A&M-Central Texas and Temple College Partner to Raise Funds for Music Scholarships

Special to Leader-Press


Killeen - Five years ago, when Sara Harris Baker became the Director of Choral Activities at Temple College, she couldn’t help but admire the symmetry of fate.

Not that long ago, she had been a student there herself. Walking to music labs through the Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center, she had known and enjoyed at least two other Temple College icons: Sarah Nell Summers and Tom Fairlie, conductor of the Temple Symphony, she knew on sight.

Little did she know then that the future of the music program would thrive in her hands or or that there would be an opportunity to partner with Texas A&M – Central Texas on an upper-level music program.

“I have seen my students’ need for a quality, affordable education beyond the associate degree,” Baker said. “We are so pleased that A&M-Central Texas is giving us the opportunity to provide that for our music students.”

“Temple Symphony and retired Fine Arts Division Director Maetro Tom Fairlie and A&M-Central Texas Dean Dr. Jerry Jones made this degree partnership idea a reality. It’s wonderful to watch it unfold and support it.”

Having successfully transferred, earning both a master’s degree and a doctorate in music, Sara had returned to where her love for music had been nurtured, ready to do the same for the next generation of talent.

But, even with the partnership, she realized that something was missing: music students attending Temple College compete for scholarships and often receive them as a part of their financial aid. But if this new degree was going to blossom at A&M-Central Texas, they would need smiliar support. So she set out to do just that.

In the company of fine arts division colleagues, Dr. Colin Mason, Dr. Benjamin Irom and Teri Johnson, there will be musical performances, a live stream of the derby, food, and games aplenty at the Kentucky Derby Day event this Saturday, May 6th at The Wildflower Country Club, from 4-7 p.m.

“We have six students pioneering their way toward their undergraduate degree at A&M-Central Texas, earning a concentration in music and about twelve hoping to start their journey in the fall,” she began. “And our goal is to be able to raise enough money to give them a little bit of help when they get there.”

Dr. Jerry Jones, Dean of A&M-Central Texas College of Arts & Sciences, applauds Sara and her colleagues for their desire to do more.

“It’s a real joy to partner with Temple College on this project. We are hoping that someday, there’ll be a scholarship available for every worthy music student.”

Event leaders confirm that they’re expecting Derby Day to be popular based on the number of guests who have already replied to their invitations, but they say there’s always room for more.

“The music community is filled with good people who appreciate the goals of a partnership like ours and who support the fine arts,” said Karen Clos, head of advancement at A&M-Central Texas.

“In too many parts of the country, music programs and their students are being abandoned in budget crunches. The folks in the Central Texas region won’t let that happen. It is our hope that this event will become an annual tradition that just gets stronger and stronger.”

Interested parties who would like to attend the event or make a gift contribution to the scholarship program can reach out to Dr. Karen Clos at A&M-Central Texas at 519.5744.

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