Joe Mullins has announced a new scholarship for music students in Ohio named after his dear friend, Doug Eyink, a very special teacher in Centerville, OH that we’ve covered multiple times in Bluegrass today. Doug runs an after-school program for middle and high school students in Centerville called Alternative Strings, which not only exposes them to bluegrass and other forms of root music, but also gives them the opportunity to perform and even record with top bluegrass artists.
Eyink is in an ongoing battle with cancer, and is expected to retire from teaching after this school year. While Doug is personally irreplaceable, Mullins has set out to found a scholarship in his name, which is titled Doug Ink Alternative Threads Scholarship. Fundraising for the grant has just begun, the fund will be donated with proceeds from the Fan Feast Breakfast at the Bluegrass Festival of Industrial Strength this weekend.
Let’s share Joe his own thoughts on Doug and this effort to his name.
I met Doug Ink nearly 15 years ago when he called me to help present and promote the Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver concert at Centerville High School. He said, “I am a banjo player teaching music and orchestra to over 600 students, and I want them to learn about bluegrass.” I was instantly excited!
Doug has now inspired hundreds of former students and families with his passion and skills. The Alternative Strings program began to teach selected orchestral students bluegrass, Celtic, jazz, and other musical styles, and showcase students as performers in the broad bluegrass community. Doug and his students on the Alternative Strings series have hosted concerts and performed with The Radio Ramblers multiple times, as well as Sierra Hull, Special Consensus, Doyle Lawson, Russell Moore, IIIrd Tyme Out, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Rhonda Vincent, Nothin’ Fancy, and many others over the years.
When JMRR and Alternative Strings first joined forces to perform and videotape our song, kind of warDoug was fighting his first battle with colon cancer. It was an emotional time for his family, students, alumni and everyone who enjoys working with this wonderful teacher. The fight continued and Doug’s doctor recommended that he retire from teaching this year.
I want Doug’s influence, legacy, and representation in Ohio schools to always be appreciated, so I called my good friend Hilary Wagner, assistant and alternative strings coordinator, and asked her to help launch the Doug Eyink Alternative Strings Scholarship. Doug, the Eyink family, and several Alternative Strings alumni were thankful and eagerly approved the effort. We have even received a similar scholarship from a former student of up to $5,000!!
In addition to tomorrow’s Fan Feast net proceeds at the festival, all tips and donations earned during the meal will go to the Scholarship Fund. They will also be raffle on Frank Howard’s new guitar during the festival, asking for more donations at an on-site booth throughout the weekend. Any donation of $5 or more wins a chance in a raffle.
If you will be attending Industrial Strength Bluegrass this weekend, please consider donating any size to the Doug Eyink Alternative Strings Scholarship. We assume that after the festival is over, Joe will share other ways you can donate to this great cause.
Here’s a video from 2013 of Doug leading an alternate series performing his arrangement for kind of war With Joe and Radio Ramblers.