Scholarships for Youth

Past Recipients

2014 Augusta Heritage Center Scholoarship Award

Congratulations to Josh Thompson of Marquette!  Josh has been selected to attend the Augusta Heritage Center in August 2014.  In the photo, Josh receives the Scholarship Award from Hiawatha Board Vice President, Doug Kitchel.  

Josh Thompson was born and raised in Hartselle, Alabama.  As a kid, he never learned to play a musical instrument, convinced his fingers were too fat to play. After college he recalls sitting on the banks of a small river in Tennessee, listening to friends pick out songs, wishing he could do the same. He briefly thought of finally learning to play, but decided he was too old to start. He was 21 years old at the time. Two years passed and he decided to learn to play hand percussion thinking that because it was somehow more primitive than, say guitar, it would be easier to play. After developing an appreciation of rhythm asked his wife to by him a banjo. She did and they both suffered as he tried to teach himself to play. Having never played a melody in his life he was generally befuddled by the instrument and he gave up after one year. Years passed and he finally decided that his newborn baby should grow up with music in the house. So he picked up my dad’s guitar and learned a handful of folk songs.   He is now hooked on making simple music at home.


Congrats to Josh and best of luck to you at Augusta!

The scholarship is open to Marquette-area young people, ages 12-20, and adults who have never attended an Augusta session, and who have an applied interest in traditional, American music.The scholarship student will attend Week 5 of the Augusta summer schedule. The specific themes of Week 5 are Old-Time Music, Dance, and Vocal. The week also includes the Augusta Festival over the final weekend. The program offers a wide selection of classes taught by top musicians.

There will also be workshops with master artists and performers, extensive jamming, formal concerts, and dances.

Instrumental classes are available in fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, mandolin, and bass. Specialty guitar classes cover flatpicking, finger style, and back-up. More than 20 vocal topic classes ranging from early country harmony to African-American Gospel will also be available. Additional information is available on-line at Augusta Heritage Center.

The focus of Augusta classes and instructors is not to develop polished competitors or stage performers. Rather the major objective is to develop an appreciation and love for the music and the people through which it developed and evolved.

Augusta Heritage Center Youth/First-timer Scholarship

Brian Prill, 2013 Hiawatha Augusta Scholarship Winner shown here with Hiawatha Board Vice President, Doug Kitchel. Brian, formerly of Grand Marais and now living in Marquette attended the Bluegrass Week this past August.  Brian is interested in helping youth develop their guitar skills and appreciation for traditional music.  


2013 Augusta Scholarship WinnerReport from Brian to Phil Watts

“Holy wha is about all I can say, my head is reeling….   What an amazing experience though, being surrounded by so many good musicians and playing music all day, and night, incredible. All the instructors just put on a show in the auditorium tonight and it was astounding. I can’t wait to come back again some day, and there is still a day to go. Thank you a ton for the introduction and experience, it has been unforgettable.”  

Jamie Kitchel of Marquette, on the right in the photo above, has received the 2012 Hiawatha Music Co-op Scholarship to the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia. She is shown with Hiawatha Music Co-op Board member and Scholarship co-founder Phil Watts.   


Now Hiawatha needs to replenish the Scholarship fund so we can send someone else to West Virginia in 2013. Donations are accepted at the Hiawatha-sponsored Acoustic/Slow Jams on (usually) the first Saturday of each month, and some workshops may be slated as well. If you have ideas, please email us at The full scholarship, tuition and room/board, runs around $850.

This endeavor definitely has a payback in our traditional-music community – one fiddle tune or song at a time!

The scholarship enables the recipient to be a resident at the Center for eight days in August. The recipient studies old-time fiddling with master artists and top performers. The intensive week of traditional music also involves historical workshops, concerts, dances and informal music jam sessions. The Augusta Heritage Center is internationally renown for activities relating to traditional folk-life and music of many cultures with an emphasis on the southern Appalachian region.

Scholarship fine print

The recipient will be responsible for all transportation costs and arrangements to and from Augusta. Anyone under age 18 who attends the Augusta Heritage Center must have a chaperone. For a $100 fee, the chaperone can attend all group sessions, concerts, dances, jam sessions, and the Augusta Festival – anything except formal classes. The chaperone may also arrange room and board at Augusta for approximately $375. The Hiawatha Music Co-op reserves the right to reject any and all applications and to not award the Scholarship in any year where no applicant meets the selection criteria.

First Hiawatha Music Co-op/Augusta Heritage Center Scholarship

Sonja Prychitko of Marquette (center) won the first Hiawatha Music Co-op/Augusta Heritage Center Scholarship in 2007. She attended a week-long summer session at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia. It was Hiawatha’s first year to sponsor the scholarship, which is open to Marquette-area youths ages 12-18. The award was partially funded by a “Songs of the Carter Family” workshop conducted by Augusta regulars Annette, Phil and Salem Watts of Marquette.

Sonja and her father, Dave Prychitko (left) returned to start a monthly “slow jam” in Marquette, sharing some of the tunes and techniques she learned at Augusta.