Award-winning songwriter Rick Lang and his wife, Wendy, established a scholarship endowment in the East Tennessee State University Foundation to benefit students in the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program who have an interest in songwriting.
The Langsâ€™ gift, which will generate an annual scholarship of approximately $2,000 for a student in the program, is a way of giving back for Lang, whose songs have been covered by some of the most renowned artists in bluegrass, Southern gospel and jazz.
â€œFor the last 30-plus years, writing and recording bluegrass music has become one of my greatest passions,â€ Lang says. â€œIt actually changed my life and led to many exciting and rewarding experiences. When I started out on my musical journey, I had no one to help, encourage, teach or guide me along the way. Through years of persistence and perseverance, I eventually started making progress toward achieving my musical goals.â€
Lang, a native of New Hampshire, has over 80 songs to his credit, and although many are self-composed, he has collaborated with other notable writers in the bluegrass and gospel fields, and he has released six studio albums of his own.
Lang says that through his work, he has come to know numerous graduates of ETSUâ€™s Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies program who have established successful careers in bluegrass music.
â€œScholarships at this level of endowment can make a meaningful difference to students who are working hard and trying to make their way financially,â€ said Daniel Boner, director of Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Studies at ETSU. â€œRick and Wendy join our ETSU family with the same love for bluegrass music and songwriting as our students, and their generosity is going to reach many students in the years to come.â€