News Item

Nickles Establishes Scholarship at Lander

July 13, 2016

Joyce NicklesGreenwood music teacher Joyce J. Nickles has established a scholarship for music students at Lander University. (Photo by Myra Greene)

GREENWOOD — A new scholarship has been established at Lander University in the name of longtime Greenwood music teacher Joyce J. Nickles.

The scholarship will be awarded to a freshman music major or minor studying applied piano or voice. It’s renewable for up to four years, provided the student maintains a 3.0 GPA.

Nickles has a long relationship with Lander. From the time she was six, she studied piano at Lander under Estill Blocker, who used the Kinscella method to teach pre-college students how to play.

“Each class had eight students who used a cardboard keyboard at a table and took turns using the real piano at the front of the room,” she said.

She has a vivid memory of her first recital.

“In Lander’s small auditorium, four upright pianos were placed on the stage. Our entire class of eight played ‘Jolly Old St. Nick’ at the same time, with Miss Blocker keeping time with her oversized laced oxfords and her arms extended over the top of the two center pianos. Loved it!” she said.

From the sixth grade until she graduated from high school, she studied under Lander faculty member Roberta Major. After three years at Mississippi College, where she studied church and organ music, she returned to Greenwood to resume lessons with Major. It was Major who, after Nickles’s graduation from Lander in 1960, encouraged her to open Joyce J. Nickles Studio, where Nickles has taught music to hundreds of children, many of whom have enjoyed careers in theatre, opera, church music, public school music and similar fields.

Any list of Nickles’s accomplishments is bound to leave something out. For 26 years, she was the organist and director of children’s music at Main Street United Methodist Church. She’s an award-winning actress, with memorable performances at the Abbeville Opera House, Greenwood Community Theatre, with the Lander Players and in Wild Hare Productions. She serves on the board of directors for Greenwood Performing Arts, Wild Hare Productions, the Lander Alumni Association and the South Carolina Music Teachers Association. She works as an accompanist and adjudicator and performs with the piano quartet, The Accidentals.

She also continues to teach music, as she’s done for more than 55 years.

“Teaching children to love and learn music has been my passion. It has been challenging and rewarding, and it is in establishing this music scholarship that I hope to help a Lander student have this same feeling of accomplishment in a life filled with music,” she said.

“We are so proud of Joyce and all she has accomplished,” said Lander Alumni Director Myra Greene. “Joyce has given so much of herself to the Greenwood community over the years through her time, talent and donations. By establishing this scholarship she is not only assisting music majors, but also exhibiting her great love of her alma mater.”

Greene invited Nickles’s former students and friends to honor her by contributing to the Joyce J. Nickles Music Scholarship. Donations may be made payable to The Lander Foundation and mailed to Lander University; Office of University Advancement; 320 Stanley Avenue; Greenwood, S.C. 29649.

Questions should be directed to the Office of University Advancement, at 864-388-8350.