JASPER LOUIS THURMAN
Inspired by the legacy left by Jasper Louis Thurman, the Master Music Scholarship is dedicated to preserving the Black American music of Jazz & Gospel, within its originating culture.
Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, on March 23, 1942, Louis was the only child of Jasper Louis Thurman and Etta McFarland-Thurman. He spent his early years “down south”, until his family moved to Philadelphia when he was five years old. For Black children, there were few if any, equitable educational opportunities. Moving North meant Louis could receive an education in “good” schools.
Once in Philadelphia, Louis' family became active members of Ebenezer Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He attended the Ebenezer Day School, forging friendships that lasted over 50 years. Like many Black parents from that era, Louis’ parents valued education and insisted Louis study hard and also learn to play the piano. As a result, Louis did well in school and became an accomplished pianist. He won numerous awards and accolades.
Louis loved both Gospel and Jazz. While Louis was in the U.S. Airforce, he joined the Jazz Band. Upon returning, he formed multiple gospel quartets, played for church functions, taught his five children to sing and play and encouraged his grand-daughter, Kelsi Bolden to become the accomplished vibraphone player she is today. Louis believed music appreciation is an integral part of personal development.
In honor of his love for Black American music, we present the Master Music Scholarship.