Music City Drum Corps has awarded veteran horn line members Amaya Cooper and Megan Severs its annual Finis Sparkman Scholarship. Cooper, of Martin, Tenn., and Severs, of Nashville, will each return to perform a second year with the corps for the 2020 season.
“There is not a word that expresses how grateful I am for Music City,” Cooper said. “There’s no way to explain how much this organization teaches me about being a leader, a musician, and a good person. Since I’ve been part of the Music City family, I have made friends and connections that will last a lifetime.”
Cooper switched from saxophone to tuba so she could audition for the corps beginning in 2018 and pursue a dream she cultivated from her first days in marching band, she said.
“I thought I’d be cut after the very first camp, but the staff and the instructors saw something in me that I hadn’t seen in myself,” she said. “That inspired me to come back stronger than ever, prove myself, and contribute to the legacy Music City is creating.”
Cooper is currently a first-year student at the University of Tennessee, Martin. Co-recipient Severs, a mellophone player, is a first-year student at Northeastern University in Boston.
“This scholarship means I will get the chance to positively impact others in the same way Finis did,” Severs said. “I plan to lead by example and show the hard work and dedication it takes to achieve excellence in this activity. And most importantly, I want to help everyone have the best summer of their lives by supporting them both on and off the field.”
Music City created the Sparkman Scholarship in 2018 to honor Finis Sparkman, a snare line member from Antioch, Tenn. who died during his rookie season with Music City in 2017. The scholarship honors his love of music, his passion for the activity, the value he placed in education, and the enduring impact he made within the DCI community.
“I really love this group, and nothing makes me happier than to get to spend another summer with them. I will try to be the kind of student, performer, and friend that Finis was by following the guidance of my instructors, giving my all in every performance, and helping my fellow corps members,” Severs said. “Nothing can compare to the experiences we share over the summer, and I can’t wait to make new memories with my favorite group.”
The Finis Sparkman Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually and funded entirely by private donations. To make a tax-deductible contribution to the scholarship fund, please visit www.musiccitydrumcorps.org/memorial-scholarship/.
Music City Drum Corps competes in the World Class division of Drum Corps International and is a program of the Nashville-based nonprofit Music City Youth in the Arts, Inc. The organization provides experiential education in music and visual performance arts to young people through immersive programs emphasizing camaraderie, fitness and leadership development.