CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,
Oct. 10, 2003 – Sheryl Crow, a Kennett, Mo., native turned songwriter, guitarist and celebrity vocalist, will speak at the Kennett Area Higher Education Center’s 2003 Banquet Celebration Dec. 1.
Crow will again return to Southeast Missouri to demonstrate her support for higher education.
“She is a big supporter of the Center (KAHEC) and education in general,” said Marsha Blanchard, director of KAHEC. “We are really excited about her coming. We are looking forward to a really nice evening.”
Blanchard said Crow will discuss her thoughts on education and the access to higher education that KAHEC has afforded residents of her hometown.
Bernice Crow of Kennett, Mo., mother of Sheryl Crow, said, “She was very pleased to be asked because she is enthusiastic about the campus here in Kennett. She thinks it is so important to the community.”
The banquet, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Kennett American Legion Building, is designed to raise funds to support the KAHEC Endowment Scholarship Fund and to finance the cost of furnishings in the new addition at the Kennett Center. KAHEC officials are expecting turnout to exceed 400.
“We are just finishing four new classrooms, and we need some furnishings in the science lab and furniture in the new traditional classroom,” Blanchard said.
At the start of the fall semester, the Kennett National Bank Student Center, interactive television classroom and a computer classroom were opened at KAHEC. Plans call for a new science lab and a traditional classroom to open at the start of the spring 2004 semester.
Blanchard said KAHEC has needed additional space as enrollment continues to grow. In fall 2000, KAHEC had 170 enrollments. That number grew to 506 in fall 2001 and to 600 in spring 2002. Enrollments then jumped to 731 in fall 2002 and to 922 enrollments this fall.
In addition to these enrollments, the center offers a number of non-credit courses that bring many more people into the building, Blanchard said. Computer courses; one-day seminars; and GED, Asset and C-BASE testing also bring many people through the doors of KAHEC, she added.
The theme of this year’s dinner is “Season for Giving,” and decorations will center around the upcoming holiday theme. Traveling Whisk of Kennett will cater the banquet dinner. Banquet sponsors are Baker Implement Co.; Robertson, Privett, Scherer and Collins; Peach Orchid Gin; First National Bank; Southern Bootheel Training Consortium; Emerson Motors; the Daily Dunklin Democrat; and Maco Construction.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by calling (573) 888-0513 or by stopping by KAHEC at 1230 First Street in Kennett. Checks should be made payable to the Southeast Missouri University Foundation or the Kennett Area Higher Education Center.
Crow has been a strong supporter of higher education in Southeast Missouri. She performed a benefit concert in Cape Girardeau and received an honorary doctoral degree from Southeast Missouri State University in December 2001. She also performed a benefit concert on campus in December 2000.
Dr. Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, said that Crow’s commitment to her home region and to education for residents throughout the Heartland cannot be overstated.
“Sheryl’s generosity and talent are testimony to her strong hometown roots in Kennett and her understanding of the need to help other young people in this region pursue their dreams,” Dobbins said. “I would like to extend our thanks to Sheryl for agreeing to come back to speak at the banquet celebration in Kennett. Our students, both in Kennett and throughout the region, are the true beneficiaries of her generosity.”
Proceeds from Crow’s 2001 concert at Southeast were divided equally to support endowed scholarships for students enrolled in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Southeast Missouri State University and at the Kennett Area Higher Education Center. Proceeds from the Sheryl Crow Benefit Concert held in Cape Girardeau in December 2000 were distributed to the Kennett Area Higher Education Center Scholarship endowment and created the Sheryl Crow School of Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship endowment to benefit students on the Cape Girardeau campus. To date, 36 students have benefited from these scholarships.
Crow previously has performed benefit concerts in Kennett. In September 1999, Crow performed a benefit concert at the American Legion Hall, with proceeds going to the Kennett #39 Education Foundation Sheryl Crow Scholarship. Those dollars provided scholarships for students attending the Kennett Area Higher Education Center and for the Kennett #39 Education Foundation Sheryl Crow Scholarship. In 1997, she performed a concert at the high school football stadium, with those proceeds also benefiting the Kennett #39 Education Foundation Sheryl Crow Scholarship and for scholarships for two other local civic organizations.
Crow is the daughter of Wendell and Bernice Crow of Kennett. She learned to play the piano by age six and wrote her first song at age 13. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia, with majors in music composition, performance and education.
She first worked as an elementary school music teacher for children with special needs, and, at the age of 23, moved to Los Angeles, determined to be a professional musician, armed with a few thousand dollars in savings, a classical music degree and experience singing with a college band. Her savings were soon depleted, but she found work as a backup singer for such talents as Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson, earning respect and opportunities in the music world. During the 1980s, she continued to write songs, some of which were recorded by other famous musicians. Her own debut recording, “Tuesday Night Music Club,” released in 1993, displayed her gift of catchy lyrics and non-aggressive rock sound, and by 1995 had been certified as a 5x platinum LP. Crow had become a star.
Since that time, songs by Crow regularly have made the Top 10 lists, and she has received the top accolade in her profession, the Grammy Award, nine times, beginning in 1995 with Grammies for “Record of the Year,” “Best Pop Vocal Performance-Female” and “Best New Artist.” She also has won Grammies for “Best Rock Album” and “Best Rock Vocal Performance-Female” and has won the Gibson Guitar Award as the Best Acoustic Guitarist-Female (2000).
With another recording artist, Nanci Griffith, Crow has supported the work of the Campaign for a Landmine-Free World, touring Vietnamese and Cambodian rehabilitation clinics for 11 days, raising funds to curb the effects of landmines in the Third World and to provide rehabilitation services and artificial limbs for the victims of these explosive devices.
While continuing her rigorous touring schedule, Crow has been putting the finishing touches on her greatest-hits album, The Best of Sheryl Crow, to be released on Nov. 4. She also just completed a cameo role in the upcoming Cole Porter biopic, De-Lovely.