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Winchester student receives Red Foley Memorial Music Award

Brenna MacMillan, a senior chemistry major from Winchester, received Berea College’s 2018 Red Foley Memorial Music Award.

MacMillan was raised in Winchester and graduated high school from her family’s homeschool in 2013.

Following graduation, MacMillan plans to move to Nashville to perform with her brother Theo MacMillan (past Red Foley recipient from 2016) and pursue her musical career.

This award, established in memory of Country Music Hall of Fame star Red Foley, is presented annually by the Berea College to a talented Berea College student in recognition of their musical contributions to the social life of the campus community.

The award assists the recipient in a professional music career if he or she so desires, and to promotes the kind of music associated with Red Foley’s career, such as folk, country, bluegrass, gospel and popular music.

“Although a chemistry major, Brenna has dedicated herself tirelessly to the music programs at Berea College,” a nominator wrote. “Her generosity of time has been as great as her enormous talent.

Apart from campus and college-related events, Brenna has used her musical talent for the benefit of the larger community.”

MacMillan uses her musical talent to not only perform for others but writes music “that sends a message of hope and love, in spite of the devastating experiences of those whose story she tells.”

From a young age, MacMillan has had strong musical talent beginning banjo lessons when she was 9 years old with Winchester resident Floyd Faulkner.

During her time at Berea, MacMillan has found herself serving as both a vocalist (lead singer) and an instrumentalist (banjo) for the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble.

During her three and a half years with the ensemble, she appeared at numerous campus functions, performances throughout the Appalachian region, and internationally in Denmark and Ireland.

She collaborated with various other musicians in the Berea College Concert Choir and the Black Music Ensemble.

In addition to this MacMillan has also shared her talents in a broader sense with the community by performing the National Anthem at several men’s and women’s home basketball games, playing at BC&T for the Berea College Bookstore Fundraiser, and providing entertainment for the “Meal on the Quad” convocation.

MacMillan has also performed on the radio broadcast of Red Barn LIVE in April 2017, opened for the band Roanoke during an October 2017 folk concert sponsored by the Berea College Radio (WBER) and the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center, and was nominated, as a part of the Berea College Bluegrass Ensemble, for the Best Bluegrass Band in the Lexington area at the Lexi Awards Jan. 28.

The Red Foley Memorial Music Award was established in 1970 by Ely. E. Siman, Jr., Foley’s long-time friend and manager, in Foley’s memory.