About the MacKenzie, Lewis & White Scholarship
History of the MacKenzie, Lewis & White Scholarship
In 1976, Jim Myers and Gene Pelzar, co-owners of the Up Country Restaurant, traveled to Bermuda on the Bi-Centennial. There they came across a fun band that called themselves the ’MacKenzie, Lewis, & White Band.’ Myers invited the group to the Mount Washington Valley, and in 1977 Peter Lewis, Rod MacKenzie, and Peter White arrived. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Peter Lewis went back to his native Britain where he passed away far too young in 1986. That year Nancy Bartlett, Rod MacKenzie and Peter White decided to create a scholarship in his memory since Peter Lewis had a love of music, life, and kids.
Rod MacKenzie and Peter White remained in the valley, familiar faces to many for good music and good fun. And every year the Peter Lewis Memorial Scholarship Concert was held to help send a Kennett Senior to college for music, whether it be applied music or music education.
Sadly, in 2002, Peter White joined Peter Lewis to sing in another place, and probably to create havoc. The scholarship concert was renamed to the Lewis and White Scholarship Concert.
On Christmas Eve 2012, the third member of the Mount Washington Valley ‘British Invasion,’ Rod MacKenzie, passed from cancer and joined his bandmates. 2013 marked the first year of the renamed MacKenzie, Lewis, and White Music Scholarship.
After the 2017 benefit concert, Mountain Top Music Center was asked to take over the scholarship program.
The scholarship is completely funded by the annual concert, which doubles as a celebration of the lives of three men who encouraged young people to pursue their musical dreams.
A partial list of past scholarship awards (help us fill in the missing names):
- Brenda Hathaway, University of New Hampshire (1988)
- Derek Badala, University of Massachusetts Lowell (1988)
- Kristine Moffett, NYAK College (1991)
- Teresa Clemons, University of Maine (1991)
- Michael Perrault, Gordon College (1991)
- Molly Ricker, Plymouth State University (2014)
- Riley Parkhurst, Berklee College of Music (2017)
- no award (2018)
Who’s Playing This Year (2019)
- Davey Armstrong
- Simon Crawford
- Jono Deveneaux
- Kevin Dolan
- Dennis O’Neil
- Al Hospers
- Riley Parkhurst
- Jonathan Sarty
- Al Shafner
- Ryan St Onge
and more to be announced!
Mountain Top Music Center is proud to offer a scholarship named in the memory of Mount Washington Valley musicians Rod MacKenzie, Peter Lewis, and Peter White. The scholarship is awarded annually to students pursuing continued study of music as a major or minor in post secondary studies.
Criteria: The scholarship is available to students residing in the Mount Washington Valley (defined here as the towns/territories whose students attend Kennett High School and Fryeburg Academy). Preference is given to a graduating high school senior, but other students may also apply.
Deadline to apply is the beginning of June.
more details and application form to be added soon.
The scholarship can be given annually.
A committee consisting of the Mountain Top Music Center Executive Director, Director of Education, and a representative of the Board of Trustees will choose the recipient.
The scholarship will be disbursed directly to the college being attended by the recipient upon successful completion of one semester maintaining a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or better.
Peter Lewis was from Pontypridd,(pronounced Pontyprith), Wales. As a teenager, he played music with friends but not professionally. He went to Bermuda as a health inspector in 1974 taking his guitar with him. He formed a folk band with a mish-mash of “Amateur” players, all of whom could have been professional. The Band was called “Magpi” consisting of Peter White, Peter Lewis, Keith Myerson, Pete Sumner, Mac Eddy and Avril Davis and they released one album.
When Rod MacKenzie came back to Bermuda the second time, he met them at the Bermuda Folk Club in Hamilton only knowing Peter White. As his residency progressed, Peter Lewis came in to play with Rod at the Robin Hood Pub and they immediately hit it off as friends and fellow Musicians. Incidentally, he played Spanish guitar and had a weird way of dislocating his thumb to play. He could pick strings like no-one else could, or would want to! Then Peter White came in with his banjo and guitar and the “MacKenzie, Lewis, White” band was formed. They were playing in the summer of 1976, the year of the Tall Ships race. I believe there was a “Bicentennial” celebration going on somewhere! Jim Myers, who had just purchased the Up Country that summer with Gene Pelzar saw them play at the Robin Hood and off they went to North Conway NH, the following January. They played the Up Country for 3 months when their work permit expired and they went back to the UK eventually arriving back in Bermuda the following Dec. The band broke up after several months in Bermuda and went their separate ways but all based around the MWV. Peter Lewis eventually went back to Bermuda as a health inspector, meeting up and playing with Kevin Dolan at the Longtail Bar as well as Rod and Mike Bessette at the Rum Runners and later the White Heron.
Peter died unexpectedly in 1987 and the Peter Lewis Memorial Scholarship was born, the idea of Nancy Bartlett in Glen.
Peter White was born on 10 December 1948 in Southport, England. He graduated from Stanley Grange Police Academy and served as a bobby in Liverpool and Knowsley, England. In 1972, he emigrated to Bermuda where he continued being a bobby, and started his professional music career. It was in Bermuda where he joined up with Peter Lewis and Rod MacKenzie to become the MacKenzie, Lewis and White Band.
As an entertainer, Peter performed as a band member, solo artist, and a Karaoke host. He performed in several genres: Celtic, pop, and children’s shows. He was also active in valley theatre, as a board member of Arts in Motion and could be seen on stage in plays like The Music Man.
Peter had an entertainment column in the Conway Daily Sun for a number of years and transitioned it to a weekly entertainment show on Valley Vision called Entertainment and Arts with Peter White.
Peter also used his energy in giving back to the community. He would play at the Dinner Bell, feeling that his musical talents would add fun and community to it. If there were a cause he could help he usually was involved with it. With a friend, Curtis Hayes, the two would travel to schools, businesses, and other venues promoting the abilities of people with traumatic brain injury and other disabilities. The Differing Abilities Program was a hit in schools all over the area.
Peter White married Judy Judy MacLean, and became a news reporter at the Irregular, but at the time of his death was very involved with the Center of Hope and Alcoholics Anonymous. They had a wonderful daughter Lara.
Sadly, 16 June 2002, Peter was struck down with a cerebral aneurysm, from which he did not recover. The scholarship was renamed to the MacKenzie, Lewis and White Music Scholarship.
His long and winding road has led him from his childhood home in England, to the isle of Bermuda, to the ski resorts of New England and, finally, to southwest Florida. Along the way he rejected and regretted taking a chance at stardom, procured a degree then left it behind, and missed out on a cushy pension from the road not taken.
The amiable, garrulous Scot was nearly as entertaining between songs in his sets as he was performing. Though his full, deep voice serves his folk/rock/country play list well, and he gives himself rich accompaniment on guitar, he was also liable to banter with his crowd, exchange witticisms and memorably alter lyrics of the songs.
Rod passed away December 24th, 2012 from complications of cancer. The scholarship has been renamed to the MacKenzie, Lewis, and White Music Scholarship.