UWF receives $39,550 donation from Frank Brown Songwriters Festival for Larry Butler Award
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The University of West Florida celebrated a $39,550 donation to the UWF Department of Music in support of the Larry Butler Memorial Music Award on Wednesday at the Museum Plaza in Historic Pensacola. The new funds are a result of a special concert at the Flora-Bama and a private concert in the home of Teri Levin, featuring Don Schlitz, a Grammy award-winning songwriter and newly-inducted member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, as part of the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival, in November 2017.
The donation will help fund student participation in academic competitions and performance-related travel experiences, including the Lancaster International Piano Festival in Pennsylvania, the Interharmony International Music Festival in Germany and Italy, and the UWF Ireland Experience Program.
The Larry Butler Memorial Music Award was created in 2015 by Peggy Butler in memory of her husband, a Grammy Award-winning songwriter and producer and Pensacola native. Over $93,000 has been raised by the Butler family and friends to support the Department of Music.
“Over the past year, the Larry Butler Memorial Music Award has allowed our students to travel and perform internationally, to compete and participate in world-renowned music festivals, competitions and music conventions,” said Dr. Sheila Dunn, chair and associate professor in the Department of Music. “The award has also allowed our department to forge a wonderful partnership with the Pensacola Community Music School to provide free music lessons to underprivileged children. We have been able to purchase critical instruments and make upgrades to our classrooms and music studios. In addition, the Department of Music has become a leader in undergraduate research in the arts at the University of West Florida. We are grateful and honored to receive this support. The Larry Butler Memorial Music Award is transformational for our music students.”
Peggy Butler said the award was created to meld three of Butler’s passions: music, Pensacola and UWF.
“I am beyond grateful for this fund in Larry’s name at UWF,” said Peggy Butler. “Larry started his music career here in Pensacola, singing the national anthem at Naval Air Station Pensacola and playing the piano on the Lynn Toney show. Little Larry Butler from Pensacola, who went on to win a Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, would be thrilled that his legacy continues in his hometown that he loved.”
Larry Butler worked with renowned recording artists, such as Johnny Cash and Kenny Rogers, during his career in Nashville, and continued to show appreciation for his hometown through his generosity, including holding a benefit concert to raise money for the rebuilding effort following Hurricane Ivan.
The Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival hosts Grammy award-winning songwriters and rising stars, who perform original songs in multiple locations in the Florida and Alabama Gulf Coast. Venues attract more than 200 songwriters who come from around the world.
For more information about the Larry Butler Memorial Music Award, please contact the UWF Foundation, Inc. at 850.474.3118.