Scholarship Sculpture Music Festival
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The Eunice Waymon—Nina Simone Memorial Project (NSP) exists to honor the remarkable life and legacy of a native Tryon, North Carolina daughter, who achieved international recognition for her unique talent and her formidable contribution to the musical arts.

The musical talent of Eunice Waymon, who was born in 1933, evidenced itself early on. By age 4 she had begun to play piano; by age 7, she had begun to play organ as well—each of which she did for St. Luke’s C.M.E. Church. Waymon’s formal musical training began shortly thereafter under the tutelage of Muriel Mazzanovich, wife of noted artist Lawrence Mazzanovich.

That Waymon possessed a prodigious talent was recognized by many, so much so, that enthusiastic Tryonites created ‘The Eunice Waymon Fund’ to help underwrite the costs of her future studies. Those studies continued with Carl Friedberg at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, and with Vladimer Sokoloff of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Waymon’s professional career, as Nina Simone, began in 1954. Her unique musical style merged a strong classical training with an exceptionally broad range of musical genres, which run the gamut from classical, gospel and jazz to pop, folk and spiritual. That Simone asserted a powerful artistic impact upon late-twentieth-century American popular culture is evident in her expansive discography, her musical arrangements and her original compositions. She was and is a powerful musical force in a global theatre.

Your participation in the Eunice Waymon—Nina Simone Memorial Project supports the recognition of an international musical legend and an icon of human potential realized.





The Eunice Waymon-Nina Simone Memorial Project exists to honor the remarkable life, musical legacy and civil rights activism of Nina Simone, and to inspire and support talented youth to reach their full potential.


The Eunice Waymon—Nina Simone Memorial Project (NSP) purposes to establish and promote educational scholarship, to commission a Nina Simone sculpture, and to establish an international music festival in Tryon, North Carolina, with supplemental venues in the broader Western North Carolina region.


The Eunice Waymon-Nina Simone Memorial Project undertakes to accomplish four related goals.

  • Support a broad-based education program, including:
    • the creation of an endowed Nina Simone scholarship,
    • the development of an educational jazz curriculum highlighting the musical contributions of prominent North Carolinians to the songbook of American popular music,
    • the archival preservation of Simone’s material record
    • the promotion of Simone as an important Tryon and Polk County, North Carolina cultural and heritage resource
  • Commission a life-sized, memorial, bronze sculpture for a public art installation
  • Develop a Trans-World Music Festival in the name of Nina Simone as a signature Tryon, Polk County, North Carolina event
  • Provide outreach partnering opportunities for Simone’s designated charities:
    • Cancer research in underserved communities, arts programming in public education, prevention of abuse against women, and AIDS research, education, & care.


c/o Dr. Crys Armbrust
301 N. Trade Street
Tryon, NC 28782
(828) 817-4773

Crys Armbrust, Ph.D.
Founder & Executive Director

Steering Committee

Jeffrey A. Byrd
Warren J. Carson, Ph. D.
Benjamin Ellington
Tom Edward Foster
N. Dean Trakas
Gloria J. Underwood, Ph.D.

Lisa Simone Kelly
Ex officio

Frances Waymon-Fox
Ex officio

Carrol W. Waymon, Ph.D.
Ex officio