Musical standouts win Pillsbury Scholarship award

Rachel Stone, Channels Staff

Students demonstrating excellence in music have an opportunity to gain more than just an education at City College.

The Pillsbury Scholarship is aimed at two individuals, up to age 25, who surpass the limits of musical talent. E.S. Pillsbury created the scholarship in support of aspiring young musicians who need extra help paying for tuition. The scholarship is funded by the Santa Barbara Foundation, which offers numerous scholarships to students in the area.

Kyle Tefft and Richard Gonzales are two students in City College’s music department that validated these skills. The students were honored with this semester’s Pillsbury Scholarship and awarded with $1,500 each.

Kyle Tefft

The 25-year-old Kyle Tefft wasn’t always a music major at City College. When Tefft first began attending classes he was trying to figure out what interested him.

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to study,” Tefft said. “Then I started taking music classes and I started to see something I was good at.”

Tefft was raised in Carpentria Calif. and began playing the guitar for fun around age 16. He continues to play the guitar and additionally started playing the saxophone, which is now his primary focus.

The student’s first music class was fundamentals in music with Eric Heidner, a theory class for non-music majors.  He picked up a saxophone for the first time the next semester. Tefft displayed obvious talents with this instrument and was asked to join the Good Times Jazz Band.

“To see someone make such great progress in such a short time is nothing short of amazing,” Heidner said. “Nothing can make a music teacher happier than seeing their students become their peers on the stage.”

He now plays tenor saxophone in both the Good Times and Lunch Break jazz bands. This is City College’s top student jazz ensemble.

Hearing about the scholarship from his teachers, Tefft applied and shortly after was awarded. He plans on using the money to help pay for tuition and other expenses a student encounters.

Tefft plans on transferring to Northridge next year as an applied music major. He enjoys hanging out with his girlfriend and playing music in his free time.

Richard Gonzales

The 19-year-old Santa Barbara local, Richard Gonzales, has been playing the flute for eight years and continues to excel.

Playing wind instruments was something Gonzales always enjoyed doing. He mainly plays the flute but also plays piccolo and clarinet. He played in his orchestra at Dos Pueblos High School.

Gonzales didn’t know about the Pillsbury Scholarship until he was awarded with it.

“It was a big shock to me that came at a good time.” Gonzales said.

He plans on buying himself a new piccolo with his prize money. Gonzales eventually hopes to transfer to a university to get a Bachelors degree in flute performance. He hopes to one day become a professional flutist.

“My inspirations are Paul Hindemith and Howard Hanson— two amazing musicians,” Gonzales said.

On his free time he enjoys things like Minecraft, Harry Potter and biking.