About Share America Foundation, Inc.
Promoting the traditional music sounds of Appalachia in our youth is the major focus of the Share America Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501-C3, operating from Catoosa County, Ga.
“Since our inception we have supported the college dreams of over 30 scholars and mentored numerous youth,” said Randall Franks, president, former “In the Heat of the Night” co-star who played “Officer Randy Goode.” “Through live performances combining youth performers with seasoned professionals sharing a lifetime of experience and encouragement; creating recordings featuring youth heard around the world, and adding to their life skills, our board strives to uplift and make a positive difference in Appalachia.”
Scroll down to learn about our scholars.
Franks’ musical stylings have been heard in 150 countries and by more than 25 million Americans. The Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame member’s career boasts 21 album releases, 21 singles, and over 200 recordings with various artists from various genres. In addition to his solo career, Franks is a former member of Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, Jim and Jesse’s Virginia Boys and has performed with Jeff and Sheri Easter, The Lewis Family, the Marksmen, “Doc” Tommy Scott’s Last Real Old Time Medicine Show and Doodle and the Golden River Grass.
Radio Programmers may find Randall’s available music downloads through http://AirPlayDirect.com/RandallFranks
In 2021, Hillbilly Love (www.HillbillyLove.com) joins Share America as a Charity Partner donating 10 percent of its profits to youth organizations like ours.
About Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship
Request a copy of the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship Application
Scholarships honoring the excellence of Appalachian Musical Arts
If you are a graduating senior and perform the traditional music of the South or Appalachia, seeking higher education, you are eligible to apply for the annual presentation of the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship.
The Share America Foundation, Inc. presents two scholarships each year, ranging between $500-1,000.
Musicians that perform selections on the traditional instruments of Appalachia will be given special consideration in the selection process. Some of those traditional instruments include the fiddle, guitar, banjo, mountain or hammered dulcimer, acoustic bass, or mandolin.
Candidates will be reviewed based on specific scholastic accomplishments, community involvement and musical ability. Each candidate will submit two recorded performances on CD or digital file featuring their prowess on their instrument on a musical selection reflecting the heritage of Appalachia or the South originating prior to 1960. Recordings need not be professional but performances must be heard clearly.
Candidates should be available to perform for The Share America Foundation, Inc. at a designated event where the recipients will be announced.
A Selection Committee will choose the top two candidates from eligible applicants. For more information about this scholarship and its specific requirements speak to your school counselor or contact The Share America Foundation, Inc. to see if your school is among those from which applications are accepted.
Currently schools in the following communities are eligible: Catoosa County, Walker County, and Whitfield County, Georgia; Rhea County and Cumberland County, Tenn. Additional schools are made eligible by donations from area residents. If your school counselor’s office receives this notice then students from your school are eligible.
Pearl and Floyd Franks, are the late parents of award-winning actor/entertainer Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night” and Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle. Pearl and Floyd served as entertainment managers for Randall’s childhood act The Peachtree Pickers ® encouraging the musical dreams of 25 youth that participated. Guiding his career they were instrumental in helping him reach The Grand Ole Opry ® and later network television and movies. After Floyd’s death in 1987, Pearl and Randall placed the management reins with others and she served as business manager and continued her role as fan club president. Pearl counseled not only her son but many of the musical performers and actors with which he worked on various aspects of their career helping countless young performers reach for the stars while encouraging them to establish a firm educational foundation for their lives. She continued her efforts until her death in 2006. Randall established this scholarship fund in their memory to continue the legacy that they established of encouraging young performers in their dreams while giving them the educational foundation to succeed in life.
The Grand Ole Opry ® is a registered trademark of Gaylord Entertainment, Inc. The Peachtree Pickers ® is a registered trademark of Randall Franks.
Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholars
Olivia Grace Young
Musician Olivia Grace Young, 17, of Toccoa, Ga. was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship winner.
She expressed her sincere gratitude for the $1,000 scholarship received.
“This scholarship has been something that truly lit a fire to my calling to music and has been an immense driving factor to wanting to succeed, and be something great with my work as a mandolinist,” she said. “Plato once said, ‘Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything,’ while growing in my study of music I feel as if this expression has begun to truly express the same altitude of appreciation for music that I hold as well.”
Her interest in music began at an early age. She studied privately with award-nominated bluegrass gospel musician Lorie Watkins of The Watkins Family.
“She is a very talented young lady in many ways, but has a true love for music and the mandolin, while also having a true drive to succeed,” Watkins said. “It’s been an extreme pleasure to have a part of such a bright future”
The Watkins Family – Judy, Lorie and Todd – began raising funds with special concerts for the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship in 2007.
Joining the effort of providing funds to encourage youth in 2020 is the new lifestyle company – Hillbilly Love. The socially productive, conscious brand will be donating 10 percent of its profits from its family-focused products including apparel, jewelry, handbags, and décor (www.HillbillyLove.com) to organizations including Share America to make a difference in the lives of youth like Young.
“Our goal is to share the message of Hillbilly Love, while creating positive opportunities to serve our communities, and to support our children’s future,” said CEO Lynda Weingartz.
Young said the scholarship will assist in her studies as she goes to North Georgia College this fall to study journalism.
“Olivia has amazing dedication to all she sets her mind on as a goal,” said Share America President Randall Franks. “Our board is proud to be a small part of the success we know she will define for her future.”
Young graduated from Stephens County High School this year. She is a resident of Toccoa, Ga., although at the early age of 10 months she was adopted from a southern region of Russia. Throughout the years Young participated in both school and church functions. When she is not practicing music, Olivia said she enjoys studying Classical Literature and History.
Her plans for the future include getting her degree from the University of North Georgia while also venturing out into performing musically, she said.
