Bluebird Foundation Announces 2018 Spring Grand Opportunities

For Immediate Release

Bluebird Foundation Announces 2018
Spring Grant Opportunities for Area High School Students

The Bluebird Foundation announced that the spring grant application process has begun. Applications are available at and are due April 6, 2018.

The $500 grants available to apply for are:

  • C.M. “Bud” Schultz Music Award (2)
  • Big Daddy’s-Jim Stellmaker Brass Award (2)
  • Rose Mary HarmeierHoene Dance Awards (2)
  • John D. Munsell Theater Award (1)
  • Bluebird Vocal Award (1)
  • Ray Wolffe Award (1)
  • NEW! Michael Baker Percussion Award (1)
  • NEW! Bob Schroeder Entrepreneur Award (1)
  • NEW! JCC Services Twin Ports Award. (1)

The Awards

C.M. “Bud” Schultz Music Award
Schultz attended University of Michigan, finishing his education and Masters upon graduation from UMD after the war. His first teaching job was in Richland WA, then to Stephen MN, before moving back to Duluth and being the band director at West Junior High School in Duluth until it closed.

Schultz spent his last years teaching at Ordean before retiring in 1987. He also taught at UWS, UMD and the College of St. Scholastica. Schultz directed the Community Schools band and the Union Band as well as his church choir. 

Bluebird Foundation President Tracy Lundeen credits Schultz for keeping him on track with his music and his life during junior high school. “Bud believed in me and was really one of the key people I can look back at in my life and say made a huge difference. When it came time to name a music award, there was no other name to consider in my opinion. I loved that man,” said Lundeen.

Big Daddy’s-Jim Stellmaker Brass Award
The award is sponsored by Dave Gonhue, owner of Big Daddy’s Burgers in Duluth’s Piedmont Heights. Gonhue studied trombone under the late Jim Stellmaker, performed in college and toured with United States Air Force Band before entering the restaurant business.Jim Stellmakergrew up in Minneapolis and graduated from Minneapolis West High School in 1951 and MacPhail College of Music in 1955. While attending college, Jim played in many jazz groups, created his own Big Band and played with many greats. He completed his graduate studies at UWS, UMD and The Eastman School of Music. He began his 35 year public school teaching career in Boyceville, Wisc

In 1967, Jim started his 23 years as Duluth Central High Schools band director. His concert bands and jazz ensembles received countless regional, state and national distinctions. He influenced the lives of thousands of young people as their teacher, role model, mentor and overall inspiration. Jim led by example, playing trombone in many groups, holding numerous offices and receiving national awards including 1987 NAJE Jazz Educator of the year, induction into MMEA Hall of Fame in 1995, the prestigous ASBDA Goldman Award in 2007. After retiring in 1990 he continued teaching, adjudicating and playing.

Rose Mary Harmeier Hoene Dance Award
Harmeier Hoene is the late mother of Bluebird Foundation founding Board Member Rose Hoene.  Rose Mary Harmeier Hoene studied dance at New York University and Colorado College under such great modern dancers as Hanya Holmes and Martha Graham. In her first teaching job at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, Hoene helped to design the UMD’s first dance studio at the new campus. She owned and operated her own dance studio and choreographed, performed, and provided performers and other support, for countless dance and theatrical productions for the Duluth Playhouse, Junior League Fundraisers, UMD, UWS, and Duluth East High School to name a few. She was also an active supporter and participant in the Duluth International Folk Festival for many years and volunteered countless hours sharing her love for dance with many area organizations. 

John D. Munsell Theater Award
The award is named after the late John D. Munsell who was the director of theater at UW Superior for over 25 years and directed over 70 theatrical productions including 25 musicals, and a touring theatre program that gave 400 performances in over 60 communities during a 10-year period. He performed in countless plays, commercials, and professional appearances.

Cathy Fank, the UWS theater faculty member hired to replace Munsell, said it was “daunting” to follow Munsell’s act. “He was such a dynamic, inspirational and well-respected acting and directing teacher, so I was stepping into big shoes,” she said, pointing out that a number of Munsell’s former students are now on the theater faculty at area colleges and active in the local theater scene.

The Ray Wolffe Award
How it came about: “We wanted to do something that would be geared more towards what some of us did in high school with our rock bands and songwriting. Most of this took place in basements, garages, community centers and dance halls around the region” said Tracy Lundeen, Bluebird Foundation President. “There is an enormous number of talented kids in the area that may not be involved in organized school programs that are doing great things in music” he added. This award is for them and named after an inspirational guy originally from Duluth

Ray Wolffe was born in Duluth and grew up in the Central hillside housing projects. He found his way into trouble with drugs but found his source for strength in his love for music.
His career has taken him from a top regional group in the 70’s in Duluth called M A Free Press (where his musical association with Michael Baker, Whitney Houston’s long time music director began) to his move to L.A. at the request of another native Duluthian, Phil Solem (The Rembrandts).
He’s music career took him to the Hollywood club scene with some of the soon to be biggest names in the industry like Van Halen, Quiet Riot Devo and many others. Then on to performing with the likes of Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge), Vinnie Vincent (Kiss) and Cyril Cianflone (Rascals) in a group called Rocker.

