Lowe piano performance scholarship honors long-time Cenla musician


NATCHITOCHES – Wanelle Lowe began playing piano at age three, before her feet could touch the pedals, and by the time she was 12, she was the pianist at her church in Rochelle, Texas.  She spent her life teaching, performing and accompanying choirs and vocalists and, along with her husband, sharing her musical gifts with others.

Lowe’s legacy will live on through a scholarship established by her children to benefit students majoring in piano performance at Northwestern State University. The Wanelle Lowe Endowed Scholarship for Piano Performance will be awarded to senior-level or graduate student studying piano performance. Recipients must maintain a 3.0 or better grade point average.

Lowe earned a bachelor’s degree in music before moving to Louisiana where her husband Carroll Lowe served as music minister and later as state church music director for the Louisiana Baptist Convention in Alexandria.  Her family said she could easily have made a career as a concert pianist, but she wanted a family life and felt led to use her talents in other venues. She was a private piano teacher for over 50 years and actively involved in local and international competitions.  She was a district judge for the International Piano Guild and organizer of the Central Louisiana Music Teachers Association.  In 1997, she was voted Outstanding Piano Teacher by her peers, demonstrating the deep respect she elicited from colleagues.

In addition to her work as a private teacher, Lowe was also the pianist for First Baptist Church Pineville for 57 years.  Her role of church musician expanded to include performing as accompanist for the Singing Ministers of Louisiana Baptists for 20 years and the Louisiana Baptist All State Youth Choir for 25 years, ensembles that were organized by her husband.  She was also accompanist for the Pineville High School Choral Program for 26 years. An anonymous donor gifted a grand piano to First Baptist Church in her honor and it remains in the sanctuary bearing a plaque with her name.  She was also honored by First Baptist Church with the dedication and naming of the music suite as the Lowe Music Suite.

Lowe earned a master’s degree in piano performance at Northwestern State in 1980.

Lowe passed away in 2012 at the age of 78.  Her husband passed away last year. The scholarship is expected to be awarded to its inaugural recipient in 2022.

Friends may contribute to the scholarship in memory of the Lowes by visiting www.northwesternstatealumni.com. Donors can click the Give tab and indicate the Wanelle Lowe Endowed Scholarship in the Specify section.