Scott Stegall ’20: Born to Make Music

Scott Stegall Playing the Fiddle On-Stage

Scott Stegall '20 on the the fiddle.

Often on Sunday nights, you might find Scott Stegall ’20 gigging at the Old Town Public House in Cornelius, just a few miles from campus. You likely would see the history major playing bluegrass, old-time or country music on the fiddle, banjo or guitar or maybe the mandolin or bass.

Stegall ’20 came by his interests and Davidson pursuits quite naturally. His mother is a high school U.S. History teacher, and family vacations often included trips to Colonial Williamsburg, so his first major, history, did not come as a surprise. Stegall’s musical accomplishments? Also not a surprise. His father sings and plays the harmonica, and two great-grandfathers were involved in music—one as an old-time fiddler and banjo player and the other as a driver for an old-time string band. Two cousins are prominent songwriters – one of whom, Karla Davis, was a finalist on Season 2 of the popular television show The Voice.

He decided to become a double major and add music to the list.

“I knew in high school that I wanted to major in history, and I ended up tacking on music as a second major,” he said. “Davidson is the campus I dreamed of. My mom and sisters went to Meredith College, which has huge oak trees, and it’s beautiful. Davidson reminds me a lot of that.”

Stegall enjoys taking a variety of classes and learning from impressive faculty, including Assistant Professor of History Rosemarie Stremlau and J. Estes Millner Professor of Music Bill Lawing. Stegall recently completed a year-long independent study with Lawing, focused on traditional music of the Carolina Piedmont.

“My top thing at Davidson has been collaboration with faculty and the interdisciplinary nature of the work I get to do,” he said. “I have been able to conduct research and learn outside of the classroom thanks to grants I have received, and I am thankful for these opportunities.”

“I interviewed and recorded musicians and dancers – 167 tracks from 10 counties in North and South Carolina,” said Stegall. “We held a showcase in March, when we invited six musicians to Davidson to feature the best tunes from their repertoires. The concert was sold out, and we had a square dance before the show.”

Through his research and coursework, Stegall is passionate about bringing artists to campus to show students that towns are so much more than the highways between them.

“Students talk about towns in terms of the exits they take off I-77,” he explained. “They are going to exit 25, or they are running up to exit 36. These are interesting towns with interesting people, and I enjoy learning more about them.”

Stegall’s specialty is where history and music intersect. His work has been supported by a Spike! Grant, two Abernethy grants and a Davidson Research Initiative grant. He is also a two-time recipient of the Joe Logan Arts and Culture Grant, making possible an internship at the North Carolina Arts Council last summer and this summer.

“My top thing at Davidson has been collaboration with faculty and the interdisciplinary nature of the work I get to do,” he said. “I have been able to conduct research and learn outside of the classroom thanks to grants I have received, and I am thankful for these opportunities.”

Following Davidson, Stegall, also an Army ROTC Cadet, will fulfill his service obligation. He is considering taking an educational delay to first earn a dual JD-MA in history. No matter where his path leads, he will be making music and learning about the artists who inspire him to play.

Published

  • June 17, 2019

Category

  • Arts & Creative Engagement