Ensemble creates scholarship in memory of its co-founder

The Philmore Ensemble, created in 2004 by Temple graduates, is fundraising for a scholarship.

After losing one of its founders to cancer in August 2014, The Philmore Ensemble began planning a memorial scholarship in his honor for Temple  music students.

Amanda Heckman, co-founder of the music ensemble started by Temple graduates, said she fondly remembers the first time she met Large, when they shared an office during their first week of graduate school.

“We were both teaching assistants, and I found out he played guitar,” said Heckman, who has played flute since fourth grade. “We sat down in the office and started playing our instruments and realized we really liked playing together – that’s what really started it.”

After receiving her master’s degree in music performance and music history in 2006, Heckman moved to Baltimore, while Large was still actively playing guitar in Philadelphia.

“At that point we both just said, ‘Let’s make this an ensemble and play together more, there’s so much great music we can find,’” Heckman said.

The duo decided to morph the names of where they lived, using “phil” from Philadelphia and “more” from Baltimore to create the name “Philmore Ensemble.”

“We were actively playing until Duane passed away,” Heckman said. “We did have a gig in the fall, and we’re all grieving, because it’s hard to play without him.”

“He was the life force of the group – he was an extrovert and knew so many people, knew how to make contacts, and it’s such a big hole without him,” she added.

The rest of the group has decided to continue to play in Large’s honor.

“We’re sort of re-grouping, and we do enjoy the combination of what’s left with the flute, violin and cello,” Heckman said.

The group plans to play in a tribute concert for Large in late May, which will double as a benefit concert to raise money for the group’s scholarship.

After Large’s death, his Facebook page turned into a tribute page and a way for loved ones to keep his memory alive.

“Duane’s sister posted on the tribute group asking if anyone would be interested in starting a memorial scholarship for Duane’s legacy,” Heckman said. “Emily Loscalzo, a close friend of Duane’s, offered to do it, and she approached Temple about creating one for the school.”

Loscalzo is a psychologist at Thomas Jefferson University. Loscalzo met Large nearly 15 years ago when they were both teaching music at a summer camp in Montgomery County.

After Large’s death, Powers approached Loscalzo about creating a scholarship. They reached out to Tara Webb Duey, the director of development for the arts at Temple, who informed them that they would need to raise $50,000 for the scholarship on their own.

Upon hearing this, Loscalzo and Powers began planning a benefit concert for May 30. The concert will be held at the Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia and will include music by the Philmore Ensemble. The duo plans to continue holding fundraisers until they reach their goal and have enough money to start the scholarship.

“Because of at Duane’s history at Temple, his relationship with Philmore members, who are also Temple graduates, and the university’s outstanding music program, Temple became the obvious choice to start a scholarship fund,” Loscalzo said.

“I felt very powerless during his illness and after his passing, and I wanted to do something active that would perpetuate his memory,” Loscalzo added. “Once we get the scholarship up and running, it will be a source of funding that Temple will always have available to aid a student in need that demonstrates Duane’s passion and skill for musical endeavors.”

Chelsey Hamilton can be reached at chelsey.hamilton@temple.edu.

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