FAU alumnus Shawn Hagood ‘10 (Bachelor of Music, Performance Major), and managing director of the non-profit Keeping the Blues Alive Foundation (KTBA), recently established the “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” for FAU music students.
Awards worth over $3,000 were given in the form of equipment and supplies requested by the applicants, all students in FAU’s music program. The five recipients included Eerang Ang, Jessica DeMeo, Dragana Simonovska, Jack Hernandez, and Terra Guerra. Collectively, these students received a variety of items, which included an electronic keyboard, a recording system, books and other supplies.
KTBA, which was founded in 2011 by Grammy nominee Joe Bonamassa and artist manager Roy Weisman advocates for music education and funds programs and scholarships for students and teachers. Since 2013 the foundation has helped over 12,000 students ages 8 to 25, across 48 different states. This is accomplished through weekly donations to music projects in schools nationwide. Similar scholarships have supported other colleges such as the Musicians Institute (Hollywood, CA) and will continue with Coastal Carolina University this fall.
“This is an inspiring story of an alum giving back,” said Heather Coltman, dean of FAU’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. “The KTBA Foundation wanted to make a gift to students who were passing their juries, something to be used in their efforts to pursue their music careers. Shawn knows the importance of musicians helping each other out in the business, and he couldn’t have set a finer example.”
Hagood graduated with a degree in Percussion Performance from FAU. Since graduation, he has taught at the School of Rock in Coral Springs, Florida, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and performed with many local bands in the tri-county area. He took a job playing keyboards for the Huntington Beach, CA group "The Dirty Heads" in 2012 and has been simultaneously focusing his attention to helping young aspiring musicians through his work with KTBA.
As an FAU alumnus, Hagood said he felt very close to the University and wanted to do something for its music students. He and KTBA Executive Director Eric deTuscan met with the recipients to distribute the awards and offered advice based on his experience as a professional musician.
“After years of working hard to find my own place in this industry, I had a unique opportunity to see Joe’s mission come to life in a very big way for music students across the country,” said Hagood. “I know how important this foundation is to Joe and I also know how difficult it can be for college students to acquire all the resources and equipment they need to reach that next level as they attempt to master their craft. FAU taught me more than just pedagogy and technique, I learned about “the gig, the biz, the hustle” through professors that not only represented who I wanted to emulate as a musician, but also served as mentors and bridges to new opportunities and experiences in the field. ”
For more information about KTBA, visit www.keepingthebluesalive.org, For more information about FAU’s department of music, visit www.fau.edu/music.