The Curtis Renshaw Memorial Scholarship honors the life of classical guitarist and Community Music Center teacher Curtis Renshaw by supporting the studies of a guitar student at CMC each year.
Curtis passed away suddenly in June of 2015. He had taught at CMC since 1981, having given nearly 35 years of service to our community. His students appreciated his kindness and patience as a teacher, and those of us who have heard his playing remember it fondly. Says faculty member Shirley Wong-Frentzel, “He was very special to CMC, very dedicated… In his quiet way, he kept the high quality of classical guitar alive here.”
Says wife Kerrilyn Renshaw, “If a student was serious, Curtis would offer his time beyond the scheduled lesson. This was especially true if they were a young person. Within a week of Curtis’s passing, my son Kenneth and I talked about how best to honor Curtis’s memory and decided on a guitar scholarship in his name. Others suggested doing the same thing, including Richard Patterson of the Omni Foundation for the Performing Arts, where Curtis was a board member for many years, and Scott Cmiel, who was a colleague of Curtis’s for many years at the Conservatory and then later at The Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA).”
Since Curtis taught and mentored many teen guitarists who attended SOTA, Kerrilyn and Kenneth also wished to create a link between the guitar departments of SOTA and CMC, with the scholarship particularly benefiting a serious student of the guitar who attends SOTA.
Kerrilyn continued, “CMC Executive Director Chris Borg was gracious and enthusiastic, and the whole team at CMC was incredibly supportive and generous with their time and ideas. All of the money has been privately raised by friends and family of Curtis. It feels so great to know that so many people wanted to contribute. It’s been a great success already, and I hope it can continue to serve the musical development of the serious student of the guitar.”
“Nationally recognized guitar instructor Scott Cmiel has generously donated much of his time to help plan the scholarship program and has offered to teach the students who receive the Curtis Renshaw Memorial scholarship. Scott is also the Director of Guitar at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Precollege Division and at SOTA.”
The first scholarship recipient, Tcarla Horn
The first recipient of the Curtis Renshaw Memorial Scholarship was SOTA student, Tcarla Horn. “Tcarla flourished under Curtis,” said Kerrilyn, “she performed at his memorial service.”
Says Tcarla, “He always believed in me, even when no one else did, not even myself.”
Tcarla likes to share her playing with others. Here is a performance of O Astronauta by Baden Powell, dedicated to the memory of her teacher.
At a recital given by the students of SOTA guitar instructor Scott Cmiel, Curtis’s wife Kerrilyn Renshaw and CMC’s Executive Director Chris Borg presented the very first Curtis Renshaw Memorial Scholarship award to Tcarla.
Tcarla has just graduated, and the 2016-2017 recipient of the Curtis Renshaw Memorial Scholarship, 15 year-old Leo Austin-Muehlec, was just selected in June.
How to contribute
If you would like to contribute to the Curtis Renshaw Memorial Guitar Scholarship scholarship, you can do so online (please indicate “Curtis Renshaw Memorial Guitar Scholarship” in the dedication field) or by mail:
Please write a check to “Community Music Center,” and state in the memo “Curtis Renshaw Memorial Guitar Scholarship.”
Community Music Center
544 Capp Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
About the Curtis Renshaw Memorial Scholarship
The Curtis Renshaw Memorial Scholarship is a special collaboration with The Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA). Each year, a member of SOTA’s guitar faculty will nominate hard working and passionate students who have not had ample opportunity for private lessons. These students will audition during CMC’s May juries and will be selected by a faculty panel. Full scholarships to study at CMC are awarded on consideration of both musical growth and financial need.
A CMC Merit Scholarship provides a full year of private lessons at CMC. The Curtis Renshaw Memorial Scholarship was inaugurated in the 2015-16 school year and is one of 31 awarded.