Lynne Church has long known about the Peabody Conservatory because of her mother, Elizabeth Rountree Church, Peab ’27 (Cert), a pianist who graduated from the school with a three-year teaching certificate in 1927. As a child, Church took piano lessons herself, though eventually, she says, “even my mother had to admit I had no talent and no real interest.”
Despite not initially taking to music, Church, who is now a second soprano with a senior rock chorus called Encore Creativity, still found a place at Peabody as an adult. She became an energy lawyer, including working as treasurer, chief auditor, and associate general counsel for Baltimore Gas and Electric Company from 1984 to 1995. During her time at BGE, Church served as the company’s representative on the Peabody Advisory Council, now called the Peabody Institute Advisory Board, for several years in the 1990s. She also knows Baltimore from her time at Goucher College, from which she graduated in 1966.
Because of all of this — her mother’s connection to Peabody, her own involvement with the advisory council, and her fondness for Baltimore — Church, who lives in Washington, D.C., has become a dedicated donor to the Conservatory. Her giving began in 1993 when she established a scholarship fund, the Elizabeth Rountree Church Memorial Scholarship, in honor of her mother. Then recently, Church made a five-year gift to support Peabody students during emergencies so they can continue to focus on their musical studies. “I believe that we have too much economic disparity in this country,” she says. “And education is one of the ways to ameliorate that.”
Church’s gift will be used to support students individually, as well as through LAUNCHPad, Peabody’s career development program. The first part, which Church calls the “Life Happens Fund,” supports students during extenuating situations that impact them financially. “It doesn’t make sense to have talented students enter the school through scholarships and other means, but then get derailed economically through life’s emergencies,” says Church. “So the first part of the gift is to help them stay in school.”
Then, through LAUNCHPad — an initiative that assists students with building career skills, preparing job applications, launching entrepreneurial ventures, and more — Church’s gift will be used to cover expenses such as competition and recital fees for students. These are experiences that are necessary for them to jumpstart their future careers.
Says Church, who “hung up her high heels” in 2006 to become a landscape designer, “A lot of people have helped me over the years, and I am fortunate now to be in a position to help others. There’s no better way than supporting the next generation of exciting musicians.”
Topics: Alumni, Faculty and Staff, Parents, Peabody Institute, Support Scholars