Fremar Foundation: Supporting Outstanding Local Artists

Karen Fremar from the Fremar Foundation website.

A foundation that is located in Leawood, Kansas, has roots in and supports Bourbon County artists.

The Fremar Foundation was established in 2010 by Karen Fremar as a charitable organization and began giving scholarships in 2017.

Fremar’s parents were Fort Scott musicians who had a music studio starting in the 1950s through the 1970s. Fremar began her career as an accordian artist here.

Those students that have received Fremar scholarships, where they are studying and what their degree is:

2017Mayson Lane, Oberlin College Conservatory/UMKC,
Violin/Music/Health Science

2018 –  Brenna Bower, Pittsburg State University, Trumpet/Political

2019Jezeriah Simpson, Baker University,  Art/Computer

2020 – Levi Bin, Pittsburg State University,  Vocal Music/Theater/Automotive Technology


2020 Patrick Schmidt, Wichita State University,  Vocal Music/Music Education

2021 – Noah Martin, Ozark Christian College, Music and Worship

2022 – Laney Covey, Allen Community College,  Digital Media/Visual Illustration and Animation

To learn more about the foundation and the students they have awarded:

The mission of the foundation has evolved, said Fremar, chairwoman and president of the Fremar Foundation. “It is currently to recognize the achievements and enable talented high school students in the Fort Scott area to continue with their artistic studies at the college level.”

“Initially we wanted to bring outstanding accordion artists from all over the world to perform concerts in Kansas City,” she said. But the cost was to high.

So her thinking changed.

“I was thinking that I would rather spend time and raise funds to support and recognize local young artists in all disciplines to help them on their artistic journey,” Fremar said. ” While we champion outstanding accordion art, we are not exclusive and support all musicians and artists.”

Tax advisor, Carol Hill, and financial advisor, Jordan Witt, both of Fort Scott, helped the organization develop a program to present scholarships in the area.

“Jordan was president of the school board at that time, and said that there was really nothing to recognize and financially reward the efforts of these talented young people in the area,” she said.

The critical part of the scholarship program is to recognize the achievements of these young artists in their creative work in high school,  and encourage them to continue their art as they go into college and into life, she said.

“We find it thrilling to follow their careers, see their successes, and know that maybe we had some small part in recognizing and encouraging their talent and achievements,” she said.

“An added benefit is that Mayson Lane has now become a full-fledged member of Vivant! (the group of K.C. area musicians she performs with) and performs with us whenever possible.”

Annual Concert

Each year she spearheads a concert to provide more funds for the scholarships the foundation awards.

She is inviting people from Bourbon County to the concert at the Leawood United Methodist Church (near Ranchmart) at 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 28. The free concert will last about one hour and refreshments will follow. It’s at this time the audience can meet the scholarship recipients.

“The concert will be varied and fun… plus, we’ll feature some amazing musicians,” she said. “We would be grateful for donations to our scholarship program.”

“I arranged all the scores we perform together,” she said. “The musicians in Vivant! are top professionals in their field.”

This year’s recipient Laney Covey, Uniontown, will be featured, she said.

“Laney will… provide an art show in the lobby of her works,” she said. “Jezeriah Simpson… at Baker University, now in his fourth year of receiving our scholarships, will be there and be introduced.”

Fred and Margie Fremar, Karen’s parents who started a music studio in Fort Scott.

Photos on the foundation website show many recognizable names and faces.

Fort Scott Roots:  Familiar Faces

From the foundation’s website:

(all photos are from the foundation website)

The Fremar Music Studio  was started and operated by Margie and Fred Fremar in Fort Scott.  Instructor Margie (Armstrong) Fremar first studied piano, but switched to accordian and studied with Mrs. Konantz, a local musician.

Margie, a popular accordion performer, often performed in a duo with Gola Roberts on vibraphone.  The Armstrong/Roberts duo was in demand for performances throughout the Southeast Kansas area. 

In 1953, musician Bertha Miller asked Margie to teach her how to play hymns on her accordion and became Margie’s first student.  Local educator, Verna Hoggatt, urged Margie to open a studio and to teach her young daughter, Shirley Hoggatt (now Shirley Palmer) to play the accordion.

  Margie enjoyed teaching, so decided to advertise for students.  The response was so great that she never had to advertise for students again.

Margie worked with many very exceptional young students, and also began to further her accordion studies in Kansas City. 

She taught a full-time load of students, then practiced herself from 10 p.m. to midnight each night. 

Husband Fred served as the director of bands, accordion instrument repairman, piano tuner and technician and emceed the studio’s recitals and performances.

Twice a year recitals and many musical programs for organizations and churches were part of their lives.

Margie instructed over 500 students in accordion and piano studies in the 51 years she taught.

Teen students who went on to attain outstanding achievements: Patsy (Blair) Wade and Shirley (Hoggatt) Palmer.
1956 Ensemble Members: (Front row, left to right) La Donna Young, Richard Vaughn, Michael Slaven, Leeta Cochran, Rita Dunsworth, Karen Fremar. (Second row) Joyce Wray, Ava Stroud, Judy Russell, Doylene Shoemaker, Marilyn Coonrod, Linda Dikeman. (Third row) Lily Hailey, Lois Faye Dunsworth, Shirley Hoggatt, Janice Hammons, Nelda Rudisell, Joyce Tucker. (Fourth row) Edythe Wise, Rosemary Albright, Fred Fremar, director, John Wright, Margie Fremar, instructor, Patsy Blair, Geraldine Forrester. .
1960 Fremar Band Members: (First Row L-R) Janice Gordon, Diana Gordon, Peggy Russell, Janice Seaver. (Second Row L-R) Jananne Hewett, Joyce Thornton, Karen Fremar, Gail Wray, Judy Turner, Terry Blythe. (Third Row L-R) Fred Fremar, Director, Margie Fremar, Instructor, Ricky Vaughn, Linda Dikeman, Glenda Smith, Cheryl Seaver, Rick Hansen, Margie Seaver, Julianne Cooper. (Forth Row L-R) Sandra Kay Gift, Kayleen Blythe, Leeta Cochran, Charla May Edmiston, Marilyn Coonrod, Joyce Wray, Rita Dunsworth, Vicki Ranson. (Fifth Row L-R) Shirley Hoggatt, Judith Singmaster, Kay Diehl, Pat Blair, Arlene Vaughn, Linda Hunter, Janice Hammons, Phyllis Luker, Beth Clayton.
The Teen Tones 1971.  L-R) Diana Gordon, Peggy Russell, Terry Blythe, Karen Fremar, Jananne Hewett, and Janice Gordon.



2 thoughts on “Fremar Foundation: Supporting Outstanding Local Artists”

  1. Fort Scott was very fortunate to have talented musicians such as the Fremars, who also had a passion for teaching our communities youth not only how to play a great musical instrument, but how to perform with energy, grace and style!
    It is good to see the legend lives on thru this foundation, and is still serving our communities youth to this day !

  2. I especially enjoyed the pictures of people as I remember them. Fred and Margie were very community minded and that was obviously passed on to Karen. There is an old quote that goes, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” Karen is planting a lot of “trees”.

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