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By Marilyn Heidtke

Scholarship History

          Marilyn Heidtke has handled the Society’s Scholarship/Youth program since its inception in 1996. As of the end of 2023, Marilyn has resigned as Chairperson as she is moving to Tennessee. Marilyn deserves many thanks from all of our members for her diligent work over the years managing both the Scholarship and Youth Jazz Camp Programs. Wonderful job Marilyn!

Roy Woodle approached Chuck and Marilyn Heidtke at the Bilmar Beach Bar in 1996 about setting up a Scholarship Program and a Chairperson was needed. The available money had come from Memorial Donations in memory of Ralph J. Drish, Program chairperson of the Society at the time of his death, also from monies allocated from the Francis G. Prasse Trust Fund, administered by another Society member, attorney has retired from his practice Woody Weidemeier.

          Chuck was a newly retired School Administrator from Michigan but had no connections to anyone in education in Florida. He and Marilyn contacted the Pinellas and Hillsborough Education Foundations to see what steps were necessary to establish such a fund. Both Foundations were extremely helpful. The first scholarships were awarded in 1996 to two musicians, one from Pinellas County and one from Hillsborough. Scholarships were awarded every year thereafter including 2023.

            Except for four years during Chuck’s illness and passing, Marilyn has served as Scholarship Chairperson. Since the inception of the program, our Society has awarded scholarship monies totaling $138,500.

            Beginning in 2003 the society began sponsoring two young musicians to attend a week at the Teagarden Jazz Camp in Sacramento, California. Bill Dendle has been the director of the camp for many years. Recently, Bill retired from his position, and he is being replaced by another musician, Clint Baker, who was a student at the Jazz Camp when he was 13, the year he led his first band. Over the years our Society provided funds totaling $49,826.32 to give the jazz camp experience to the youth from our area. The camp was closed for two during Covid. However, we have not resumed this program due to the lack of funds in our Scholarship Program.

            Joe Wall has graciously stepped up to handle the duties of the Scholarship Chairperson in the future.

Sheet Music
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