Musician Colton Brown, 17, of Chickamauga, Ga. was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship designee.
Brown plays piano, harmonica and drums. He is from Chickamauga and is an 11th-grader at Oakwood Christian Academy. He began performing at the age of six. He has performed with District Honor Band for three consecutive years, UGA’s Midfest for two years, and JanFest for two years where he was chosen for the Honor Band both years.
He appeared in concert for Share America at the Smith Charitable Endowment Smith & Wesley and Friends concerts in Ringgold with Randall Franks, John Schneider, Cody McCarver and Smith & Wesley in September 2019.
He will receive the scholarship when he starts college.
“I am extremely humbled and honored to be a recipient of this scholarship. I appreciate Mr. Franks for all he has done to help me in my musical endeavors,” Colton said.
Colton said the scholarship will assist in him studies as he attends college and studies music education.
“Colton is very talented and Share America is excited to encourage his future with the legacy of this scholarship,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.
He is the son of Pastor Jeff and Belinda Brown of Chickamauga, Ga.; grandson of Michael and Patricia Brown of Flintstone, Ga and the late Alice Green of Chickamauga, Ga.
“The tradition of Southern gospel piano is a vital aspect of the sounds created in the Appalachians,” said Share America President Randall Franks. “I know she and my late father would be proud to see what this investment in Colton’s future will inspire in years to come.”
Singer/songwriter Kimi Carter, 18, of Ringgold, Ga. was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship winner. She received the $1,000 scholarship at a special performance of the historic Hollywood Hillbilly Jamboree for Habitat for Humanity of Catoosa County.
“Just the fact I was even considered for this is wild to me!” she said. “The way the Share America Foundation has supported me up till now is something I will always be grateful for.”
Each year the organization selects one recipient from Catoosa County. Carter said the scholarship will assist in her studies as she goes to Belmont University this fall to study songwriting.
“Kimi is very talented and Share America is excited to encourage her future with the legacy of this scholarship,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.
Carter is graduating from Heritage High School and has already been studying at Dalton State College through dual enrollment since she was fifteen years old. She began singing since she was just a toddler, but started writing and performing her own songs by the age of twelve at venues such as The Camp House (Chattanooga), Cadence Coffee Co. (Chattanooga), Centennial Park
She is the daughter of Jason and Amy Carter of Ringgold, Ga., and granddaughter of Danny and Gayle Carter .
“One of the greatest aspects of Appalachian music is relaying the experiences and happenings of life in songs that reflect the stories,” said Share America President Randall Franks. “Kimi has an amazing voice and is learning to tell the stories of her Appalachian generation through her words.”
Musician Logan Puryear, 19, of Soddy-Daisy, Tenn. was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship winner. He expressed his sincere gratitude for the $1,000 scholarship received.
“Music is important to society because it is something that gets us through the bad times and even the good times. I haven’t always loved old-timey music but in the last few years it’s something I have fallen in love with,” he said.
He said that his late great grandmother Colleen Puryear of Hixson, Tenn. introduced him to the music of Country Music Hall of Fame members the Carter Family. “Now that I am older and more mature, I don’t think you can get any better than Appalachian music,” he said.
His interest connected him to the autoharp and helped him find a teacher who would invest into his hopes.
“Appalachian music and keeping the music of the Carter Family alive has taught me the self-discipline and decorum,” he said. He added that those attributes will be great assets throughout his life.
Each year the organization selects two recipients. Puryear said the scholarship will assist in him studies as he goes to Chattanooga State this fall.
“Logan is very talented and Share America is excited to encourage his future with the legacy of this scholarship,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.
Puryear graduated from Soddy Daisy High School this year.
He is the son of Jessica and Andy Puryear of Soddy Daisy, Tenn., grandson of Kay Hobbes of Soddy Daisy, and great grandson U.C. Puryear of Hixson, Tenn.
“My late mother Pearl had a great affinity for the autoharp, it was the only instrument she found comfortable in her hands,” said Share America President Randall Franks. “I know she and my late father would be proud to see what this investment in Logan’s future will inspire in years to come.”
Share America congratulates our Share America Scholar Kaiya Moore, who was designated in 2016, in her college career at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She received her $1,000 scholarsship in 2019. Moore is a singer and dancer who graduated from the Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts (CCA). She is a musical theater major; she has won first place in three area competitions including her age category in the 2016 Ringgold Star talent competition. Kaiya began singing at the age of 1 and started performing at 6.
Musician/singer King Turyananuka, of Wake Forest, N.C., was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship winner. He received a $1,000 scholarship. Turyananuka is originally from Uganda and is in the United States studying traditional worship music.
Turyananuka, the oldest of four, started school five years late due to his single mother’s inability to pay for school in Uganda. In his home country, he led worship in several churches; played in blues, bluegrass and jazz bands; performed with the Ngoma Ya-mungu ensemble band in both Uganda and South Korea.
He applied for the scholarship to assist in his studies at this fall at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary to study music. He plays acoustic guitar, bass, electric guitar, violin, piano, percussion, and several African instruments such as the adungu.
“I want to be able to go back to Uganda and maybe start a music school to help fellow musicians who do not have an opportunity to study and realize their potential in music,” he said.
Turyananuka is also a singer who studied three years at the Africa Institute of Music.
Ringgold’s Nicholas Hickman received the $1,000 Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship from the Share America Foundation at a recent SingAkadamie performance in Chattanooga. Hickman, a Ringgold High School graduate, is now a student at Dalton State College studying communications. He was selected for the scholarship at age 12 for his singing talents. He was singing with Sheri Thrower’s SingAkadamie when he was selected and continues appearing with the troupe. From left are Hickman, Thrower and Randall Franks, Share America president.
