Announcing the 2011-2012 SPIRIT Scholarship
December 12, 2011
Rockville, Maryland
by, Sandra Giger

The family of Robert Yin and the SPIRIT Foundation are pleased to announce the start of the 2nd Annual 2011-2012 SPIRIT Scholarship, coinciding with the 22nd birthday today of Robert Yin.

The SPIRIT Scholarship is an award to a college-bound senior from Thomas Spriggs Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland. By the end of the 2011-2012 school year, one individual from the Class of 2012 will win the 2nd Annual award of $5000.

The SPIRIT Scholarship Competition requires writing and then presenting your writing in a YouTube video. This year's writing requirement asks each student to:

Tell us Your Story:

  1. Robert Yin said, "I will create a better life for myself and others." Can you imagine yourself saying those words someday? If so,tell us a story with you as protagonist, in the future, acting on that. 
  2. Inspired by a quote from local singer-songwriter Evan Pollisar, "Every day's a memory... do what you know you should," tell us a story about when you did something good that will never be forgotten.
  3. Tell us a story about one thing or one person in the world who inspires you.

On the Eve of Robert's birthday, Robert's brother Alex performed with the orchestra at the University of Maryland's "The Festive Baroque" concert held in honor of a longtime UMD professor, Handel specialist and choral conductor, Paul Traver, who died last year at age 80.

As is normally the case with hearing any music, one will remember Robert. The Festive Baroque was especially poignant because throughout the program I associated my memories of Robert with that music:
  • In the first half, UMD School of Music faculty played Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 5. Robert also played No. 5 in 10th grade with the Peabody Sinfonietta Orchestra, with Conductor Gene Young at the Peabody Prep Institute. (Robert and Alex played No. 3 with the New England Conservatory Summer Festival in 2006.)
  • In the second half, The UMD Chamber Singers opened with a song by Handel, from Esther, which recalls Robert: 
"Virtue, truth, and innocence
Shall ever be her true defense.
She is Heav'n's peculiar care,
Propitious Heav'n will hear her pray'r."
  • Next, the Chamber Singers sang excerpts from Handel's Messiah. Robert sang the Messiah numerous times. When Robert went to Landon School, Robert was in the Little Singers, led by Michael Wu, who sang the Messiah every year with the Washington Opera Civic Chorus and the Landon Symphonette. Robert sang the Messiah for four years with over 150-people comprising both orchestra and singers. He sang treble parts for two years, then alto, and finally tenor. It is this sort of experience that taught Robert to love harmony.
  • One of the songs from the Messiah that UMD sang tonight was "Surely he hath borne our griefs". Robert and Alex sang that too, at church, and for the Martin Luther King Day Celebration at the Lincoln Theater on U St. in NW DC in 2005. Robert and Alex were invited to perform at the annual MLK Day gala, after they were "discovered" while singing and playing violin/viola for the residents at the nursing home next door to home.
Happy Birthday Robert! 
Everyone remembers you, loves you, and misses you!