The Josh Dalton Memorial Scholarship was conceived in 2016, during the 100th anniversary of Josh Dalton’s birth. After months of careful review, the Scholarship has now grown legs and is available to a worthy vocal or instrumental musician for the 2017-2018 school year.

The Scholarship has been designed to kick-start the musical journey of a talented individual, who would otherwise not be able to afford private lessons.

Who was Josh Dalton?

On October 28, 1916, Josh Dalton was born in Kidder, KY. He would move with his family to Cain’s Store, KY, where he would explore music with his brothers and sisters. Although he would receive only a third-grade education, Dalton would learn to play guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica by ear. Along with his brothers, he would play regularly at barn dances in the Wayne County and Pulaski County areas.

During World War II, he was stationed in Hawaii and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor. Prior to the attack, he made a banjo out of scraps of junk and entertained the troops in the evenings. Known for his keen wit, Dalton would make up songs on the spot and would recount whatever was going on around the base.

After the war, Dalton moved to Illinois and became a farmer. His love for music never faded, and he played his guitar at church and at home for his own enjoyment. Anyone who ever heard him play and sing, still tell of his natural musical talent and potential as a singer/songwriter.

If only he had received training.

If only he had the resources to learn musical theory, vocal technique, as well as access to lessons in guitar and other musical instruments.

His life would have been forever changed. Although he loved farming, he had music coursing through his veins. He would have enjoyed a more fulfilling life experience derived from his music.

In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of his birth, McNeil Music Center is pleased to name a scholarship fund in his memory. He is the grandfather of Maria McNeil, CEO and Artistic Directory of MMC. Although she never met her grandfather, she is proud to offer this scholarship, that will enable a worthy participant the opportunity to take private lessons, study theory, and purse another instrument or songwriting over the course of nine months.

The best way to commemorate Josh Dalton is to remove one “What If” from someone’s life.



Please mail in one packet, all the above to: Maria McNeil, McNeil Music Center, 400 East Mt Vernon Street, Somerset, KY 42501 by May 1st 2018.