DURANT, Okla. – The James O. Young Music Scholarship has been established through the Southeastern Foundation to benefit students attending Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
The endowment ceremony was held Thursday March 8th, 2012 in the Welcome Center on the Southeastern campus.
This is established as an educational scholarship for students participating in Southeastern bands and specifically playing the euphonium. Students must have a minimum 2.5 grade-point average to qualify for the scholarship.
James Oliver Young is a Durant High School graduate who earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Southeastern in 1967 and his Doctor of Dental surgery degree from Baylor University in 1972.
His inspiration for endowing this scholarship is the gift of music he discovered while playing in the bands at Durant High and Southeastern. It has given him joy throughout his life and he wishes to share that joy with others.
Young married Virginia Koontz on May 27, 1967, and .they have three children, Amy, Jenny, and Thomas.
He established a private dental practice in Ardmore after graduation from Baylor and continued it until 1993, when he joined the Cherokee Telephone Company headquartered in Calera, Oklahoma.
Young was ordained a Deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma in 2001 and was assigned to St. Philip’s Parish in Ardmore, where he established the Ardmore Soup Kitchen and entered the teaching and preaching rotation at St. Philip’s Church.
Ryan Nabors, a 2009 Southeastern graduate with a BA in Music is putting his talents to use in a very different way. Ryan currently serves as a member of the 82nd Airborne Band, holding the rank of Specialist. He also drives the Army’s Max Pro Armored vehicle for personnel transports. Ryan joined the 82nd Airborne in January 2011 after completing training at the AIT Army School of Music Virginia Beach VA. Ryan plays Euphonium , and studied with Dave Begnoche and Jason Oliver while at Southeastern.
In September of 2011 Ryan was deployed with the 82nd Airborne to Khandar, Afghanistan for one year. The band is currently performing at different military bases in Afghanistan. The 82nd Airborne Division is in Afghanistan to help retrain the Afghan Army. This includes the army band as well.
Ryan’s father, Matt Nabors, also a Southeastern alum, writes, “Something that really struck me is that they hadn’t heard their national anthem or their “songs” played until a U.S. band played them.” He reports that Ryan and other band members are also teaching Afghan children how to play some of the instruments, the first time they have seen or heard these Western styled instruments. His father, in writing to James Wintle, Professor Emeritus in Music, comments: “His days at Southeastern have served him well. I appreciate the influence you had and the interest you took in him. He has a great deal of respect for you and truly appreciated his time there.”
The work of the 82nd Airborne, including the band, has recently been featured on ABC News.