FB Pixel Skip to Main Content
The Perry Anderson Citizenship Award

The Perry Anderson Citizenship Award

Local Fundraising Efforts for the Music Department

As the Spring 2023 band concert began to wrap up, Dr. Brett Keating, director of bands, announced the induction of the annual Perry Anderson Citizenship Award. The award will be presented to a music department student who is a program steward and exemplifies the same dedication to good citizenship as Perry Anderson.

“[The award] is a neat way for us to honor Perry in a small way and to say thank you for everything he’s done for us,” said Dr. Keating.
Anderson picked his trumpet back up and joined Western’s symphonic band as a community member about seven years ago. He said playing live music with people was the missing piece in his life – a feeling you only know if you’ve done it. However, his contribution to the program goes much further than that.

A year ago, when Anderson saw the enthusiasm in the then newly-hired Dr. Brett Keating and the director of percussion, Dr. Ben Justice, he realized what the program was capable of. Anderson’s background as a business owner meant he had expertise in fundraising, so he decided to devote his time to the music department and raise some money.

“I recognized the talent and the energy that Bret and Ben brought to the department together, and I could see they had a great vision for the future,” said Anderson. “I thought with my skill set, I could help with fundraising, and I just offered to do it. It’s been very rewarding.”

As a business owner, Anderson has been a part of the Chamber of Commerce, he started an economic development council that was self-funded, and he’s been a part of many non-government organizations that relied on fundraising efforts. Since he already held so much love for the music department, he knew he could use his experience to help build the future Dr. Keating and Dr. Justice had in mind. Last year, with Anderson’s help, the trio raised over $100,000 in community donations.

“The community in the Gunnison Valley and the community at Western are intertwined; they’re a part of each other. You can’t support one without supporting the other,” said Anderson.

Community is at the core of the music department at Western. Whether it’s the community members playing in the band, coming to the concerts, or even giving their ultimate support by donating money, music is something everyone can enjoy and benefit from.

“As far as music goes, in many ways, we’re the central cultural establishment in the valley, so we have a duty to serve the community. Everybody’s welcome, and everybody can have an impact,” said Dr. Keating. “I hope donors, either new donors or continuing donors, are seeing the growth, change, and momentum in the department and realize that this is a winning proposition now.”

“As a business owner, when I gave money away, that came out of profit, and profit was dinner. So, when someone gives us money, I take very seriously that we take care of it and get the most out of it,” said Anderson. “This music department is so special for everyone involved, and I feel so proud to be a part of its future in whatever way I can.”

In the next four years, Anderson hopes to help the music department raise at least $5 million for student scholarships, equipment, and housing assistance. He knows it’s an ambitious goal, but he’s determined to give back to the department that’s given him a place to rekindle his love for music. As much as Anderson loves the music department, the Perry Anderson Citizenship Award is a testament to how much the music department loves him back.