspiring young musicians further their education for years to come.
The Staunton Music Guild is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization whose mission is to support the performance and growth of music in the Staunton area through promotion, education and community outreach. A new open mic series held every 3rd Weds. of the month at 107 E. Beverley St., the Gift of Music program offering live music at August Health every quarter, a songwriting showcase and a variety of community events are scheduled throughout 2014. Visit www.stauntonmusicguild.org for more information.