Committed to Brilliance
MUSIC IS A GIFT
Ron Shuff '65JC Donates Instruments
Native Alabamian, musician, composer and music store-owner Ron Shuff, MMI class of 1965JC, delivered an in-kind gift to Brilliance in the Basics this January. From Shuff’s Music & Piano Showroom in Franklin, Tennessee came a Kawai baby grand as well as guitars, a drum set, PA speaker, cymbals and amps for the performing arts program. The piano, given in memory of his MMI classmate David Robinson, now resides at the President’s Quarters.
“I am delighted that the piano is in the president’s home and our current president plays piano as well. I believe that music is for everybody. It enriches people’s lives,” says Shuff of his donation. “Kids are motivated to play electrical instruments right now. If the cadets have the right instruments available, they can put together their own bands.”
These quality instruments are actually the second in-kind gift from Shuff to MMI, as he previously donated the piano and organ now used in our Chapel.
Recalling his time in Marion, Shuff describes his close friend Robinson: “David was such a great athlete and good student, but he also liked music, and we had that in common. We ended up putting together a barber shop quartet. We sang at the Marion churches, and it was just fun. David was an all-around wonderful person, and his father, Colonel Paul Robinson, was instrumental in convincing me to stay at MMI after I didn’t qualify medically for West Point.”
His music studies were also formed in Marion. “I was probably one of the first cadets to take classes at Judson—voice and piano. I also ended up being director of music at Siloam Baptist Church and sang in all of the churches there at sometime or another.” Music gigs would later help pay his way through college.
During his tour in Vietnam, on a particularly bad day, Shuff made the decision to make music his career, no matter what. After completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama, he landed in Atlanta and earned a master’s—“still doing anything and everything music." While working on his dissertation in commercial music, he moved with his family to Nashville in order to immerse himself in the music industry. There, he juggled teaching, composing, studio and production work and opened his Franklin retail store, which recently celebrated 33 years in business.
Shuff is proud to note that all of his nine grandchildren are musical in some way. “We also have some really intense family football, basketball, kickball and soccer games,” he says.
When asked why it’s important to help his alma mater, he replies: “I think MMI gave me the discipline, leadership and structure that helped me not only in the Army but in life in general—that foundation really helped me when my wife Alice died and I was left with three young kids and a business to run. Marion still has a special place in my heart—that’s where I met Alice, at Judson.”
“I wanted to participate in this Capital Campaign, and donating merchandise was the best way I could give right now. MMI is a great Institution that needs to be preserved and deserves our support,” he concludes.
MMI STAFFER PIERCE CONTINUES PLEDGES
“To have the privilege to meet and know and be a part of these young people’s lives is an opportunity that not everyone gets,” says Mr. Eddie Pierce, a member of the MMI Buildings & Grounds staff. Pierce participated in the 2011 Capital Campaign employee drive by giving monthly and in January 2012 upped his annual pledge to Brilliance in the Basics.
“When you give to MMI it makes you a part of the softball team, the basketball team, the White Knights, the Color Guard…any function of the school. When you see a cadet get commissioned, your financial support makes you part of that ceremony. I am thankful that I now have the capacity to give, and if we all give collectively, we can make a big difference at MMI,” Pierce concludes.