Lions Clubs in Virginia helping Students Make beautiful music

By: Star-Exponent staff | Culpeper Star Exponent

Music rang out from Culpeper Baptist Church Sunday afternoonin in Culpepper VA.Music rang out from Culpeper Baptist Church Sunday afternoon.

No, it wasn’t a reverential church service, but an opportunity for musically inclined school students to show off their chops.

The Culpeper County Lion’s Club Bland Foundation concert sent two first place winners onto the regional concert March 17.

Mary Caroline Matricardi won first place in the vocal competition while Emma Ellon Butler came in second.

In the instrumental division, Madeline Clore took first place while Matthew Hudson came in second.

First place winners receive a $75 prize and second place winners receive $50.

“The concert was a great success this year. We had 17 contestants — up two from 15 last year,” Justin McFarland, past president and board of directors member of the Culpeper Mid Day Lions Club said. “The Lions Clubs in Culpeper have always taken great pride in the work they do to help foster young folks in our community. We are instrumental in sight and vision screenings in all of the public and private schools. We support the Leo Clubs (youth version of Lions) at EVHS and CCHS. Specifically the Culpeper Mid Day Club has budgeted nearly $13,000 for college scholarships in Culpeper.”

Winners of the Culpeper contest compete at the regional level from 1 to 4 p.m. March 17 at Gainesville Methodist Church.

It is important to instill a community spirit within our young folks,” McFarland said. “Lions understand that promoting service starts with the youth. This gives us a chance to show the younger generation that we can do something positive with our time and help others.”

Under the aegis of the Lions organization, the Bland Foundation has been providing performing opportunities as well as scholarships to gifted music students, both vocal and instrumental, since 1948.

The purpose of the foundation is to promote cultural and educational opportunities for the musically talented young people in Virginia (primarily of high school age).

This goal is achieved through progressive competitions, beginning in February, at the local Lions club level, and culminating in May in a competition among 12 finalists. The Bland Foundation oversees the running of the competitions and also provides $18,000 to the 12 finalists.

The scholarships must be used for college tuition, music lessons, summer music programs or other music education endeavors. As tuition and lessons are extremely expensive, the Bland Foundation provides needed assistance to these talented, hard working music students and their families.

The Bland concert in Culpeper was a joint collaboration between the Host, Dawn, 92 Lions and the Club-Culpeper Mid Day Lions clubs