Bill Dwyer Memorial Scholarship

My father, Bill Dwyer, passed away in 1999 at the age of 61. Among the many things he left me with were the love of music, and strong sense of social justice, and the tools to acquit myself relatively well in a verbal joust (helpful in law school). When I moved back to the Vancouver Island in 2004 I, along with my family, put a lot of effort into establishing a perpetual scholarship called the Bill Dwyer Memorial. The scholarship fund is registered and administered through the Parksville-Qualicum Community Foundation, which gives it both charitable status and the benefit of professional financial management.

Once we had the framework in place for the scholarship the next step was to raise the funds necessary to support an annual disbursement. We achieved this through the generosity of family friends and a series of fundraising events called the “Phil Dwyer & Friends” concerts, which took place in Qualicum Beach from 2005-2009. The willingness of my friends and colleagues in the musical community to contribute was very touching, and between us we managed to not only raise enough money to support the annual scholarship, but we raised the bar in Qualicum for the level of musical performance. Some of Canada’s top names in jazz, folk and classical music took part over the years and the legacy of those shows lives on today. I couldn’t possibly name everyone who took part but you (and the people who attended) know who you are!

Our first scholarship recipient was trumpeter Jon Challoner. Jon was quite obviously an extraordinary talent, and an extremely hard worker. We were pleased to be able to support his post-secondary goals; little did we know that he would go on to get a Masters Degree from Julliard. Not only that, he is one of the top young brass players in North America and currently enjoys a successful career performing and teaching in New York City. Clarinetist Liam Hockley was a subsequent scholarship recipient who has carved out a very promising performing career, specializing in new music; Liam is now on his way to a Doctorate from the University of British Columbia. Two “Emmas”, Beaton, and Postl, have both gone on to interesting things as well.

Since 2005 we have had probably fifteen or so recipients. We are proud of them all and try to keep track of what they are up to. The process of awarding the scholaraships is now handled through Kwalikum Secondary School, with occasional limited input from the Dwyer family. The scholarship primarily recognizes students with strong interest and high achievements in the areas of music and civic engagement. This year the Bill Dwyer Scholarship was awarded to multi-instrumentalist Caleb Borsboom, who plans to attend Humber College in the fall. The Dwyer family wishes Caleb all the best for his future and looks forward to seeing what he accomplishes with his talent, enthusiasm, and work ethic. Congrats Caleb!

From time to time we hope to increase the scholarship award to keep pace with inflation. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to the Bill Dwyer Memorial Scholarship you can do so by contacting Brent Johnson.