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HoustonFest 'A Celebration of Song & Service' Announces the Houston Caldwell Music Scholarship

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Houston Kyle CaldwellHoustonFest 2012 is pleased to announce the creation of the Houston Caldwell Music Scholarship. This program is part of the HoustonFest mission to provide inspiration and avenues for regional youth to pursue their artistic endeavors preserving the musical heritage of our region. Houston Kyle Caldwell; who passed from us on April 30, 2010; was only 18 years old, but his musical legacy, passion for the continued growth of our musical heritage, and his spirit of community service will live on as we continue to fulfill his vision.

Houston left this world at a very early age: he suddenly and unexpectedly transitioned to eternal life on April 30, 2010. Even at this early age, this remarkable young man had accomplished more than most. It is because of his many accomplishments that his family and friends decided his memory and legacy must always be kept alive. One of the most outstanding attributes of Houston was that he put so much pride in and believed so much in his own community. From his untimely death, HoustonFest was born.

Houston was very diligent in his service to the community and had established public service as a lifetime goal for himself. As a volunteer for civil agencies, Houston was part of the Galax Fire Department and regularly did "ride-alongs" with the Galax Police Department. He graduated high school a year early to get started on his service goals. Immediately, he joined the Army and completed his basic training. Becoming a policeman was his ultimate ambition and he had planned to attend college in fall 2010 to pursue just that. From Houston's perspective, he could combine his military expertise, his volunteer civil activities, and his college education, to help protect his family and the residents of Galax.

There is not one word spoken in regard to Houston Caldwell that is complete without mentioning his passionate love for music. He was an accomplished banjo and guitar player, but it was the banjo that he loved so dearly. As an excellent accomplished banjo player, the bluegrass music community considered him one of the finest young musicians in the area. He began his music journey playing with The Galax Little Leaves when he was 12. Later, he formed the band "Broken Wire" and loved attending festivals to play, to meet the legendary icons of bluegrass, and to learn as much as he could about music.

HoustonFest Mission is:

  • To honor Houston's spirit and legacy by transforming lives through the power of music and community service.
  • To provide inspiration and avenues for regional youth to pursue their artistic endeavors preserving the musical heritage of our region.
  • To provide support to the Galax Volunteer Fire Department.
  • Work to sustain Houston's incredible legacy in an enduring way by providing support to young people.

Beginning in 2012 a percentage of HoustonFest profits will be earmarked for scholarships to individual youth and grants to non-profit traditional music programs. Funding levels will be determined at the discretion of the Houston Caldwell Scholarship Committee.

Individual Scholarships:

Individual applicants will be selected to receive a scholarship that may be applied to the traditional music education of the recipient's choice. Recipients may apply the funds toward traditional music education and can be applied to tuition fees for workshops, camps, or private lessons to learn to play traditional acoustic instruments over a continued period of time. Applicants must demonstrate acceptance to and enrollment in a program of study that fits the criteria.

The Houston Caldwell Scholarship will pay fees for tuition or private lessons with funding level at the discretion of the Houston Caldwell Scholarship Committee. Fees will be paid directly to the educational institution, camp, or qualified instructor. Scholarship winnings must be redeemed within one year of announcement to recipients. Students/musicians of traditional acoustic music Instruments in grades 8 to 12 and high school graduates up to age 21 are eligible for individual music scholarships. Applicants must be residents of the Central Appalachian Region to include counties in Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee.

Application packets must be completed and returned (postmarked) by April 15, 2012 including:

  • A completed application form
  • Two letters of reference from an adult (parents of applicant excluded)
  • Standard size CD or DVD recording demonstrating the applicant's musicianship
  • 150-word essay explaining why the applicant would like to win the scholarship and explanation of how they plan to use the scholarship
  • Go to for Scholarship details.

    Grants to Non-Profit Traditional Music Programs:

    The Houston Caldwell Scholarship Program will offer opportunities for Traditional Music Programs to compete for scholarships/grants. Funding level is determined by the Houston Caldwell Scholarship Committee to pay instructors, student fees or fund general operating expenses. Organizations must have non-profit status and must be serving youth of Virginia, North Carolina or Tennessee. Preference will be given to applicants in the immediate region including the City of Galax, Grayson and Carroll Counties in Virginia.

    Interested organizations should submit a written narrative describing their music program. Narratives must be completed and submitted (postmarked) by April 15, 2012 and must include:

    • History and objectives of your program
    • Structure of program, target population and number of children served
    • Key artists and organizations involved in the program
    • Annual operating expense and projected use of grant money
    • Proof of non-profit status

    Go to for grant details.

    Application Packets should be mailed to:
    Attn: Scholarship Program
    P.O. Box 1516
    Galax, VA 24333

    Winners of the 2012 HoustonFest Scholarships & Grants will be notified by April 30, 2012 Recipients will be required to be present at HoustonFest 2012 to receive the award when announced. Artists receiving awards will be expected to perform in Scholarship Showcase at HoustonFest 2013. Official Public Announcement of Winners will be made during HoustonFest 2012.

    Go to for Houston Caldwell Scholarship details and application form, e-mail, or call 276-236-9908.

    HoustonFest 2012, A Celebration of Song and Service, will be held at Felts Park in Galax, VA on Friday & Saturday May 4 & 5th, 2012. For tickets go to, phone 276-236-9908, or go to local ticket outlet at all Grayson National Bank locations, Roy's Diamond Center, and Barr's Fiddle Shop. For more information visit HoustonFest online.Grants to Non-Profit Traditional Music Programs:

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