Sam Betts receives Malama Robbins Scholarship Award

Posted:  Sunday, July 16, 2017 - 8:45am
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Sam Betts holds his “check” for $1,000, after receiving the Lincoln Arts Festival’s Annual Malama Robbins Scholarship Award. SUZI THAYER/Boothbay Register

2017 Boothbay Region High School graduate Sam Betts received the Lincoln Arts Festival’s Annual Malama Robbins Scholarship Award on July 13.

The award is presented each year there is a qualified recipient to a deserving senior who has made a significant contribution to the music program at BRHS. Established in 1984 by the Lincoln Arts Festival committee and the Reverend Dr. Wallace Woodsome Robbins, the award is intended to help the recipient pursue higher education, preferably in the music field.

Betts graduated in the top 10 in his class and will be attending Bowdoin College in the fall. He is the son of Brad and Danielle Betts of East Boothbay. Their other son, Ben, who graduated from BRHS in 2014, was also one of the top 10 and the recipient of the Malama Robbins scholarship award that year.

A memo from Lincoln Arts representatives stated, Betts's “resumé in all things artistic is very impressive.” The reasons listed for the honor were:

  • Betts was involved in designing an Adirondack-style, barrel-stave chair for Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
  • He is an integral part of the “family band.” (Brad and Ben are also musicians.)
  • He completed his third year on the board of directors of the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor.
  • During his time on the Opera House board, he has managed, marketed and emceed the community open mic series.

The award is provided by a fund created in memory of Malama Robbins, a renowned choral director and teacher who, with Capt. Marion Dash, helped found the Lincoln Arts Festival in 1982. Robbins, from Sarasota, Florida and Southport, was the first artistic director of the organization’s summer concert series and the conductor of the Lincoln Festival Chorus.

Robbins was an accomplished pianist at an early age, studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and performed at the Vatican, at the Pope’s invitation. The fund was established in 1997, when Robbins died, to continue her vision for supporting young musicians.

Betts, too, is an accomplished pianist. His first performance was on a stage when he was in the second grade. Since then, he has performed with his father and brother many times over the years. His mother, Danielle, said his true calling lies in composing. “His passion is composing music on the piano.He self-studies music theory and tests its boundaries through composition.” 

The award was presented by Lincoln Arts Festival President Jody Lunt and the LAF board of directors at the Congregational Church. Chairman of the Nominating Committee Nancy Nash presented Betts with a large, red, handwritten mock check made out to Bowdoin College, for $1,000.