Mount Union's Department of Music Flourishes with Incoming Grants

July 26, 2016

ALLIANCE, Ohio - The University of Mount Union’s Department of Music has recently been the recipient of two grants to help spread music and arts through both the campus and the community.

The most recent grant was awarded by ArtsinStark for $500 to pay for Alex Bevan, an award-winning musician, to perform as a guest artist with the Alliance Symphony Orchestra (ASO) this August at the Carnation Days in the Park festival.

Carnation Days in the Park begin Wednesday, August 17 and run through Saturday August 20. Bevan and the ASO, will perform on Wednesday August, 17 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Silver Park.

Dr. Elaine Anderson, professor and chair of the Department of Music, spoke about the class that was awarded the grant, saying, “Visual and performing arts majors or not, students are passionate about many things including the arts that would greatly enhance life in their communities in the future.  Steering funds toward their worthy projects and building teams to make their dreams happen are worthy skills to build.”

Students in Anderson’s senior capstone class, Arts Advocacy in Action, wrote the ArtsinStark grant application that won the department the award. The students were Michelle Banis, Ciara Marshall and T.J. Owens, and together they wrote “The concert will provide community members with a get-away from the everyday struggle that life often brings. Particularly, the event will allow for reflection on daily activities and experiences. The event will embody the idea that everyone has the right and ability to create and enjoy music together...The musical performance with a [Bevan] will offer a strong sense of belonging and connectedness, bringing community members together across age and culture. The bonding opportunity for audience members will engage social interactions for all ages, again, creating a sense of community.”

Bevan has performed through the mid-1970s with an acoustic trio consisting of two guitars and electric bass, and opened for such acts such as The Michael Stanley Band, The Doobie Brothers, and Hall and Oates. He also created radio advertisements for the Cleveland Browns. In 1987, Bevan even won an Emmy award for his post score of the Rustbelt Blues, the final segment of NBC's American Promise documentary.

The Department of Music was also awarded the Legacy Gift of $25,000 from The Presser Foundation. The purpose of the Legacy Gift is to honor the life and relationships of Theodore Presser, who was an assistant professor of music at Mount Union and is the namesake for Presser Recital Hall in the Giese Center for the Performing Arts.  

"Theodore Presser's philanthropic vision guides the decisions of the Capital Support Committee of the Board of Trustees,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cornelius, Chair of the Capital Support Committee. “From the many fine project applications we receive, we carefully select those most consistent with the funding guidelines of The Foundation, which stem directly from Mr. Presser's intentions.  We are delighted with the quality of the proposals for which we are providing funding and to join with other funding sources of these organizations in seeing these projects come to reality."

The Presser Foundation was established in 1939 under the Deeds of Trust and Will of the late Theodore Presser. It is one of the few private foundations in the United States dedicated solely to music education and music philanthropy. The Presser Foundation supports music performance and education through undergraduate and graduate scholar awards, operating and program support for music organizations, capital grants for music building projects, and assistance to retired music teachers.

For more information on Mount Union’s Department of Music please visit:

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