From there Ray took a long layoff from music and touring to raise his daughters and establish his business in motion picture lighting, B & M Lighting. B & M provides lighting for TV and movie sets. His wife (Noelle Collette), inspired him to start writing and singing again about ten years ago and once again music has brightened his life. He’s now singing in a great band called Little Faith that has recorded 3 CD’s the last one produced by long time friend and former band mate Michael Baker.

Bluebird Vocal Music Award
The Bluebird Vocal Music Scholarship is intended for current high school seniors who plan to pursue their interestsin music in college or some other vocal arts training beyond high school. The student does not need to plan to major music but must plan to do advanced study/training to keep the arts a part of their lives. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to one senior to use for his/her advanced training in the vocal arts

Michael Baker Percussion Award

Michael Baker, is a 1975 Duluth Central High School graduate. From his humble roots in Duluth Michael went on to become a drummer to some of pop’s biggest stars and was Whitney Houston’s music director for two decades.In the role of Music Director and Drummer for Whitney Houston for 18 years, Michael, has a long and distinguished resume playing, producing, arranging, has multi-platinum productions and is a world-renowned drummer.  He has performed with some of the world’s top recording artists, Annie Lennox on her “Nostalgia” video’s and live performances, which included the 2015 Grammy awards, featuring  Annie Lennox and Hozier performing “Take Me to Church” and “I’ve Got A Spell On You”.

Over the years Michael has recorded with or performed with the following artists; Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Missy Elliott, Sting, Andy Summers, Christina Aguilera, James Taylor, Elton John, Shaggy, Usher, Wyclef, Ashanti, Gerald Albright, Mary J., Blige, Celine Dion, Ricky Martin, Brandy, Duncan Sheik, Candy Dulfer, Bruce Hornsby, Aaliyah, Luther Vandross, Ray Charles, Ben Vereen, Gregory Hines, as well as Italian superstars; Pino Daniele, Mario Biondi, Giorgia, Zuccaro and Jazz artists such as Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Branford Marsalis, The Zawinul Syndicate, Wayne Shorter, Jimmy Smith, Kenny Burrell, Kirk Whalum, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Childs, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Lyle, Dianne Reeves, Clark Terry, The Ellington Orchestra and many others.

It is with great pride we introduce this new Bluebird Grant to honor of one of Duluth’s most accomplished native sons and one of the world’s premier drummers, Michael Baker

Bob Schroeder Entrepreneur Award

Behind almost every great performing artist there are entrepreneurs that are agents, attorneys, technicians, engineers, producers, marketers, etc.

Duluth native Bob Schroeder started in the music business in 1968 playing organ with the group “Only the Young “, which later became SOUND INC. SOUND INC still holds the record for the biggest selling local single music recording of all time, holding number one on the regional radio charts for nearly 10 weeks.

Amidst all this, Bob founded Show Pro, a Duluth based booking agency, production & sound company working with a number of top regional acts throughout the upper Midwest and Canada. Schroeder eventually sold the company to Bluebird President Tracy Lundeen.

Bob went on to the University of Minnesota Law School.  He continued to  work in the music industry  with names like Neil Young, Grass Roots, REO Speedwagon, Rolling Stones, Rush, Billy, Joel, Joe Cocker, Charlie Daniels, Chicago, Police,Yes, ELO, Aerosmith, Journey, Dianna Ross,  Prince, the Jets, The Time,  and many others in various capacities from attorney to production manager for video & stadium events , to rigger, to promoter, to advance man.

In 1984 Bob joined WSI (Warehousing Specialists, LLC), and today is CEO which has grown into one of the largest privately held logistics companies in the U.S.  WSI is a nationwide 15 million square foot distribution network with a global logistics reach.  WSI provides logistics and supply chain services to a wide range of industries. From the steel for an NFL stadium, to the nation’s largest assembler of the enormously popular game Trivial Pursuit, to something as simple as a box of facial tissue, Bob and WSI have been able to take care of their customer.

The Bob Schroeder Entrepreneur Award is for that special “behind the scenes person” who has aspirations of one day being able to “Take Care of the Customer”.

Spring grants will be awarded on Sunday, April 29th at the Black Woods Conference Center in Proctor at 2PM.

The Bluebird Foundation is a 501 C (3) whose mission statement is “To be an advocate for area youth in the performing arts and to create awareness of the power of the arts to enhance self-esteem, to increase understanding of others, and to improve academic performance.” 

To date the foundation has awarded over $20,000 to area high school aged kids in the performing arts.