The Music Lives On: The Brown Scholarship

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An old cassette tape recorder symbolizes Dr. David Brown’s most enduring memory of his father.

“Dad would sit on the front row at every concert of mine with his cassette recorder, taping ever y note,” Brown said. “He wasn’t a great musician, but he was a huge fan of music.”

Elmer F. Brown Jr. was never able to see Burckart Hall or any other area of Maranatha’s campus devoted to music. The memorial scholarship named for him, however, has enabled many deserving students to continue their college education. The scholarship has been worth up to $5,000 per year to junior and senior music majors like 2011 recipient Leanna York.

“My receiving the Elmer F. Brown Jr. Memorial Scholarship was a direct answer to prayer in which the Lord provided ‘exceeding abundantly above all I could ask or think,’ ” York said. Kara Burgess, 2012 winner, said the Brown Scholarship helped bridge the financial gap after her father quit his job as a software engineer to become a full-time pastor.

“My husband loved music, and he would have loved it at Maranatha,” Helena “Scotty” Brown said. “ When I sold our house, I thought of what my husband would want done with that money. I called (then-Development Director) Dr. Larry Oats and asked if Maranatha had such a thing as a memorial scholarship. He said, ‘Oh, yes, we do.’ The children helped set it up in such a way that it will go to someone who uses their musical talents for the Lord.”

Elmer F. Brown Jr. lived in Philadelphia as a young man, working during the day and attending Drexel University at night. He joined Philadelphia Electric Company as a draftsman and later became a systems analyst.

“That ’s another word for efficiency expert,” Scotty Brown said.

The Browns managed to save for a piano and instrument lessons, even when money was scarce. There was often music playing in the home; David Brown’s early memories include trips to see military bands and chasing his sisters around the house while a John Philip Sousa march played in the background. Elmer Brown was also a dedicated Christian who placed a high priority on conservative music.

“When I was a kid and he heard me jazzing up ‘Jesus Loves Me,’ he said, ‘ W hen it comes to God ’s music, we do it right; we don’t mess with it,” said David Brown, who joined Maranatha’s Music Department faculty in 2003.

A “desire to uphold godly, conservative music standards” is one of the requirements for the Brown Scholarship.

Elmer Brown died of a heart attack in October 2004 at age 81. The scholarship named for him has helped many students with the same passion for ministry and music. If you would consider establishing a memorial scholarship to remember someone like Elmer F. Brown Jr., please call Maranatha Development Director Steve Board at 920-206-2325.

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