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May 2, 2001

Afman Wins Unusual Scholarship

A Fremont native is the first winner of an unusual new scholarship at Calvin College. Melanie Afman, a junior at Calvin, is the 2001 recipient of the Kuipers Family Scholarship for the Calvin College Band.

What makes the scholarship unusual is that the Kuipers family, Lawrence and Nancy, established the award for non-music majors who are part of the Calvin Band. Equally unusual is that the scholarship, worth $1,500 for 2001-2002, has no application process. The officers of the Calvin Band nominate candidates and the entire band then votes on the annual winner.

All four of the Kuipers' children played in the Calvin Band as non-music majors and benefitted greatly from the experience. Lawrence and Nancy Kuipers decided they wanted to set up a scholarship that would allow others to enjoy the same experiences as their children. In Afman they have a good first recipient.

"I joined the Calvin Band during second semester of my freshman year," she says, "so everyone else already knew each other. It was a little intimidating." But Afman received a warm welcome and since then she has dedicated herself to making other Band members feel included and welcome. "I think my main contribution to the band is enthusiasm," says Afman, who plays the clarinet.

Calvin Band Director Derald DeYoung agrees. "The students chose Melanie for good reason," he says. "She is very positive, upbeat and supportive of everyone in the group. She leads by example and attitude."

Afman was surprised and honored to be the first recipient of the new scholarship. "Actually I was totally shocked," she says, "and humbled. It's a very nice compliment."

A nursing major Afman says participating in the Calvin band gives her a welcome change of pace from her studies and a way to express herself. "I love that we're not all music majors," she says, "and yet we're still able to work together and make beautiful music." Afman says one of the highlights of being in Calvin Band is the "quiet time" devotion they have every Monday.

Afman began playing the clarinet in band in fifth grade and continued doing so through her years at Western Michigan Christian High School in Muskegon. Although her nursing studies after graduation from Calvin may leave little room for the clarinet, Afman hopes to continue using her musical talent by playing at Second CRC in Fremont, her home church, and wherever else she's asked.

--with reporting by media relations writer Abe Huyser-Honig (class of 2004)

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Contact Phil de Haan
616-957-6475 (v)
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