The Anne Walker Scholarship Fund has awarded four scholarships for the coming academic year, to help 802 members or their children pursue studies in music. This year’s grantees are:
- Ann Gerschefski, a pianist and music director who is pursuing a master’s degree in Music Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She works primarily as a theatre musician, playing in various Broadway pit orchestras as well as for auditions and rehearsals, and has also worked as an accompanist in voice studios, and as a coach. As a teacher, she plans to explore ways of exposing students of all ages to the satisfaction that comes from collaborating to make music.
- Albin E. Konopka, who will be studying opera conducting at the Conductor’s Institute in Columbia, S.C. Since earning his master’s at the Juilliard School in the early ’70s, he has had a diverse career whose core has been Broadway shows. He has worked many national and international tours as a musical director and side musician, and more recently as a conductor, and has also worked as a composer, orchestrator and vocal and dance arranger.
- Kelly Porter, daughter of 802 member Joan Porter, who will be majoring in Music Theatre at the Hartt School in Hartford, Conn. She began studying the piano at the age of seven, has participated in a number of voice/choral ensembles over the years, and graduated this year from LaGuardia High School of Music, Art and the Performing Arts, where her major was voice.
- Ken Rizzo, a bassist, who has worked in many fields of the music business, including on Broadway (Smokey Joe’s Café, Bring in the Noise), off-Broadway, club dates, big bands and with acts including Tony Bennett, Liza Minnelli and Melba Moore. His playing is heard on several CDs and in the film The Object of My Affection. He is currently enrolled in the Lehman College/Local 802 program, studying for a bachelor’s degree in music and an MAT in Music Education.
This is the fourth year that the scholarship fund – formed to honor the late Anne Walker, a longtime member of the 802 staff and a tireless advocate for musicians – has awarded grants.