The Department of Music’s prestigious Toni Christine Masini Memorial Scholarship was presented to Reece Neff, ‘20, on Saturday, Aug. 31 during halftime of the football game versus East Carolina University. The Masini scholarship – the largest music scholarship offered at NC State – is awarded each year to one student who exemplifies academic and musical excellence, as well as leadership in the marching band.
Neff is double majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as minoring in Flute Performance. He is a piccolo section leader in the marching band, as well as serving as the principal flutist in the Wind Ensemble – something he shares with the scholarship’s namesake.
Toni Masini was also first chair flute and piccolo in the Wind Ensemble during her time at NC State in the early 90s, and was actively involved in the marching band. The significance of those commonalities is not lost on Neff.
“It means a lot to me to be selected as this year’s recipient in honor of Toni,” said Neff. “I too love the flute and, in preparation for my audition [for the scholarship], would practice almost solely in the Masini practice room. Because of this, I have gotten to know her favorite practice room pretty well and know that it is an honor and a privilege to be able to play music in the same room she did while receiving a scholarship dedicated towards her.”
Neff hopes to pursue a PhD in Computer Engineering and go into research, but his involvement in music at NC State will be one of his fondest memories of his time here. “My favorite part about NC State is the relationship I have with all things music-related here on campus. Whether it’s the faculty, students or organizations, it is the only area with which I feel a strong relationship.”
This year, Neff is also serving as the alpha chapter president of Mu Beta Psi, an honorary musical fraternity. He is a member of the NC State Woodwind Quintet and the Pep Band, the publicity co-director for Engineer’s Council, and a tournament organizer for the Smash Brothers Ultimate club. He has been on the Dean’s List for the past five semesters.
Toni Masini’s parents, Bob and Mickie, and her brother Lou presented Neff with a plaque to commemorate the award during the presentation ceremony. Neff’s parents and brother were able to join him on the field for the presentation.