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Plymale wins Gallaher competition, scholarship

Hunter Plymale, a junior music education major from Kimper, won the 32nd annual A. Frank and Bethel C. Gallaher Memorial Music Performance Competition at Morehead State University, earning a scholarship. 

Plymale plays the saxophone and performs with groups including the MSU Symphony Band, MSU Jazz Band, the Lockegee Sax Quartet and MORESAX. 

 “Hunter is one of the most ambitious and dedicated students I have worked with. He practices frequently and has grown tremendously as a musician and performer. As a mentor to many younger music students (and perhaps some older ones as well) he truly leads by example,” said Nathan Mensink, visiting assistant professor of music. “Despite being busy, Hunter still finds the time to hunker down in a practice room and hone his skills. I am thrilled to have him in the studio and am extremely proud of the work he has done both in preparation for the Gallaher competition and for his development as a performer. I can hardly wait to see where his path takes him.” 

The award, presented each spring, includes a $2,000 scholarship and the honor of performing at the Caudill College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Academic Honors and Awards Convocation. 

The Gallaher competition, endowed in 1987, was named for the late Ashland businessman A. Frank Gallaher and his wife, Bethel, who were the parents of the late Dr. Christopher Gallaher, former chair of MSU’s Department of Music. 

All full-time junior music majors with at least a 2.75 grade point average may compete for the Gallaher Scholarship. To participate, a student must perform from memory a work that is eight to 10 minutes in length. Preliminary auditions are held in December with the final competition in April. 

Plymale will be performing in a joint recital with fellow saxophonist Caleb Gibson Wednesday, May 1, at 7:30 p.m. in Duncan Recital Hall in the Baird Music Building. The recital is free and open to the public. 

Contributions to the A. Frank and Bethel C. Gallaher Memorial Music Performance Competition may be made through the MSU Foundation Inc., by calling 606-783-2033 or visiting

Additional information about music programs is available by calling the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance at 606-783-2473 or visiting