Trevor Holder receives the 2018 Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship from the Share America Foundation, Inc. From left are Marksmen Quartet member Dawson Dyer, founder Earle Wheeler, Trevor Holder, Share America President Randall Franks, and Marksmen members Will Wheeler and Mark Wheeler. Trevor was a 2015 designee. He said he will use the funds to assist in his studies in electrical engineering at Kennesaw State College this fall. He is a graduate at Heritage High School in Ringgold, Ga. and completed through dual-enrollment a two-year degree from Dalton College.
Guitarist Caleb Lewis, 14, of Ooltewah, Tenn. was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship Designee. Designees receive a $1,000 scholarship from the organization upon entering college by continuing their music endeavors.
Lewis was surprised and left speechless by the honor, he said later.
Lewis is a guitarist who attends Providence Christian Academy in Ringgold and is a rising 9th grader. Lewis began playing at the age of 7 and started performing at age 11. He recently won first place in the junior division at the 2017 International Thumbpicking Contest in Muhlenberg County, KY. He plays a guitar made for him by luthier David Wallace.
“Encouraging the future of our youth is the focus of what we share when we have the opportunity to designate a new scholar such as Caleb,” said Share America Vice Chairman Jimmy Terrell. “He has an amazing talent that is already being recognized in music circles around the country, we are pleased to add to the chorus of those encouraging him.”
Lewis said he desires a career path in computer science.
“When I go to college I hope to be majoring in computer coding,” he said.
Lewis is the son of Jeff and Amber Lewis of Ooltewah, Tenn.
“Caleb had been part of our Share America family performing for our audiences for years,” Franks said. “I see him continuing to uplift people with all his efforts for many years.”
Singer Ashley Latham, 18, of Anderson, S.C. was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship winner. She received a $1,000 scholarship.
“Music, how would I describe it?” she said. “I would begin with a healing to the heart. When a song fills my head and heart, I immediately know that God meant that song for a reason, for a certain person, and maybe even a certain time.”
Latham applied for the scholarship to assist in her studies at Southern Wesleyan University this fall to study to become a math teacher.
“I plan to continue to sing every weekend with my family,” she said. “I want to allow God to use my singing in whatever way He wants to minister to others.”
Latham graduated from Oakwood Christian School in Anderson. She began singing at the age of five and she performs regularly with her parents, Brian and Laura Latham of Anderson, S.C., in the group Echoes of Mercy. The group’s latest CD is “Finish Well.” For more information, visit echoesofmercy3.com.
Dobroist Owen Schinkel of Johnson City, Tenn. was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship winner receiving a $1,250 scholarship from the organization for continuing his music studies.
“The call of Appalachia reaches around the world,” Franks said. “Our latest scholar is the perfect example of how someone from Holland found their way to Appalachia to study and change the direction of their life.”
While in Ringgold, he also appeared both at Sacred Sounds Fridays at Ringgold’s Patriot Hall, on the long-running Ringgold Opry at the Ringgold Depot and toured the region’s historical sites meeting many locals and tourists.
“I greatly appreciate the opportunity that Share America and all those who support its efforts have given to me,” Schinkel said.
Schinkel is a freshman musician at East Tennessee State University as part of the Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies program in the Appalachian studies department. He is an international student from The Netherlands in Meppen. He came to the U.S. in January 2017.
“The focus is preserving the Appalachian traditions and culture and of course its music,” he said. “Moving to East Tennessee and studying Bluegrass, Old Time and Country music is a big step in my career learning and understanding this Appalachian music and its culture.
“I’ve got two main education goals for the time I am in the United States. One is to become a master on my Instrument by playing with a lot of people in a lot of different situations,” he said. “ETSU is actually making this possible. Before I was never able to play serious bluegrass music with people from my age. While here, I’m jamming almost every day. I’m thinking about missing this when I move back to Holland again.”
He said his second goal is to build up a network of friends/musicians/promoters to increase the popularity of bluegrass, old time and country music overseas.
“I fell in love with mountain music when I was 16 years old, it changed my life,” he said. “I stumbled over a video from Jerry Douglas and Dan Tyminski playing the song ‘The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn’ on the Transatlantic Sessions.
“After doing some research I found out that Jerry was playing a Dobro, I immediately fell I love with the sound of the Dobro and knew I wanted to play that instrument,” he said. “I purchased a Dobro and started my journey. Several years of practice brought me where I am now: The United States of America. A part of the study at East Tennessee State is the participation in student (Bluegrass) bands.”
He is already participated in three school bands and an outside band.
“Being part of four bands since my arrival is a lot of fun. I feel my playing progress every day since my arrival in the United States,” he said.” My heart & mind are telling me to pursue my dreams, and that is what I am doing right here, right now.”
“Encouraging the future of youth is the focus of what we do and our name Share America has never been more appropriate as we help a young man bring Appalachia with him when he completes his education and returns to Europe,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.
Singer Kaiya Moore, 15, of Chattanooga, Tenn. was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship Designee. Designees receive a $1,000 scholarship from the organization upon entering college by continuing their music endeavors.
“When I was awarded with the scholarship I remember feeling ecstatic, honored, and excited that I actually had a scholarship to look forward to, and to use for college!” she said. “As this is my first scholarship to receive ever, the organization that awarded me with this has a very special place in my heart. They really revealed how much I can, and do impact others with my talent!”
Moore is a singer and dancer who attends high school at the Chattanooga High Center for Creative Arts (CCA). She is a musical theater major; she has won first place in three area competitions including her age category in the 2016 Ringgold Star talent competition. Kaiya began singing at the age of 1 and started performing at 6. She attends Real Life Ministries Church.
