Swing For The Scholars: Three Legacies Support Many Futures

Each year, Jazz St. Louis hosts two major fundraising events to support our educational and youth engagement programs. Last month, over 260 people attended the Gala, the first of our two fundraisers. On May 5, Jazz St. Louis invites the community to “Swing For The Scholars,” the second major fundraiser. While all funds from the Gala serve to operate programs such as Jazz Academy, JazzU, WeBop and Juice Box Jazz, all net proceeds raised at “Swing For The Scholars” are used solely for our scholarship programs. In 2018, we awarded scholarships to seven talented and deserving students, thanks to the generosity of our supporters.

Richard McDonnell Memorial Scholarship

Richard McDonnell
Richard McDonnell

Until recently, “Swing For The Scholars” was known as the Richard McDonnell Memorial Concert, named for Richard McDonnell, a Jazz St. Louis founding board member and subscriber. Renamed in 2018, the fundraiser now includes two additional scholarships: The Arthur H. Harper “Jazz Forever” Scholarship, and the Tom McMahon “Jazz Lives” Scholarship. Students who demonstrate leadership and mastery of their instrument are awarded these scholarships. The Richard McDonnell Memorial Scholarship is given to a current JazzU junior to help offset costs of pursuing a college education.

Arthur H. Harper “Jazz Forever” Scholarship

Art Harper
Art Harper

Art Harper was a board member of The Monsanto Company. Though Harper was not a resident or member of the St. Louis community directly, his love for jazz is setting his legacy here in St. Louis. His email signature included the phrase “Jazz Forever.” Upon his passing, Monsanto graciously and fittingly endowed a scholarship to Jazz St. Louis in his name. This scholarship supports a graduating JazzU senior with their musical aspirations in college.

Tom McMahon “Jazz Lives” Scholarship

Tom McMahon
Tom McMahon

Upon his sudden passing in 2018, Tom McMahon’s family established a scholarship with Jazz St. Louis to honor their beloved family member. McMahon, who was passionate about jazz and education, was a former long-time supporter of Jazz St. Louis and member (trombone) of the Route 66 Jazz Orchestra. As a result of the McMahon family’s generosity, qualifying Jazz Academy students are able to attend area jazz camps.

“Swing For The Scholars” promises an evening of fun, including a raffle drawing and silent auction with fantastic prizes sponsored by Jazz St. Louis’ Young Friends members. Food and drink are available for purchase. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Jazz St. Louis event without some of St. Louis’ finest musicians, including performances by students from JazzU, The Adam Maness Trio, and special guests Good 4 The Soul, and Anita Jackson among many others. Attendees will also have an opportunity to meet and congratulate this year’s scholarship recipients.

“Swing For The Scholars” takes place on Sunday, May 5 at 6 PM at the Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. Tickets to the event are $25 for general admission, or $100 for VIP, which secures a reserved seat. For more information about Swing for the Scholars, or anyone wishing to make a donation to the scholarship programs, please visit the Jazz St. Louis website.