"A Life That Inspired a Scholarship"
Shirley Martin was taken from this world abruptly and unexpected, but her caring nature and love for music lives on through a scholarship for young songwriters. On the surface, Shirley's life may have appeared typical of countless rural mid-western women living in central Indiana. She was a committed wife, loving mother, a friend to many and deeply committed to her Christian Faith. The type of person you could literally count on in times of need. While it is true she was all of these wonderful things, Shirley was also something more. Shirley's something more was that of having a unique ability to express her wit, life experiences and sense of humor in song. Wonderfully simple songs that made you laugh, reminisce and sometimes cry.
Shirley and her husband Harold would travel throughout mid- north Indiana singing her original songs as well as other tunes she had learned from church, radio and beloved bluegrass jam sessions. Shirley loved bluegrass music and had been known to say things like, "why don't you play that like God intended, bluegrass style". One of her tunes that left folks reeling was a tune called "Midol Moment and PMS Attack". It was the kind of tune that every woman in the audience had lived and every man had endured. Relatable and real, just like Shirley.
Shirley's love for singing and writing extended to that of continuous improvement of her writing skills. It was that passion for improvement that led her to be one of the first members of the Songwriters Association of Mid-north Indiana (SAMI). Shirley took a leadership role in the organization that is dedicated to the education, development and support of area songwriters. One of things Shirley helped co-organize with SAMI co-founder Scott Greeson was a song writing camp for kids. The camp was to be held in northern Indiana and was sponsored by the Prairie Art Council. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, that camp was never held.
Following the months after Shirley's death, the late Janet Greeson re-discovered the syllabus for that camp. She and her husband Scott had wanted to approach SAMI about doing something in Shirley's memory. With the blessing of SAMI's general membership and the support of Shirley's family, the Shirley Martin Scholarship was created.
The Songwriters Association of Mid-north Indiana likes to think that every song considered by the scholarship committee echo's the memory of that very special person that was Shirley Martin. Her memory lives on through young lives and songs.