“Encouraging the future of our youth is the focus of what we share when we have the opportunity to designate a new scholar such as Kaiya,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles. “Sometimes one small act of encouragement can set a tone for success, and that is exactly what we wish for Kaiya.”
Moore said she desires a career path in entertainment.
“I am striving to pursue my talents in the music industry, and also I’d like to start in the modeling, acting, dancing, and musical theater industry,” she said. “When I go to college I will be majoring/minoring in music, as I also love to play instruments.”
Moore is the daughter of Tyree Moore and Alysha Moore of Chattanooga, Tenn.
She is the granddaughter of Patricia Moore and the late Henry L. Moore of Chattanooga, and Gene Orr of Atlanta, Ga. and Martha L. Wilkerson of Rossville, Ga.
“Just beginning her career as a singer, Kaiya is already touching people with her talents,” Franks said. “I see her continuing to uplift people with all her efforts in the world of entertainment for many years.”
Garrett and Trevor Holder
Guitarist Garrett Holder, 18, of Ringgold, Ga. was selected as the recipient of the 2015 scholarship.
“It was great honor to receive the scholarship that recognizes my interest in traditional music,” he said. “While my goals regarding how music will fit into my career path, I know that it will always be a major aspect of what I do and share with others.
Holder is a graduate of Oakwood Christian Academy in Chickamauga, Ga. He plans to attend Dalton College and later East Tennessee State University. He plans a dual major in biology and bluegrass. “We were honored to present $1,000 to assist him as he pursues his college studies this fall,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.
Holder’s 14-year-old brother Trevor, who began playing banjo at age 11, was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship Designee.
“It was a surprise and a blessing to have my love of bluegrass acknowledged,” he said. ”I have always looked up to several of the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship recipients, especially those from Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band. I am honored to be included among such talented fellow music enthusiasts.”
Trevor is a rising sophomore at Heritage High School in Ringgold, Ga. and he will receive a scholarship when he attends college after graduating. He is considering also attending Dalton College and East Tennessee State University.
The Holders are the sons of Gary and Angela Holder of Ringgold, Ga. They are the grandsons of Judy and the late Gene Holder of Ringgold, Ga. and David and Dimple Gattis of Ringgold, Ga.
For more information, Visit and Like the Holder Brothers on Facebook.
“Garrett and Trevor are excelling on their chosen instruments and studying to learn the many skills needed to excel on stage,” Franks said. “I see them passing along great enjoyment to many people today and in the years to come with their talents.”
Fiddler Emerald Butler of Sale Creek, Tenn. was selected as the third 2014 scholarship winner.
“I feel extremely blessed, and I am very thankful for this scholarship” she said. “I think it is fantastic that I can receive a scholarship because of my music, and for my music.”
Butler is currently attending Chattanooga State.
“We were honored to present $500 to assist her as she pursues her college studies,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.
She plans to study Music Business at MTSU once she finishes all of the general requirements at Chattanooga State.
“My plan is make a living making music and entertaining. I want to record, tour, act, etc. I want to do it all!, she said. “I have been told before to go to college and get a real job, or to do something other than music. I’ve been told that it is really hard to make a living out of playing music, but everyday I listen to someone who does on the radio. I believe that I have a God given talent, and that entertaining is what I’m meant to do. I may or may not make it, but I’m at least going to try.”
Butler is the daughter of Daric and Karen Butler of Sale Creek, Tenn.
She is the granddaughter of Dalton and the late June Butler of Soddy Daisy, Tenn. and of Charles and Olena Hudson of Brayton, Tenn.
For more information, visit emeraldfiddler.webs.com. or on Facebook.
“Emerald shows terrific ability as a fiddler and a share a wonderful repoire with the audience,” Franks said. “I know her many talents will assist her in finding many great doors open for her as she entertains throughout her life.”
Southern gospel singer Aimee Garner of Ringgold, Ga. was selected as the Catoosa County recipient 2014 scholarship.
“I was so surprised when Mr. Randall Franks awarded me with this scholarship,” she said. “I appreciate this wonderful blessing that will be used to further my ministry.”
Garner is a graduate of Heritage High School attending Dalton College. She is studying marketing.
“My greatest desire is to travel and sing, however I plan on finishing my Bachelor’s degree in marketing,” she said.
Garner is the daughter of Brian and Tami Porter of Ringgold, Ga. and Jerry Garner of Rossville, Ga. She is the granddaughter of Joe and Betty Perkins and Dilbert and Doris Garner of Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
“We were honored to present $500 to assist her as she pursues her college studies,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.
Her latest CD is “This Little Light.”
“‘This Little Light’ is currently out and I have another CD on the way called ‘The Way Home” that will be out by the beginning of next year,” she said.
She records for A&G Records with Gerald Crabb and Alisa Asbury as producers.
“Aimee is a tremendously talented singer and has a stage presence that will definitely open many doors to her as she encourages others with her gifts,” Franks said.
For more information, visit Aimee Garner artist page on Facebook.
“I would greatly appreciate your prayers and support, ” she said.
Fiddle player Wil Markham of Signal Mountain, Tenn. was selected as one of the 2014 winners.
“Music has been a significant of my life since I was 7 years old,” he said. “Classical violin gave way to fiddling with Mountain Cove. High school brought an opportunity to join the marching band Drum Line and eventually Drum Co-captain.
“In the past few years I’ve become an accomplished guitarist and bassist,” he said. “I enjoy writing, recording, and producing music.”
Markham is attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He wants to work in the music business industry and aspires to open a recording studio in Chattanooga.
“My plans are to major in marketing and work in music production. It’s an honor to be a part of a selected group of musicians that are so passionate and care so much about music from our region,” he said “This organization has helped so many students pursue their passion for music and obtain their education at the same time. I will always be thankful for this opportunity!”
