September 20, 2012

William & Helen Kempf Music Scholarship

The William & Helen Kempf Music Scholarship was established in 2009 in memory of Helen and Bill Kempf, strong advocates of music education.

Bill Kempf was a professional musician, educator, minister of music and person who touched the lives of many. He was not only a teacher, both privately and in many schools, but was church organist and choir director at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Saginaw for over 35 years. He was a graduate of the Gregorian Institute of America. He also was an organist and minister at Case Funeral Home and owner of Whitehead Music with his wife, Helen, and son, Marty. Bill passed away in 1996.

Bill played and sang in various dance bands, performed in the first Eddy Band Concert in 1926 and also played in the percussion section of the Saginaw SymphonyOrchestra. In the early years, Bill and his sister, Dorothy, and his father, Martin, played in vaudeville acts at the Jeffers Strand Theater in Saginaw. Later in life, the Bill Kempf family, including Carol Ann, Nancy and Marty, also entertained at various functions. Helen was the manager and promoter.

Helen Voelker Kempf was a dental assistant, working most of her career for Dr. Richard Whitney in Saginaw. She was not musical herself, but encouraged music education in the lives of her children. She also worked in the office at the family business, Whitehead Music. Helen and Bill were members of the Temple Organ Club and spent much time volunteering at nursing homes and the Millet Center. Helen passed away in 2008.

The Kempf family hopes to continue the legacy of Helen and Bill Kempf by supporting music education for individual students in the Saginaw Area. Music was their life and they loved sharing their music with others.

Applications are due to the Saginaw Community Foundation no later than March 1. Students will be notified within three weeks after due date. Scholarships are available for up to $500.


  • Must attend school in Saginaw County, entering grades 7 through 11
  • Attending a Michigan music camp, such as Camp Timbers Band Camp conducted by Herter Music Center and YMCA of Saginaw, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp or participating in a summer music study within Michigan.
  • Enrolled in a music class either at school or privately for both the current year and the upcoming year.

To Apply

Fill out the application form and submit your applicant letter and letter of recommendation to the Saginaw Community Foundation by March 1.

Download the application (PDF).