The Missouri Humanities Council awarded a $700 grant to Missouri Western Oct. 26.
The grant will help fund and support programs at Missouri Western and the Alliance Francaise of St. Joseph that have a focus on French Canadian heritage and the musical and cultural traditions of the northwestern area of Missouri.
The MHC is the only state-wide agency in Missouri devoted solely to educating people of all ages on the subject of humanities.
The MHC awards grants to organizations all across the state of Missouri to help support programs whose objective it is to create learning programs that will remain with students for life.
During 2010, around 83,000 Missouri residents received aide from MHC programs and grants. The goal of the MHC during the next five years is to expand so that they may provide programs and support projects throughout the entire state.
Marilyn Webster-Brown, program assistant for the humanities council, said “If we see an organization, more specifically from a university that needs a little help and has the right intentions in mind, we will give them grants for their respective programs. Our organization always wants to help out the young people; after all, they are the future of not only our state, but this country.”
The music department at Missouri Western is happy to be awarded the grant.
William McMurray, a music history professor, says that the awarded grant money is a little help for the department.
“When an organization, such as the Humanities Council, gives you any amount of money, you are thankful that they are willing and able to help you out,” McMurray said. “Even if it is just a small sum, every little bit helps.”
Students in the music department will benefit from the grant. Funding from the grant will allow faculty members to provide material in the classroom that will educate their students on the French Canadian heritage and various aspects on the music and culture of northwestern Missouri.
“Because of this grant money, it won’t be about just sitting in a classroom being lectured at by professors,” junior Cindy Martin said. “It will be more entertaining to have items from that time period to help teach us students on what went on for whatever it is we’re being taught.”
On March 20 and 21, Dennis Stroughmatt will be coming to St. Joseph. Stroughmatt, a French Creole musician and speaker, will be performing two musical programs that consist of songs from story tellers and singers, traditional fiddle music and a wealth of stories on Creole French traditions of Mardi Gras.
“I am personally looking forward to Mr. Stroughmatt coming to the St. Joseph area. He provides anyone that is in attendance a program they won’t forget,” McMurray said. “For students, it’s a first-hand opportunity to learn outside of the classroom.”