FUNDation Strong: Music To Our Ears

In 2011 an anonymous couple approached the Foundation about making a planned 10-year gift after observing the benefits that the Youth ministry gained by having youth interns. They had a vision and a passion for the effectual training of students in the areas of worship leadership through music, whether vocal or instrumental. The Music Ministry Internship Fund was established as a modest expendable fund, which allowed it to be used immediately but basically with a year-to-year funding source for one intern.

The terms of the fund allowed for big dreams however. The goal of the program is to use the ongoing work of Second’s music ministry as a training ground for primarily college and graduate students pursuing careers in church music or music education. 

This breadth of experience includes working with a multi-staff music ministry; receiving training in rehearsal technique and planning as well as liturgical and repertoire planning; participating in a leadership role in worship services, including with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra; and working with the faculty of the Conservatory of Music.

Within that setting, opportunities for four or more interns could be provided within a single academic year. The areas of focus include serving as section leaders of the adult choir; working with the children’s or youth choirs; coordinating the hand bell choir; or working with other instrumentals, such as the organ.  Summer interns lead in areas such as VBS and the Patriotic Pops.

Since the fund was established and made known to the congregation, the funding for it has grown. There have been memorials designated for it; bequests directed to it; and earnings applied to it. As of June 30, 2018 the fund had $103,484.


Since 2011, eleven students have benefited from the program and continue to serve in music ministry capacities where they are planted. Among them are Hannah Good Crowley, Molly Johnson Pennington, Daniel Polloreno.

Hannah Crowley.JPG

Hannah is a volunteer children’s choir leader, a teacher in Second’s Conservatory of Music, and a periodic Sunday evening worship team leader.


Molly serves as the organist for River Oaks Presbyterian Church in Germantown.


Daniel serves is a music worship leader at Second’s church plant Esperanza and also as a periodic Sunday evening worship team leader at Second.


 There appears to be two take aways surrounding this fund.

  • That imagination of the original couple; their stepping forward to inquire how their dream might work; their offering of a gift spread out over ten years; and the willingness of the Foundation Board to assist them in their dream by facilitating the process in a new venture;
    - all were the ingredients for the success of the program.

  • The program has become valuable to the music ministry to the extent that the church, as it can, is beginning to support additional interns.


With the planned gift coming to a conclusion in 2020 and in order to not invade the principle, the earnings off of the fund will be enough for one intern annually.  In order to support additional interns at no cost to the church, the fund will need to grow.

Music Interns 2019.JPG

Currently, Daija McNeil and Donavan Hughes serve as interns sponsored by this fund. Also serving as interns and sponsored by the church are Haleigh Boykin and Samuel Johnson.

The presence of student-age interns provides vitality to the ministry and at the same time provides an excellent experience for them as they pursue their goals using their gifts and talents. As a church, we are privileged to assist them as they in turn minister among us.