Alumni passion for music remembered with new award

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Above: Carter Holland began playing various instruments, including the guitar, during her childhood and teenage years.


Making music – and sharing it with others – is often a calling as well as a skill. The emotion that emanates from performing a sore jazz track or a moody, mellow indie instrumental piece is a shared experience for musicians and listeners alike. This was certainly the case for Carter Holland ’19.

“Carter expressed his passion and talent for music in so many aspects of his life,” says Holland’s mother, Lucie Holland, noting that he often called his parents by the name of a new indie band, a song he had found or to speak. on his favorite bands like Electric Light Orchestra and The Beach Boys. “He received as much pleasure from composing and performing as he did from sharing his gifts by teaching and encouraging others to play and enjoy music.”

Carter Holland with her parents, Lucie and Steve Holland, at the CofC launch in 2019. (Photos provided)

When Holland, who majored in English at the College of Charleston before embarking on a career as a journalist at Law Street Media in Washington, DC, died of cardiac arrest in 2020, Lucie Holland, along with her husband Steve and his cousin Sissa Green, began thinking of ways to honor his life and his love for music. They soon decided to create the Carter Holland Memorial Music Award to help CofC music majors purchase a musical instrument, musical equipment, or fund continuing professional education or study as a musician.

“Steve and I – along with our cousin Sissa Green – emulate Carter’s leadership and compassionate qualities by providing funds to help CofC students pursue their musical education and performance goals,” says Lucie Holland.

From an early age, Holland showed an interest in music. His first instrument, the mandolin, was just a starting point. He then played guitar (acoustic, electric and bass), piano and drums. When he arrived at College, Holland decided to pursue music as a hobby, performing with the College’s jazz ensemble and taking classes in music management. He also found a group of comrades and former students with whom to share his passion outside of class, forming the independent group Cisco Kids, which gave concerts in the holy city. And one of the reasons he decided to major in English was to find inspiration and instructions for writing song lyrics.

When the Department of Music issued a call for faculty to recommend students for the new music award, the music major Eric Pickford quickly rose to the top of potential candidates.

Eric Pickford

Eric Pickford is the first recipient of the Carter Holland Memorial Music Award.

“He’s a quintessential renaissance man with a wide range of disciplines and interests,” says music teacher Lee Chin Siow, which recommended Pickford to be the first recipient of the Carter Holland Memorial Music Award. “His major in music alone includes violin, piano, organ and composition. By the way, his other specialty is computers. Talk about overtaking!”

RELATED: Donate to the Carter Holland Memorial Music Award Fund

And Pickford’s dedication to his academics, particularly his musical studies, is unwavering.

“I was so impressed with Eric’s learning attitude and aptitude,” says Siow. “He is humble, hardworking and eager to learn. He takes every challenge I throw at him and never complains.

Pickford plans to use the prize funds to buy a new violin and bow, something he has been saving for for a long time.

“I am deeply touched, but very honored to be named the first recipient of this award,” Pickford wrote in a letter to Lucie and Steve Holland. “It is a great privilege to have been chosen to continue your son’s excellent work and influence at the College.”

“We are delighted with the selection of Eric Pickford and we look forward to following his future musical projects as well as the other winners in the years to come”, declares Lucie Holland.

It is a gift the Holland family wants to see grow and endure in memory of their son.

“We hope that eventually the Carter Holland Memorial Music Award will be an endowed scholarship honoring Carter and his love of CofC on a permanent basis,” says Lucie Holland. “I’m sure he would be so happy that his legacy at CofC is one of supporting and inspiring other musicians.”

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