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Music Scholarship Established at Howard College

BIG SPRING – The ‘Marie Louise Barnes Music Scholarship’ has been established at Howard College in honor of Marie Louise Barnes who taught piano lessons in Big Spring for over 50 years.  The scholarship was given to the Howard College Foundation by her son, Chester F. “Buddy” Barnes, II, and grandchildren, Jennifer Marie Edmiston and Jason H. Barnes, in remembrance of her love for music and her students.


“We are so proud to receive this scholarship donation in memory of Mrs. Barnes,” said Dr. Cheryl T. Sparks, Howard College President. “It is a privilege to be a part of her legacy as well as the future of so many music students that will be touched by her love of music.


Marie Louise Castille grew up in an upper-class family in Opelousas, Louisiana. She attended Sacred Heart Academy for two years and then transferred to Tulane University. She was chosen to be a pianist for the New Orleans Symphony for one year.


Marie married Chester Franklin Barnes, Sr., who was a geologist with Humble Oil & Gas and an independent geologist in Big Spring, in 1936 and moved to Taylor, Texas and then relocated to Big Spring, Texas in 1937.


Prior to her tragic death in 2001, Barnes stayed in contact with hundreds of her former students. She held her recitals each year at Howard College to showcase the achievements of her many students.


“I took piano lessons from Mrs. Barnes as a young girl. She was the perfect mix of strict and absolute sweetness,” stated a former student. “She would not put up with excuses for being unprepared due to a lack of practice but at the same time she would listen with interest about your day and your life. I understood that she really wanted me to enjoy playing the piano.”


The scholarship application can be found online at If students have already submitted their scholarship application for the 2019-2020 academic year, they can contact financial aid and ask to have their application considered for the new scholarship.


Students who have not yet submitted their scholarship application can still apply with an extended deadline of May 1, 2019.


Former students, friends or families wishing to contribute to the scholarship fund in memory or honor of Mrs. Barnes may contact Julie Bailey at or 432-264-5051 for further information.


For more information on Howard College contact Cindy Smith at or visit



Contributed Photo Attached: Dr. Cheryl T. Sparks, Howard College President pictured with Howard College Foundation President, Roy Worthy and local attorney, Mr. Mike Thomas.

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