Lakeland unveils performing arts scholarship

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June 25, 2015 8:15 AM

Lakeland College’s performing arts program has a new scholarship fund on the way that will honour one of Lloydminster’s strongest supporters of the arts.

The Friends of Bob Mottram Performing Arts Awards will provide funds to current or incoming students of the school’s performing arts program and will cover most, if not all, of the $950-tuition fee.

“Bob was a big supporter of music and he and I actually talked before he passed about maybe doing something to support the performing arts faculty at Lakeland College,” said Darrel Howell, chair of Lakeland College’s board of governors.

“He was a good musician,” Howell added. “He played 12-string guitar very well, had a great tenor voice, he was a big supporter of Jazz on the Border when that was active.”

Furthermore, Mottram’s widow, Gwen, is the chair of the Vic Juba Community Theatre Foundation, which Bob became heavily involved with over the years.

Mottram, who also served two terms on the school’s board of governors and taught petroleum courses at the college for a period of time, died in April. Since then, Howell and fellow friend Ross Ulmer have worked to initiate a fund that would commemorate Mottram and contribute to a program that all three are passionate about.

“Ross and I and Gwen actually took a little tour of the performing arts wing one afternoon when they were doing sessions. We asked Mona Smith, the co-ordinator, what was her greatest need to continue to grow the program. She said, ‘Well, we would get more students if we had financial scholarships, it would allow more people to get involved.’”

Currently, Lakeland College’s performing arts program serves around 200 students each year. It offers courses in theatre arts, guitar, drums, percussion, saxophone, flute, piano, brass, voice, violin and cello. Most of the lessons are held at the college’s Lloydminster campus, while beginner drums and guitar classes are also offered at the Vermillion campus.

Howell and Ulmer are hoping to raise $50,000 and fund the scholarship program for a minimum of 10 years. Ulmer, who played in a band with Howell, Mottram and two others, says they’ve already been able to collect enough to get the scholarship program off the ground.

“We think Bob would like this scholarship program very much,” he said. “Within hours of announcing these awards last week, more than $6,000 had been committed to the fund by people in the community.

Howell added that he and Ulmer have been contacting people they know as well as friends of Mottram’s. Ulmer also distributed letters and donation forms at The Root: Community Emporium during a recent jazz night.

Howell and Ulmer hope to sponsor at least two students for the upcoming school year. Lakeland College will be responsible for administering the awards, for which the application criteria has not yet been finalized.

Those interested in contributing to the Friends of Bob Mottram Performing Arts Awards fund can reach Howell by phone at 780-870-1671 and Ulmer at 780-871-2174.

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