The Friends of Brad Memorial Foundation (FOBMF) has announced the two recipients of its annual scholarship competition for young musicians in rural Northeastern Minnesota: Briona Currie of Eveleth-Gilbert High School (EGHS) and Olivia Skaja, who lives in Deer River and was homeschooled. The young musicians were awarded $750 scholarships to attend college in the fall.
Currie began dancing and singing at the age of four. She played trumpet in the EGHS band and served as a music teacher at a Bible school. She will attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and hopes to someday perform on Broadway.
Skaja has been ranked among the top five fiddlers in Minnesota since age 15. She was the 2016 Minnesota State Old Time Fiddle Champion and took first place in the 2017 Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. She will pursue violin performance at St. Olaf College.
“We're thrilled to be able to offer scholarships to two young women who are so clearly dedicated to sharing their respective talents through careers involving music performance," said Troy Rogers, FOBMF president.
The Friends of Brad scholarship is open to high school seniors planning to pursue musical endeavors while attending college. One-time scholarships are open to student musicians residing in rural areas of St. Louis, Itasca, Lake and Cook counties (excluding Duluth). Strong preference is given to students who plan to major in music and pursue music-related careers.
This marks the seventh consecutive year of FOBMF scholarship opportunities. Past recipients include: Ali Juntunen, Deer River; Kelly Heinonen, Virginia; Kari Haaversen, Two Harbors; Samantha Mutchler, Grand Rapids; Steven Solkela, Mesabi East; Ricky “Chip” Sundstrom, Two Harbors; Aaron Wilcox, Virginia; Austin Becicka, Virginia; Ginger Lund, Deer River; Kimberly Rice, Virginia; Haylee Donnelson, Mesabi East; Justin Bohrer, Two Harbors; Byron Klimek, Chisholm; and Alayna Starr, Virginia. To learn more about FOBMF's talented scholarship recipients:, visit http://friendsofbrad.org/initiatives/scholarship-recipients/