SPC scholarship gala to showcase talented students of Creative Arts Department 


LEVELLAND – When the doors open at 6 p.m. at the Mallet Event Center, everyone entering the building will be treated to a wonderful production featuring the South Plains College Creative Arts Department.


The 21st Annual SPC Scholarship Gala will showcase the talents, professionalism and expertise of students and instructors throughout the evening. According to Brent Wheeler, assistant professor of commercial music, as guests enter the venue they will experience expertly designed lighting and strategically-placed speakers that will set the mood of the event.  


“The students and faculty in the Sound Technology and Video Production Program are essential to the success of the evening,” Wheeler said. “The jobs that will be performed behind the scenes during the musical performances all will be done by students in the SPC Creative Arts program.


“When we say we are showcasing the cream of the crop, we are putting our best students in the limelight to shine on the training and education they are receiving within the Creative Arts Department,” he said.


Sound Technology students will set up the microphones for the performers, analyze the acoustical environment, strategically place speakers and follow production protocols throughout the evening. The Video Production Technology students will provide the best audio production, graphics and lighting to enhance the production.


SPC alumna Anne Butt graduated in 2017 with an Associate of Applied Science in Sound Technology and a Certificate in Sound Reinforcement. She worked with setup/installation and mixing microphones for the rock band U2 during its European tour.


“This year’s focus in on the students,” Wheeler said. “All of them are needed to make the show go off without a hitch.”


Wheeler said the musical entertainment will be provided by members of premier ensembles – Pickin’ on the Plains, the SPC Touring Ensemble and Thursday Night Live. All of the members of these ensembles are scholarship recipients.


Pickin’ on the Plains, a bluegrass ensemble, is comprised of Jason Sain, guitar and vocals; Levi Humphreys, mandolin and vocals; Leah Bynum, fiddle and vocals; Meggie Bynum, bass, fiddle and vocals; Ed Marsh, SPC professor of commercial music, on bass, fiddle and vocals. The band will feature former SPC instructor Alan Munde during their 20-minute set. Munde is one of the creators of the Bluegrass Music Program at SPC.


According to Sain, representative of Pickin’ on the Plains, “SPC is still one of the few music programs in the country to allow students to focus on Bluegrass and Western Swing music. Being able to come here and study guitar with one of the few Western Swing guitar teachers in the country as well as get a degree specifically in songwriting make SPC a very attractive choice.


“The wonderful scholarships specifically for bluegrass students made my decision to come here seem like divine planning in my favor,” he said.


Sain of Wellington is the recipient of the Alan Munde and Joe Carr Memorial Scholarship as well as the Panhandle Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Association Scholarship. He said getting to play at the gala with the legendary Mr. Munde will certainly be the biggest highlight of both his academic and musical careers.


The Touring Ensemble is composed of Gigi Hess, vocals; Hannah Scott, vocals; Carter Franks, vocals and acoustic guitar; Jaden Wells, guitar; Joseph Raney, bass; and Dewey Newey, drums.


Levelland native Ms. Scott represents the Touring Ensemble, an alternative rock band. She is the recipient of a J.T. and Margaret Talkington Scholarship. She said she always loved singing. “I enrolled in a program called the Lubbock School of Rock, and that’s when I decided to take music seriously and I wanted to do it as my career,” she said.


Lubbock’s School of Rock is owned by SPC alumna Amber Beadles. The school has produced several ensemble members and SOR faculty members.


Ms. Scott said she selected SPC because of the great reputation of the instructors and the opportunities she has received.


“I know that I speak for all of the Touring members when I say that we are so honored to be playing for the scholarship gala,” she said. “We know that because of everyone there, we are able to study what we love.”


Members of Thursday Night Live include Jace Aguilar, lead guitar; Janette Barcenas, vocals; Emily George, vocals; Gigi Hess, vocals; Dusty McNew, vocals and guitar; Morgan Reatherford, vocals and guitar; Tyler Taylor, bass; and Brian Tate, assistant professor of commercial music, drums.


According to Emily George of Tulia, representing contemporary rock band Thursday Night Live, performing at the gala will be a wonderful experience that she will always remember. She is the recipient of the Arthur and Lula Quest Memorial Scholarship.


Ms. George began performing at the age of 5 alongside her grandfather Jimmy Burson of Silverton. She sang regularly for eight years at the Cactus Theatre in Lubbock. She also recorded an album in Nashville in January 2018. Ms. George is a nominee for the Young Artist Award from the Academy of Western Artists.


“We have been working super hard with a bunch of fun songs,” she said. “This is going to be a spectacular evening.”


In addition to the entertainment, guests will enjoy a meal served at their table. The evening also will include a live and silent auction of unique treasures as well as raffles. The Foundation will honor Terry and Shari Hill, the recipients of the 2019 Pacesetter Award.


For information on this fundraising event or other ways to support scholarships and students at South Plains College, contact Julie Gerstenberger, director of development and alumni relations, at (806) 716-2020.