He performs regularly with Mountain Cove Bluegrass.
“We were honored to present a $1,000 to assist him as he begins his college studies,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.
Markham is the son of Skip and Harriet Markham of Signal Mountain, Tenn. He is the grandson of Wilbourne and Delores Markham and Phil and the late Stuart Wilkerson.
The group’s latest CD is “Mountain Cove III.”
Leader, Cody Harvey of Signal Mountain, started Mountain Cove Bluegrass during lunch hours at the new SMHS. The band is comprised with five members, Cody Harvey, Colin Mabry, Eli Beard, Tyler Martelli and Markham.
“Wil is an exceptional musician and brings with him a great deal of enthusiasm in his craft,” Franks said.
Banjo player Jonathan Barker, 19, of Copper Hill, Tenn. was selected as one of the 2013 winners. He is a sophomore at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville studying to be an emergency room physician. He is graduate of Copper Basin High School in Polk County.
“It is a distinct pleasure to be honored by Share America and receive this scholarship,” he said. “I know what a privilege it is to have the support of so many great people who help to make it possible.”
Barker has played banjo for 11 years and also plays guitar and sings lead and harmony parts. He performs regularly with his older brother Jeremy Barker, his parents Scott and Angie and fiddler Westley Harris as The Barker Brothers.
He is the younger brother of 2007 Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholar Jeremy Barker.
“My brother began playing music and I thought that was the greatest thing in the world,” he said.
Since his beginning at age 8, with his family, he has performed numerous concerts including opening for legendary performer Ralph Stanley during his “O’ Brother Where Art Thou Tour.” He won the “Fan’s Choice Award” at Raymond Fairchild’s Maggie Valley Opry. He also added “The Shotgun Red Show” on RFD-TV in 2013 to a long list of television appearances.
“We were honored to present a $500 scholarship to assist him as he continues his college studies,” said Share America Chairman Joe Turner.
Franks said that while the organization normally presents rising freshman, it had no regional applicants this year.
“We are very excited by this particular scholar because in a way it is a legacy presentation since he is the second in his family to receive it,” he said. “But also knowing we are helping a banjo playing doctor on his way, I know he will make a lot of people feel better.”
Barker is the son of Scott and Angie Barker of Copper Hill, Tenn. He is the grandson of Betty and the late Fred Verner of Turtletown, Tenn. and the late Wilford and Ola Barker of Copper Hill. The group’s latest CD is “Driven.” For more information about The Barker Brothers, visit barkerbrothers.com.
Fiddle player Westley Harris of Copper Hill, Tenn. was selected as one of the 2013 winners.
He is a sophomore at East Tennessee State University studying to be a music educator. He is graduate of Copper Basin High School in Polk County.
“I am really grateful for the recognition of the Share America Foundation,” he said. “I hope to carry on the traditions of Appalachian music through my teaching.
Harris has played fiddle for seven years and also plays Irish flute, guitar, bass, mandolin, viola, and saxophone. He performs with the Barker Brothers.
“We were honored to present a $500 scholarship to assist him as he continues his college studies,” said Share America Chairman Joe Turner.
“Westley is an exceptional fiddler and brings with him a great deal of excitement in his craft,” Franks said. “I know that enthusiasm will be shared with all that he comes in contact with throughout his career.”
Rachel McConathy, 18, of Ringgold, Ga. was selected as the 2013 Catoosa County winner. She graduated from Ringgold High School and will be attending Jacksonville State University in the fall to study biology.
“I am honored to receive the Share America scholarship,” she said. “I hope to transfer to Auburn’s vet school. I want to treat horses. I hope to be a lamest vet.”
McConathy is an award-winning equestrian considered among the top riders in the world, Franks said.
She has played flute for seven years and she also plays keyboards performing previously with Ringgold High and Middle School bands as well as district bands. She will be performing with the Jacksonville State Marching Southerners.
“We were honored to present a $500 scholarship to assist her as she begins her college studies,” said Share America Chairman Joe Turner.
Randall Franks, Share America president, said this was a unique selection for the scholarship.
“One of our annual scholarships is set aside for a musician from Catoosa County, Ga.” Franks said. “In many county seats across the mountains there was a town band that shared concerts in a park bandstand sharing the music of the era with their residents, so it is not really a stretch to have someone so talented in band to receive the scholarship.”
Share America Foundation, Inc. recently presented Hunter Moreland with the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship recently at the Ringgold Depot for $1,000. Moreland, a graduate of Heritage High School in Ringgold, Ga., plays bagpipes, saxophone and bassoon. Pearl and Floyd Franks are the late parents and former entertainment managers of actor/entertainer Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night.” The scholarships honor students excelling in the Appalachian musical arts. Moreland will attend the University of Georgia and study music education. He said he hopes to become a high school band director. He is the son of Braden and Angie of Ringgold and grandson of Jane and the late James Moreland of Ringgold and Harvey and Martha Allison of Keith, Ga.
Share America Foundation, Inc. recently presented Garrett Arb, 19, of Varnell, Ga., the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship for $1,000 in honor of the late Dottie Rambo at the Ringgold Depot. The banjo player was the very first scholarship designee selected by Rambo when she appeared for the organization’s inaugural fundraising concert in 2007. He was 14 at that time. From left, Share America Foundation secretary James Pelt, SAF chairman Joe Turner, Arb and SAF president Randall Franks. He graduated from Northwest Whitfield High School and will attend Dalton State working towards Bachelor of Arts degree. “After knocking out the core classes, I intend on transferring to a school more prominent in musical studies,” he said. “It was so kind of Dottie to encourage me in the way she did as well as ask the audience to support my future.” Garrett is the son of David and Lisa Arb. The grandson of John and Nancy Arb of Chatsworth, Ga., and the grandson of Margaret Blackwell and the late J.C Blackwell of Dalton, Ga.
