$11,000 Raised for Eichenberger Music Scholarship

Ferguson-Florissant School District alumni and friends have raised over $11,000 for the Mary and Ike Eichenberger Music Scholarship through fundraiser ticket sales and direct donations. The scholarship fund is administered by the St. Louis Community Foundation. 

“Stardust Serenade – A Musical Tribute to the Eichenbergers” reconnected individuals whose lives had been touched by Mary and Ike Eichenberger, who taught orchestra and choir respectively at McCluer North High School. It also brought in community members and colleagues from wider circles, all of whom share a common love of music. Almost all participants donated their time to the cause. 

Mary and Ike Eichenberger

“These are teachers who touched thousands of lives and were beloved in their community,” said Christopher Kelts, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Studies, Missouri State University. Kelts served as artistic director for the fundraiser. “We knew they had created a scholarship fund, so we wanted to create an event for the community that would impact the future.” 

“We worked with the St. Louis Community Foundation to learn more about the scholarship and realized there wasn’t an existing fundraiser. It became our goal to raise as much money as possible,” said Melissa Payton, Executive Director, The Bach Society of St. Louis. Payton was involved in the administration side of the fundraiser. 

The Stardust Serenade performance was a unique combination of string orchestra and choral performances. Narrators told stories that connected these memorable and meaningful musical pieces. The evening also included tributes to the Eichenbergers. One past student said: “I felt that we had an excellent music education and great opportunities because of their dedication to the students and the music program.” 

“We grew up in the Ferguson-Florissant school district, and our lives were changed by the Eichenbergers,” said Payton. “We didn’t get the chance to mourn Ike’s loss because of the pandemic.” Kelts added, “It was so appropriate to celebrate his life with this very powerful, in-person event. All the musicians performed their best and brought everything they could to the table. I think Mary and Ike would have been very proud.” 

Kelts and Payton would like to thank Sharon Carter and the staff of the Florissant Civic Center and City of Florissant for their support of the fundraiser. 

“I’m happy we brought more awareness to the scholarship and were able to have a successful fundraiser,” said Payton. “It is so important to continue to support the Eichenberger Scholarship so that students can continue to accomplish their musical goals.” 

In the eight years that the fund has been administered by the Community Foundation, it has awarded more than $30,000. Click here to learn more about the Eichenberger Music Scholarship. Community members can donate to the fund by clicking here. St. Louis Community Foundation fund holders can donate from their funds via Fund Central or by contacting their donor services representative.