Scholarship Support

Named Scholarships

MacPhail believes that removing financial barriers is crucial to support, encourage, and challenge highly motivated students. A scholarship can provide a significant boost to a student’s musical journey.

Thanks to our generous donors, MacPhail awards over 50 scholarships annually. 

Both need-based and merit scholarships are available across all instruments and areas of instruction.

Creating and naming scholarships and funds provide a meaningful way for donors to pay tribute to loved ones, friends, and mentors and is a source of vital support for MacPhail.

“This scholarship is a very important recognition of many years of my musical learning and will encourage me to further advance my musical journey…I feel empowered to influence the world around me with music and inspire more people to speak the language of music and harmony.”

2023-24 Chaya G, Piano Scholarship Recipient

Scholarship Info

A minimum initial gift of $5,000 is required to create and name a current expendable fund.

A minimum initial gift of $25,000 is required to create and name a permanent endowed fund.

The first step in establishing a named fund is usually having a conversation. Fill out this interest form, and we will contact you.

For more information, please call (612) 321-0100 or email Christine Vander Hook or fill out this interest form, and we will contact you.   

Scholarship Spotlight

MacPhail is grateful to donors for enabling scholarships and programming now and in the years ahead. We are honored to steward the individual stories associated with these funds.

Debbie Duncan Endowment for Jazz

Jazz aficionados and Twin Cities residents Mike and Donna Wolsted have been involved in the local music scene for more than 50 years. As friends and fans of the late jazz vocalist Debbie Duncan, they wish to honor her memory while helping the next generation of jazz musicians.

The Debbie Duncan Endowment for Jazz supports and strengthens MacPhail’s jazz programs. The scholarships from the endowment serve highly talented jazz students needing financial assistance. Other activities funded by the endowment include financial aid for jazz camp, summer jazz experience for students of all skill levels (age 12-18), bringing visiting jazz clinicians to MacPhail, and the creation of MacPhail student jazz combo recordings.

Debbie Duncan

After moving to Minnesota in 1984 to join Rupert’s Orchestra, the Detroit-reared vocalist built a reputation as a remarkable vocalist and the hardest-working singer in town, sometimes doing three gigs a day in the 1990s. By the new millennium, she concentrated on jazz and teaching, earning the deserved sobriquet of Minnesota’s First Lady of Song. When she wasn’t onstage, she was often in an audience somewhere, supporting performers of all stripes. Duncan died in 2020 at age 69.

“Funny, caring, and unique are just a few adjectives used to describe Debbie Duncan, but it was her quiet, constant support of musicians and the venues that house them that stand out. She was authentically invested in this community every day.”  Jearlyn Steele, of the Steeles, solo artist and WCCO Radio host.

Arlene Hess Memorial Fund

Arlene Hess was a lifelong educator, world traveler, talented artist, and musician.  Born in 1927, she grew up in northern Minnesota then found her way to the metropolitan area. Arlene spent her career teaching elementary school in the Minneapolis and Robbinsdale area.  She understood the importance of providing opportunities for all young people. The Arlene Hess Memorial Fund offers gifted students under the age of 18 the opportunity to study at MacPhail regardless of economic circumstances.  The Arlene Hess Fund scholarships are available for students studying instrument or voice and are awarded based on talent and need.

Audrey Stottler Voice Scholarship

A Minnesota native, Audrey Stottler was known internationally as a dramatic soprano, singing works of Verdi, Strauss, Mahler, and Wagner. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2002 singing the title role in Puccini’s Turandot, a role that she will forever be known for. Audrey found her way back to Minnesota and became a well-loved MacPhail teaching artist. She was a talented, devoted, and no-nonsense voice teacher, teaching each student individually and personally with intention and kindness. She would often say, “I’ve been thinking about you all week and want to work on a few specific things today, are you up for that?” Audrey would do all she could to get each student to his or her next level, making breakthroughs all along the way. The Audrey Stottler Voice Scholarship is awarded to students with financial need studying voice at MacPhail.

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