Tyler Martelli, 18, of Hixson, Tenn. graduated from Hixson High School and plans to attend
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“Until I was a freshman, I played electric guitar listening to Rock and Roll,” he said. “Then a friend of mine invited me one night to the Mountain Opry on Signal Mountain. This was my first encounter with bluegrass music.
“I began to regularly sing and perform there and fell in love with the Appalachian style music,” he said.
He eventually joined Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band, a group of Signal Mountain youth. He initially played guitar but soon took up the mandolin and later the harmonica adding both to the band’s stage show. He also sings with the group. For more information, visit www.mountaincovebluegrass.com.
“Bluegrass has no doubt affected my life in a huge way,” he said. “ Playing and singing in front of so many people has helped me to be more comfortable speaking in crowds, and I can be more open when performing.
Tyler said he plans to use the $1,000 scholarship towards his educational needs to get a degree in music with a focus in music therapy.
“The most rewarding thing about playing bluegrass is the fans,” he said. “It has given me the opportunity to perform at places I would’ve never dreamed.
He won the harmonica contest at Smithville Fiddler’s Jamboree. While in high school, he played clarinet and drum and was part of the Hixson High School Marching Band. He also plays guitar at Battlefield Baptist Church in Fort Oglethorpe.
Tyler is the son of Mary Martelli and Anthony Goodner, both of Chattanooga, Tenn.
Nicholas Hickman, 12, of Ringgold, Ga. was selected as the Catoosa County Designee for the scholarship. He attends Ringgold Middle School.
“One of our annual scholarships is set aside for a performer from Catoosa County, Ga. There were no applicants from Catoosa this year, so the board of directors chose to select a candidate and award the 2012 scholarship in the year that candidate attends college,” Franks said. “Nicholas is carrying on the traditional music of this region through his learning the basics of vocal techniques used in gospel singing for generations.”
The requirements for designees to receive the scholarship are to fulfill the application requirements in the year he or she enrolls in college immediately following graduation and to continue performing the Appalachian musical style of their choice, according to Franks.
He began singing at the age of three when he stepped on stage with entertainer James Rogers. Recently, Nicholas was winner of Georgia’s “Gospel’s Got Talent” contest, where he placed first in his division. Prior to this, he led his elementary school chorus to receive a second call back with “America’s Got Talent” auditions in Atlanta.
Within the last year, Nicholas has traveled with show choir, “SingAkadamie” to Hawaii, where he received a three minute standing ovation at the 3000 seat Blaisdale Concert Hall, singing his signature song, “Amen,” arranged by his private vocal coach, and talent advisor, Sheri Thrower.
He has just been featured on a gospel music video with Gospel Music Legend, Phil Cross, and on May 3-5 he will be featured in the “Gospel Music Express” showcase in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Nicholas is the son of Brent and Barbara Hickman and brother of Zach Carmical, all of Ringgold Ga. He is the grandson of Edward and Carolyn Hickman of Ringgold, Ga. and Jack and Mary Cooper of Chattanooga, Tenn.
Ryan Stinson, 22, of Ringgold, Ga. was selected as the 2012 Catoosa County designee. He attends Luther Rice University and Seminary and is a beginning senior.
“It is a great honor to receive the Share America scholarship,” he said. “I am preparing for full-time church ministry.”
He has played piano for 11 years.
“I consider music to be my primary community ministry and I always look for ways of uplifting people through song,” he said. “Music will always be a major part of my life.”
Stinson is the son of Tony and Jill Stinson and brother of Kari Stinson of Ringgold, and the grandson of Jim and Joyce Terrell and Ruth and the late Richard Stinson, all of Ringgold. “We were honored to present a $500 scholarship to assist him as he completes his studies,” said Share America Chairman Joe Turner.
Stinson was not aware that he was to receive the award, according to Randall Franks, Share America president.
“One of our annual scholarships is set aside for a musician from Catoosa County, Ga. There were no applicants from Catoosa for 2011, so the board of directors chose to select a candidate,” Franks said. “Ryan is carrying on the traditional music of this region through his learning the traditional styles of piano which have graced the musical genres of gospel and country music for many years. He has a unique talent that draws the listener into what he is doing.”
Share America Foundation, Inc. recently presented Emily Hullender of Tunnel Hill, Ga. the Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship for $1,000 at the Ringgold Depot. From left, Share America Foundation secretary James Pelt, comedian Johnny Counterfit, SAF chairman Joe Turner, JeffHullender, Emily Hullender, Justin Hullender, and SAF president Randall Franks. Hullender was selected as the 2008 Catoosa County designee for the scholarship at the age of 15. She now attends Chattanooga State working towards a career as a dental hygienist.
Mike Holloway, 18, of Signal Mountain, Tenn. graduated from Signal Mountain High School and now attends University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
“Music is what makes me who I am,” he said. “One thing I have learned from my musical experiences is in a room of 20 or more languages, the common denominator is bluegrass.”
He began playing bass with fellow students learning to become part of a new band – the Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band.
“Being with this band has changed me,” he said. “It has taught me to work with others, communicate with people with a foreign language, and accomplish goals that might seem impossible.”
Mike said he plans to use the $1,000 scholarship towards his educational needs to get a degree aerospace engineering.
“I have been taught to never give up and I believe anything is possible as long as I have a goal,” he said.
He plays bass with the Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band. For more information, visit www.mountaincovebluegrass.com.
Mike is the son of Donnie and Macel Holloway of Signal Mountain, Tenn. He is the grandson of Ken and Thelma Holloway of Signal Mtn., TN and Macel and the late Emerson Hubbard of Wise, VA.
