Martin Scholarship to Aid Music Students
Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive (left) signs a scholarship document with Dr. Joan Martin Bloomer (center) and her husband, Dr. Jeff Bloomer, creating the Martha Louise Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund for BC church music students.

Martin Scholarship to Aid Music Students

By Chris Shoemaker | September 14, 2017 | RSS

Bluefield College students with a passion for church music now have access to more scholarship assistance, thanks to the creation of the Martha Louise Martin Memorial Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship was established to honor Martha Louise Martin, who served Eastland Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, as a pianist for 20 years from 1957 to 1977 and organist for 13 years from 1977 to 1990. Miss Martin was also a public school teacher and librarian. The scholarship in her name was created by her sisters Dr. Mary Ruth Martin of Nashville and Dr. Joan Martin Bloomer and her husband, Jeff, of Richmond, Virginia.

“Miss Martin was a special lady and a devout Christian who served the Lord with the music talent He so graciously bestowed on her,” said BC’s Chris Catron, director of development. “This scholarship is a fitting tribute to her service and will preserve her legacy for many years to come through future church musicians.”

In her role as church pianist and later organist at Eastland Baptist Church, Miss Martin provided accompaniment for numerous choirs, playing both classical and religious music for many services, and faithfully supported other musicians in the church music program. She also developed and led a hand bell choir for 11 years and taught Sunday school classes for nearly 30 years.

Outside of her music ministry, Miss Martin was a public school teacher. With a bachelor’s degree in history from Vanderbilt University and a master’s degree in history from the University of Tennessee, she taught World History at her alma mater, East Nashville Senior High School. To enhance her students’ learning, she traveled worldwide to explore the places about which she taught. Following her tenure as a teacher, she earned a master’s degree in library science from Vanderbilt and became a librarian for an elementary school where she worked until her retirement.

“She was committed to the best possible practices to enhance the reading skills of all her students,” said Catron. “She wanted them to learn to love reading as much as she did.”

Already at a level of $20,000 through the generosity of the Martin and Bloomer families, the Martha Louise Martin Memorial Endowed Scholarship will provide a $1,000 award each year to a Bluefield College student planning a career in church music. Recipients of the scholarship are to be full-time students who are “dedicated Christ-followers, members of a Baptist church, and avid participants in a church music program.”

Candidates must also be “talented instrumentalists” as well as “above-average achievers” in their studies, including high school. In addition, they must be individuals involved in community activities, engaged in missions, and committed to spreading the Gospel through their future employment.

Designed to maximize scholarship awards to students and provide financial aid for perpetuity, the Martin Scholarship is an endowed scholarship, which means it and the tribute to Martha Louise Martin will last forever.

“With endowed scholarships, the seed gifts are invested, and earnings from that principal are made available as scholarships,” said BC’s Ruth Blankenship, vice president for advancement. “The original seed or principal amount remains indefinitely, and annual scholarship gifts are given as a tribute to Miss Martin forever.”

For more information about the Martin Scholarship, visit the “Grants and Scholarships” section at or contact the BC Financial Aid Office by email at or by phone at 276-326-4215.

Media Contact

Chris Shoemaker, Assistant Professor of Communication