April 19, 2021

MSM Commemorates the Launch of the Walt Sayre Endowed Trombone Scholarship

MSM President Dr. Jim Gandre and an MSM trombone ensemble celebrated the generosity of MSM alumnus Walt Sayre (BM ‘74, MM ‘79) and his wife Elizabeth who have donated $100,000 towards an MSM scholarship in his name.

“In a way, I’m repaying my beloved MSM for all the times my résumé went to the top of the applicant stack because of my education there,” Walt says. “It also didn’t hurt that I was able to study with the principal trombonist of the New York Philharmonic!

The event celebrating the generosity of the educator and musician Walt Sayre took place in mid-April 2021 at Riverside Church and featured MSM trombone students Sam George (MM ’22), Jahi Alexander (MM ’22), Hans Kang (BM ’22), Tommy Urich (BM ’21), Sam Amore (BM ’21), and Ben McLaughlin (BM ’24), as well as MSM brass faculty member Colin Williams, Associate Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic. The ensemble was put together by Michelle Baker, Chair of the MSM Brass Program.

Walt joined in with the current students as the ensemble performed Jesu Joy by Bach, and the hymn O for a closer walk with God.

“Thank you so much Walt and Liz for your generosity in establishing the Walt Sayre Endowed Trombone Scholarship,” said Dr. Gandre at the ceremony.

“You are helping ensure that for generations to come, talented trombonists with financial need will be able to develop their artistry and pursue their dreams here at Manhattan School of Music.”

Walt and Liz Sayre

MSM President Dr. Jim Gandre

Walt spent five years at MSM in the mid-1970s, studying under Edward Herman, the former principal trombonist of the New York Philharmonic.

He had barely finished his undergraduate studies when New York City’s High School of Music & Art (featured in the movie “Fame”) hired him to teach and mentor brass students.

For the past 40 years, he has been a vital musician to many communities throughout New England, working on projects and productions for a variety of organizations, such as St. John’s Episcopal Church in Walpole; the Raylynmor Opera Company; Main Street Arts and the Saxton River Summer Theatre; the Keene Chorale and Pops Choir; and the Royal Academy of Dance in Amherst.

Walt is currently organist/director of choirs at St. James Episcopal Church in Keene, where he prepares their senior choir, bell choir, youth/adult orchestra, and Joyful Noise band.

Since 2003, he has been an artist-in-residence at East Hill Farm resort in Troy, New Hampshire. All the while, he has also maintained a robust private studio, teaching piano, organ, and trombone.

For information about how you can make a difference at MSM, please contact:

Susan Madden
Vice President of Advancement at MSM

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