Asheville – On August 18th, 2022, the Rotary Club of Asheville sponsored an intimate concert experience to benefit the Tennent Scholarship Fund. Nashville Songwriters in the Round is the brainchild of renowned singer-songwriter Phillip Lammonds.
Meet the Songwriters
“Philip Lammonds is the creative genius behind the recruitment of the authentic and talented Songwriters’ performers,” according to the Songwriters in the Round website.One of the best in the business, he has a way of elevating life’s ordinary moments into soulful, poetic perfection, full of grit and authenticity with the turn of a phrase and the lift of a just-right melody. Phillip has penned tunes for or with artists like Darius Rucker, Lee Brice, Edwin McCain, Blake Shelton, Craig Morgan, Josh Turner, and Hootie and the Blowfish, among others. For this performance, Lammonds invited songwriters Barrett Baber, Channing Wilson, and Tiffany Goss.
Baber appeared on The Voice in 2015, finishing in 3rd place. The legendary songwriter, Bobby Pinson, saw something special in Barrett’s writing as well as his ability to deliver a song and wanted to find a way to work with him. Baber has had several songs recorded by Cody Johnson.
Channing’s songs have been recorded by artists like Tyler Farr, Luke Combs, Jason Eady, and more. He has shared bills with so many of his heroes, such as Billy Joe Shaver, Steve Earle, Robert Earl Keen, Tony Joe White, Chris Knight, and Dale Watson.
Goss’s songs have been recorded by artists like Brooks and Dunn, Brett Young, Clay Walker, Delta Rae, and Chris Janson. Her talents have brought her into the world of television with placements on shows like The Bachelor, Hart of Dixie, Rachel Ray, Martha Stewart, and Fox News.
While the show was phenomenal, the purpose of the event, fundraising by the Rotary Club of Asheville to provide scholarship opportunities to Asheville High School students, gives a chance for multiple students to go to college. 100% of the ticket price supports the Tennent Scholarship, a merit and need-based scholarship.
What is the Rotary Club?
Rotary Clubs are made up of local businesspeople and professionals who work together to solve community problems, provide humanitarian aid, and promote goodwill and peace. Rotary clubs exist all around the world, and Rotary International has over 1.2 million members. Their motto is “Service Above Self.”
The Rotary Club of Asheville does their good work through their foundation. The club’s 501(c3) foundation funded over 20 local and international projects for a combined total impact of nearly $175,000 between 2019 and 2021. The club administers the entire program for the Tennent Scholarship Fund, including applicant screening, recipient selection, and mentoring of graduates as they embark upon their college journey.
This Year’s Scholarship Recipients
At a recent ceremony, six local students received scholarships. These students, Porsha Carter, Zion Mosley, Isabella Bevans, Khalid Jean, Anahy Felipe De La Cruz, and Itzel Moreno-Angeles, will be heading to UNC, NC State, Elon University, Appalachian State, and other universities. In an interview with WLOS, one recipient, Porsha Carter, said, “It just means a lot to me as a first generation. I’m getting the financial support that I would need to attend a university and be able to pursue my dreams. ”
A Success Story
Ceesecret Allan always knew her path would be through a college degree, but she had no idea how that would happen. Allen had several major life setbacks as a youth. When she was in the 6th grade, her sister, who was in the 7th grade, had a skateboarding accident and went through a glass window. They didn’t realize that she was hurt at first. Allen’s sister had to be rushed to the hospital, coded three times, ended up on life support for several months, and then passed away. It was very difficult for Allen to deal with the death of her sister, who was her best friend.
At the age of 16, Allen had her first boyfriend. Several months later, she found herself pregnant. Despite these challenges, she was still determined to go to college, so she started applying for scholarships everywhere she could. She wrote an essay about her sister for the Tennent scholarship and was selected. While Allen received other scholarships, she stated that the Asheville Rotary Club Foundation was the only ones who stayed in touch with her after graduation, and she received individual grants from several private donors from the Foundation to help her pay for college.
Even with a young child, Allen worked and went to school full time, and in May of 2022 she graduated from Western Carolina University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She is now working for a firm where she interned during her studies and she enjoys her job.Allen has already started graduate school, pursuing her CPA and master’s degree. Because of her hard work and the help she got, she graduated with no college debt to repay.
“I always knew that college was going to be my pathway to a better life for myself and then my daughter,” said Allen. “I remember being so shocked, but so grateful and happy that people read my essays and chose to support and believe in me.”
Allen tries to attend the fundraiser every year to support the Rotary Club of Asheville and the latest recipients of the scholarships.
Watch for the Songwriters event next year for a great evening of food, fun, and great music and stories. For more information on future events or how to get involved, go to http://www.rotaryasheville.org. You could change a life.