Cody Harvey, 18, of Signal Mountain, Tenn. graduated from Signal Mountain High School and plans to attend University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“Since I began playing the banjo, I had always dreamed to have a bluegrass band of people my age,” he said.
He said he actually taught some fellow students and found others who played until the Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band was formed. “Although music is a great passion of mine, I am not looking to make it my profession,” he said.
Cody said she plans to use the $1,000 scholarship towards his educational needs to get a degree in nursing and then plans to attend graduate school for anesthesiology.
“Music will always be part of my life, and I will use it to praise the Lord and thank Him for allowing me to have such a wonderful thing in life and share it with everyone I meet,” he said.
He sings lead and other parts and plays banjo with the Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band. For more information, visit www.mountaincovebluegrass.com.
Cody is the son of Mike and Yvonne Harvey of Signal Mountain, Tenn. He is the grandson of Charles and Charlotte Harvey of Signal Mtn., TN and Anna and the late John W. Austin of New Albany, In. He continues a family legacy passed from his late grandfather John Austin, who played mandolin and bass. His father, Mike plays banjo. His mother Yvonne plays piano.
Hunter Moreland, 16, of Ringgold, Ga. was selected as the 2010 Catoosa County designee. Moreland is a sophomore at Heritage High School in Ringgold, Ga. He plays bagpipes among numerous other instruments.
“Grand total I have been playing the pipes for about three years,” he said.
Moreland said he added bagpipes, an instrument his father also plays, to saxophone and bassoon.
Hunter performs in the Heritage High School Marching Band and his piping talent became part of the band’s show at football games, he said.
The presentation came as quite a surprise to Moreland when Randall joined him on stage after Hunter performed “Highland Cathedral,” according to Joe Turner, Share America chairman.
The board will decide the amount of the scholarship at the time of the award when Moreland graduates in a couple of years, Turner said.
“Hunter is carrying on one of the most unique instrumental aspects of our Scottish heritage. There is nothing that equals the sound of the pipes and it really makes the Scottish part of my heart sing,” Franks said.
“It’s an honor to be considered,” Moreland said following the presentation.
He said he plans to use the scholarship towards his educational needs to become a high school band director. He added that he is considering going to a school with an excellent saxophone program possibly in Minnesota or Michigan.
Raven Welch, 18, of Mineral Bluff, Ga. received a $1,000 scholarship.
She graduated from Fannin County High School in Blue Ridge, Ga. Welch said she will use the scholarship towards her educational needs at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega to become a physical therapist.
“As long as I can remember, music has always played a major role in my life; I can’t remember my life prior to becoming involved in music,” Welch said.
Welch said she began her musical studies on piano and moved on to other instruments including the mandolin.
Welch formed the Raven Welch Band in 2007. She said the opportunity to work regularly with other passionate musicians on stage has enhanced her musical and vocal abilities.
“While on stage, I thoroughly enjoy performing, but I also love to see the joy and fun that it brings to the audience,” she said. “Music has enriched my life and it has helped me to meet many new people and learn life lessons.
“I want to share the love and joy that music has brought to my life,” she said.
She said she plans to continue performing around her studies. Her latest CD is entitled “More to Go to Heaven For” and more information can be found at www.RavenWelch.com.
(Catoosa County Designee)
Kylan Rodgers of Ringgold was selected to be the 2009 Catoosa County designee for the scholarship. “I have always wanted to work towards a scholarship so I could go and study music,” he said. “I want to thank everyone who took part in this. I cannot tell you how much this means to me.” Rodgers is ninth grader at Heritage High School from Ringgold. He also plays piano, drums, Dobro, bass guitar, alto saxophone, and other instruments. “With my music, I plan to become a contemporary Christian artist,” he said. “My dream is to travel around the world and bring people to Christ through my music.”
Fiddler and mandolinist Kayla Ray of Royston, Ga. was home schooled and now attends Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs, Ga. She received a $750 scholarship.
“I’m very passionate about trying to help spread Bluegrass music to others my age, so I was very honored and thankful to have received the 2009 scholarship,” Ray said.
She performs with her siblings – Sara, Laura, Jason, – in the band Exception to the Rule.
Jeremy Barker, of Copper Hill, Tenn., is a graduate of Copper Basin High School in Polk County, Tenn. Barker appears with the Barker Brothers featuring his brother Jonathan, father Scott, his mother Angie and Westley Harris. Barker received a $500 scholarship to be used towards his educational needs at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tenn. He said his plans are to eventually transfer to East Tennessee State University where he will minor in its bluegrass program while he pursues a degree in secondary education to teach history.
Barker said after college he desires to return to his home in Copper Hill and teach in the local high school.
“I hope to assume a leading role in continuing the promotion of our acoustic music program,” he said.
“I hope to enrich the area’s cultural heritage through the music that I share.”
(In Honor of the late Dottie Rambo)
Jarrod Payne of Ducktown, Tenn., a graduate of Copper Basin High School in Polk County, is the second 2008 winner of the scholarship. His special award is given in memory of the organization’s late benefactor Dottie Rambo. Payne performs with Steel String Session featuring Lisa Jacobi, Pete Dasher, Denny Mixon, and John McLeod.
Payne received a $250 scholarship to be used towards his educational needs at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tenn. He said his plans are to transfer to East Tennessee State University where he will pursue a bachelor’s degree in music. Payne said that while his goals are currently in pursuing a degree and career in music, he looks forward to all the academic opportunities of college that may “open the door to other careers …not yet considered.”
