Scholarship Offers & Policies

About the School

The Texas Normal Singing School is a not-for-profit, educational institution. No board members, faculty, or staff receives a salary or remuneration in exchange for the services he/she offers to the church through TNSS. The Singing School is not sponsored or underwritten by any other organization or congregation; it operates under its own Board of Directors and by funds from students’ tuition and donations. Further details about operational and financial transparency, including copies of IRS form 990-PF, are available upon specific request.

About the Costs

The standard cost of studying at the Texas Normal Singing School in 2024 is $595. This sum includes your 15 meals (breakfast, lunch, and supper beginning Sunday night through lunch on Friday), five nights’ lodging in a furnished apartment, access to leased classroom and chapel space, required event insurance; all textbooks, transportation shuttle services, and all administrative costs (website hosting, printing and postage, display advertising, booth spaces and event registrations, technology and equipment, software, business/banking expenses).

In an effort to make the Singing School as affordable as possible, we’re pleased to announce that supporters of the School have made scholarship funds available to students on an as-needed basis.

We offer four scholarships:

The Randy Daw Scholarship

In memory of the late Randy Daw – gospel preacher, hymn writer, musician, Singing School teacher, and friend of Jesus Christ – the Board of Directors has chosen to fund a single full scholarship each year. The student receiving this scholarship offer will be a returning student who has demonstrated not only musical excellence, but depth of spirituality, and a personal desire to dig deeply into the art and science of congregational, a cappella singing.

Recipients are requested to read Brother Daw’s obituary and to send acknowledgment notes to Mrs. Daw.

The John Dunigan Scholarship

Johnny Lee Dunigan was a tenor’s tenor and a songleader’s songleader. He had a voice and a personality that could command a room. Originally from Houston, “JD” made his home in North Texas and over the last twenty years of his life served as worship minister for the Hilltop Church of Christ, North Texas Church of Christ, and Denton Church of Christ. In addition to his musical prowess, John is remembered for his technological wizardry, goofy sense of humor, and love for the Lord Jesus.

Eligibility: John loved working with churches and was often brought on-board in part-time, paid capacity as a minister – sometimes youth, sometimes worship. In honor of John’s many stints in ministry, and acknowledging how tight preacher’s budgets often are, application for scholarship is open to those who serve in as ministers in small churches (fewer than 100 in regular attendance), in full- or part-time capacities. A letter from a congregational eldership or other recognized leadership group should be supplied by email to [email protected] along with a letter from the applicant, outlining how he feels the TNSS experience would benefit his life, ministry, and congregation.

Recipients are requested to read Brother Dunigan’s obituary and to send acknowledgment notes to the North Texas Church of Christ.

The Joe Ed Furr General Scholarship Fund

Joe Ed Furr was our school’s director and the son of its founder. His passion and insight remain powerful motivators for the Singing School. His obituary is available here.

This scholarship offer divides the total cost of Singing School between the three interested parties – the student’s home congregation, the student himself, and the Singing School. In 2024 this would be $200 from the student, $200 from the congregation, and $195 from our scholarship fund.

We believe that the home congregation should be excited to invest in her own greatest resource – her members. With this investment will come an expectation, responsibility, charge, and – hopefully – an opportunity for the student to practice and use his new knowledge and skill in the congregational setting (this is essential for a student’s growth and development in the science and art of church music). The student himself should have enough interest in his own spiritual and skills development that he is willing to invest funds, time, and effort into this opportunity. This investment of personal funds promotes an investment of mind, heart, and spirit during the week of Singing School and upon the student’s return. Once the church and student have shown their own intent by partnering for the first two-thirds, we want to show our confidence in our program, curriculum, and faculty and our love for our students and their home congregations by contributing the final one-third.

To help create positive conversations between a potential student and his local church leadership about the congregation contributing its one-third, we would be happy – once a scholarship offer has been made – to issue a formal certificate of scholarship award to the student along with a letter to the church leadership explaining the process and the program to which the student is applying.

The Jesse James Scholarship Fund

This scholarship is made possible by those who love the memory of Jesse James, a longtime student of TNSS and dear friend of Joe Ed Furr. To encourage diversity among our student body and to make it easier for those who travel a significant distance to participate in the school, this scholarship is made available for those who come to TNSS from east of the Mississippi River. This scholarship is offered on a needs-based basis and is awarded for up to 50% of the standard costs (covers $297.50 of $595 in 2024).

Recipients are requested to read Brother James’ obituary and to send acknowledgment notes to members of his family.

Donating to the Scholarship Funds

In an effort to keep our costs as low as possible, our Scholarship Fund does not receive funding from other students’ tuition and fees; it is funded completely by additional donations. If you or your congregation would like to invest in the future of congregational, a cappella singing, we urge you to consider making a donation to this fund. This is a protected fund, earmarked only for scholarship use.

We thank our donors for their generosity, vision, and love.

Please contact Levi Sisemore, Singing School Treasurer, with any questions about donating to this fund. As a 501(c)3 organization, donations to the TNSS Operating Fund or Scholarship Funds are tax-deductible and a donation receipt will be issued.