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GUSTO! showcased student talent, funds scholarships in Schwob School of Music

Cross-posted in partnership with Columbus State University

The Joyce & Henry Schwob School of Music celebrated its annual GUSTO! event with a sold-out crowd of 400 at the Bibb Mill Event Center on Saturday, Feb. 3. The annual event funds scholarships for Columbus State University’s music and music education students.

Interspersed among the evening’s dinner courses, guests enjoyed student-musician performances by students, faculty and alumni performing as soloists and as part of various combos, choirs and quartets. The program also featured the Schwob Singers, the 35-student choral ensemble under the direction of Dr. David Hahn, the Paul S. and Jean R. Amos Distinguished Chair in Music. Also performing was the Schwob Philharmonic, the 104-student orchestra under the direction of Professor Paul Hostettler, the Ethel Foley Distinguished Chair in Orchestral Activities. Both ensembles were among the four that recently represented the Schwob School of Music on the national and international touring circuit.

“GUSTO! celebrates and showcases our students’ talents and the incredible philanthropy that makes their studies — and their futures — possible,” said Scott Harris, the Barbara C. and Clifford J. Swift III Director of the Schwob School of Music, noting that this year’s event boasted GUSTO! largest attendance in history.

Currently, 18 Schwob School students benefit from scholarships funded by the annual event. Through it and other events during the year, donors graciously contribute more than $1 million toward endowed and annual music scholarships. 

Harris also noted that this year’s event placed particular emphasis on acknowledging and honoring some of the school’s extraordinary alumni. Featured alumni ranged from music educators and audio engineers to world-renowned musicians, singers and conductors.

Carrie Beth Wallace '09 (left) speaking with GUSTO!'s master of ceremonies, Dr. Jonathan Liss during the dinner program.

One Schwob School alumna in particular, Carrie Beth Wallace ’09, benefited from philanthropic support as a former student. She also has an appreciation for the power of music and the arts. As founder and editor-in-chief of The Columbusite, with a print and digital readership of 35,000 monthly readers, she covers the community’s arts and culture scene — and frequently champions the efforts and accomplishments of the school’s students and faculty.

“Funding music education and nurturing students’ artistic talents are crucial for fostering creativity, cognitive development and emotional well-being in our community,” said the one-time arts reporter for the Ledger-Enquirer. “Music education enhances critical thinking, discipline and teamwork — laying a foundation for success in various aspects of life.”

Wallace wears another hat in the Chattahoochee Valley — the city’s first-ever arts liaison to the mayor. Through both her work on behalf of The Columbusite and the Mayor’s Office, she is able to see how the incredible artistic talents found within the school contribute to the city’s cultural enrichment.

“Choosing to invest in arts education initiatives and the students they serve is one of the most important ways to ensure Columbus' quality of life continues to improve every year,” she said. “Investing in these areas not only empowers individuals to pursue their passions, but also enriches Columbus by fostering a vibrant and culturally aware community for generations to come.”

The Schwob Philharmonic, under the direction of conductor Enluis Montes Olivar.

The Fountain City reaps the benefits that investing in arts and culture — particularly in the Schwob School of Music. The dividends are easily witnessed in the area’s economic development, cultural enrichment, and an increased sense of community identity. In 2023, the economic impact of the arts in Georgia was more than $1.3 billion. As the second largest city in Georgia, Columbus plays an essential role in continuing to advance arts throughout the state. 

The school is grateful for the investment made by area businesses whose sponsorship investment made GUSTO! possible. Columbus Memory Center was the presenting event sponsor, and others included Aflac, the Pezold Family Foundation, Georgia Crown Distributing Co., W.C. Bradley Company, Columbus Speech & Hearing Center, The Columbusite, Aramark, Silvan Guitars, Spring Harbor at Green Island and the Uptown Life Group.

The school continues to host free concerts, recitals and other performances throughout the spring. Its student-musicians will return to the stage en force on Saturday, March 9 for the school’s annual Kaleidoscope Concert. Concertgoers will experience the passion of 250 talented music students in an exciting 70-minute, full spectrum musical performance ranging from classical and jazz and featuring large instrumental and vocal ensembles, chamber music, and individual performers.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the RiverCenter for the Performing Art’s Bill Heard Theatre. Tickets are available for purchase through the RiverCenter.


More than 250 students pursue music and music education degrees in the conservatory-style Joyce & Henry Schwob School of Music — founded in 1969 as the Department of Music and now one of four academic units that comprise Columbus State University’s College of the Arts. Students currently hail from 15 states and 20 countries and hone their talents under the mentorship of more than 35 faculty whose specialties include choral and voice, general and specific instruments, and music education and pedagogy. The school’s faculty tout industry accolades ranging from international music and teaching awards to Grammy nominations.

The school offers a diverse range of programs and specializations from classical music to jazz, composition to music education. Those offerings include traditional bachelor’s of music degrees, undergraduate minors, and certificates that include the artist diploma graduate certificate. An audition is part of the school’s application process.

With its facilities located on the university’s downtown RiverPark Campus and more than 300 student and faculty performances a year, the school is a hub of the vibrant arts culture for which Uptown Columbus and the entire city are known. Those facilities include three extraordinary concert venues, including the Bill Heard Theatre at the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, Legacy Hall (the site of the school’s spectacular Jordan Concert Organ), state-of-the-art classroom and recording studios, and a dedicated music library. As an all-Steinway school, Schwob and its students have access to a collection of 67 Steinway pianos — 24 grands and 43 uprights, including one Hamburg Steinway concert grand.

Through generous philanthropic support through GUSTO! and other events, and gifts from individuals and foundations, students benefit from a wide range of academic and need-based scholarships and stipends. Students also benefit from the caliber of the school’s faculty, with 11 holding named professorships made possible through philanthropic gifts and endowments.

Those interested in supporting the Schwob School can make an online gift or contribute toward its “Take a Seat” campaign by naming or dedicating a theatre seat in its Legacy Hall.


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