“The boundaries of a person’s mind and a society’s way of thinking are expanded when music enters the experience,” he said. “The varying genres of music can emphasize the different aspects of life, including the viewpoints one has on the world around them. “Music affects my life in a truly personal way, as I find the music to be a way of life,” he said. “Throughout my music education, I have had several music instructors and fellow band mates who continually sample various styles and techniques found in many musical genres. In their own ways, they have interpreted and taught me the various musical languages that I now communicate through my performances and playing.” Payne said music has richly blessed his life, as have the people who continue to play a role in making him the person he is.
(Catoosa County Designee)
Emily Hullender of Tunnel Hill, Ga. was selected as the 2008 Catoosa County designee. She attends Dogwood Christian Academy in Tunnel Hill, Ga. She sings soprano or tenor with the Jeff Hullender Family with her father Jeff Hullender and her brother Justin.
“I am really excited to receive this scholarship,” she said. Emily continues a tradition passed through several generations of her family. Jeff learned his music traveling with his singing parents — Jr. and Thelma. He also is a former member of the Gold City Quartet, who also performed with the Kingsmen and Teddy Huffam and the Gems. Even at 15, Emily is already writing songs such as “My Sins Are Covered“ that their group is performing on stage. She said the words come from God and she simply writes them down.
(Catoosa County Designee)
Deborah Taylor of Ringgold was initially selected to be the 2007 Catoosa County designee for the scholarship and is now attending Covenant College. She received a $750 scholarship.
Taylor said she hopes to become a doctor.
Taylor is a home-school graduate from Ringgold who began playing the fiddle five years ago. She also plays piano and sings.
“I heard singer Josh Groban’s violinist and that made me want to take lessons,” she said. “Instead of the violin, I began fiddle lessons and that was something that seemed to be so much more relaxed and fun that I haven’t been able to stop playing since.”
Taylor has competed in several fiddle competitions in the Tennessee Valley where she has placed on occasion.
Often seen behind her playing guitar is her grandfather Lewis Taylor.
“He helps me with my timing — playing guitar rhythm,” she said. “He is a great musician who is a lot of help to me.”
John Edmund Rice of Covington, Ga., a graduate of Newton County High School, was selected to be the 2007 winner for the scholarship.
Rice appeared at the event performing “Amazing Grace” and “Orange Blossom Special” along with a full set of gospel songs performed with the Walnut Grove Bluegrass Band featuring his father John Rice, his twin brother Jacob Rice, Allen Russell and Bear Adams.
Rice received a $300 scholarship to be used towards his educational needs at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga. where he is pursuing a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering technology.
Rice said he hopes someday to design combustion engines that will operate on non-fossil fuels while providing more efficient power on less fuel.
While his eyes are on changing the direction of our fuel driven world, his passion, he said, is music.
“I enjoy many styles but the Round Peak style music and bluegrass music play a very important role in my life,” he said. “By studying old time music when I was a beginner, it helped me to start playing right away, which is always a good thing. “An important role that music has played in my life is the enjoyment of learning a challenging tune that takes weeks to figure out,” he said. “When you learn the original form of the tune you usually throw in a couple of your own licks after you have mastered it. With those licks you have created your own style or version of the tune.” Rice said while he hopes someday to play full-time, he wants to get his education first so he will have job skills to fall back upon. “I plan to keep music and the fiddle as part of my life, I hope to be able to play for as long as I may be able,” he said.
(Dottie Rambo Award Designee)
Garrett Arb of Varnell, Ga., who started playing at banjo at the age of nine will receive the Pearl and FloydFranks Scholarship special Dottie Rambo Award when he attends college.
He began his love of music when his grandfather, John Arb, shared with him an older Ode banjo.
Within a couple of years, he was sitting in the audience at the Wink Theatre in Dalton, Ga. at a concert featuring million selling banjo stylist Raymond Fairchild and it was then and there, Arb was hooked for sure.
“It was depth of his originality on the instrument,” he said. “I like the twang and clarity of his notes. That’s why I like him so much.”
Arb soon began devouring the Fairchild catalog playing all of his most noted tunes and eventually began performing on stage as a guest with the musician he idolized.
Some of his favorite tunes include Rueben, Whoa Mule, and Great Speckled Bird.
In the process of his learning, he expanded his talents to guitar, both bluegrass and classical styles, and the piano.
Since 2003, he also added some other musicians to his list of stylist to aspire to Don Reno, Earl Scruggs, and Jens Kruger and even songwriter and vocalist Dottie Rambo.
How did Dottie Rambo become part of banjo players list of favorite performers, it began as what was to be a brief appearance with Randall Franks as the feature youth for Share America Foundation’s kick off concert in April 2007.
When Dottie met Garrett backstage, she asked him if he thought she could play with her on one of her songs.
“She is the sweetest woman you could meet,” he said. “I never heard the song before but they had a tape and I listened to it. It wasn’t very complicated.”
Randall and Garrett joined her on stage for that song and then:
“I took a couple breaks then instead of going off stage she kept me up there for rest of show — one hour and 30 minutes,” he said.
Meeting her for the first time that night, Garrett said he did not realize what a big music legend Dottie is and what a big star she is around the world.
“I never imagined getting to do something like that — playing with someone that is such a legend,” he said. “She has really written some authentically inspired songs. She has a tremendous gift. Her music serves as a good minister to me.
“It was so kind of Dottie to encourage me in the way she did as well as ask the audience for support of my future ministry,” he said.
Her request started a scholarship initially valued at $710, according to Franks, Share America Foundation president.
A student at Northwest High School in Tunnel Hill, Ga. he said he wants to attend Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. to study composing, directing and church ministry.
“I know when the time comes that I begin college the Dottie Rambo Award from the Share America Foundation will be a great help,” he said. “Music is something that is really fun. I think music to me — it’s just a gift from God and very worth pursing. It doesn’t matter to what level you advance there is always something you can do to improve.”