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Scholarship honours father's life-long love of music

by Krista Habermehl | January 30, 2008

Archie Cunningham’s music career took off in the 1920s when he became one of the original members of Guy Lombardo’s London, Ontario-based big band group, Lombardo Brothers’ Orchestra.

Although his stint with the band was later cut short due to a severe case of appendicitis, Archie went on to spend a lifetime bringing music to others as a clarinet and saxophone player in his own band and with others. At one point during the war, he entertained the troops in an orchestra alongside Western alumnus and musician, Don Wright.

To honour Archie’s life-long love of music, his son, alumnus Barry Cunningham (BSc’57), has established in perpetuity the Archie E. Cunningham Memorial Continuing Entrance Awards at the Don Wright Faculty of Music. The donation, endowed at Foundation Western, will support three students with financial need with $5,000 each of their four years of study.

“I wanted to honour my father because he supported me and encouraged me to go to Western,” says Barry. “He didn’t havethe opportunity to go to college, but made sure I was able to continue with my studies.”

Barry remembers the financial support he received when he began his first year at Western and recognizes how important it can be for young students. “I know the financial need that people have and if they didn’t have a father like I had, then an award or scholarship could make a difference in their lives.”

Although not a musician himself, Barry developed a love for music over the years and is happy to help future generations develop their talents while honouring his father’s memory.

This article appeared in the Winter 2008 edition of Impact Western
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