A new music scholarship fund has been established at Frostburg State University in memory of a Cumberland, Md., couple who neither played music or sang, but who passed on their love of music to their children nonetheless.
The Charlie and Wanda Steiner Memorial Scholarship was established by their son, Mark, through a pledge of $15,000 to Staking Our Claim: The Campaign for Frostburg. The scholarship will specifically benefit music majors who play the piano or organ.
Mark Steiner, a 1978 graduate of FSU, is the organist at Emmanuel Episcopal Church and the owner of the Steiner-Murphy Pipe Organ Company, which repairs and services pipe organs throughout the Mid-Atlantic region from a base in Cumberland.
Steiner said he chose to name the scholarship in honor of his late parents, Charlie and Wanda Steiner, for the musical influence they had on his life.
“They never played an instrument or sang, but when my sister and I were talking about it recently, we realized that there was always music playing in the house,” he said. “It was a part of daily living. We didn’t realize until later how big an impression that made.”
Charlie Steiner's particular love was classical music, something he played constantly on his specially installed, whole-house stereo system (separate from the kitchen-area system, which was Wanda’s territory). He took particular pleasure in blasting patriotic music like the “1812 Overture” at the crack of dawn on national holidays, his son said.
“It made you wish the stereo system wasn’t so good,” Mark joked.
Mark Steiner doesn’t think either of his parents had the opportunity to study music when they were young, but they made sure their children did. His sister, Mary Ann, studied piano and guitar, and Mark eventually made music his career.
Charlie Steiner was president and CEO of Cumberland Concrete until his death in 1995. His wife was also involved in the operations of the longtime family business. She passed away in 2001.
Dr. Joan DeVee Dixon, chair of FSU’s Department of Music, said the new scholarship comes at an important time.
“We have tremendous need for music scholarships,” Dixon said. More than 90 students are majoring or minoring in music at FSU.
She said that Mark Steiner was instrumental in founding Friends of Music at Frostburg, which raises money through the FSU Foundation to support music students and programming. He currently serves on its steering committee.
The FSU Foundation has embarked on a $15 million comprehensive campaign, Staking Our Claim: The Campaign for Frostburg, to raise badly needed funding for higher education in Western Maryland. Gifts support student enrichment, academic enrichment and regional and cultural enrichment. For more information about supporting FSU, the Friend of Music or the Charlie and Wanda Steiner Memorial Scholarship, visit www.frostburg.edu/admin/foundation or call 301-687-4161.