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Retired Prof Honored after Homecoming Concert

By Lisa Stratton
UWRF University Communications

OCT. 8, 2007--An mix of community members, University of Wisconsin-River Falls alumni, former singers and students of retired professor emeritus and music department chair Elliot Wold will honor their musical mentor at after the annual UWRF Homecoming Concert Sunday, Oct. 14.

The UWRF choir room, located in Room 134, Kleinpell Fine Arts building, will be dedicated in honor of Wold at 5 p.m., following the annual concert.  

Wold was a professor of music and choral conductor at UWRF for 36 years. "I was very pleasantly surprised and honored to be chosen," he says. "Working with the students and seeing their accomplishments was the biggest honor I had in teaching.

"One of the most memorable events for me at UWRF was in 1977," Wold recalls.   "Aaron Copland conducted our choir in "The Promise of Living," and it was an unforgettable experience for all."

Wold, whose wife, Jeanne, also taught at UW-River Falls for 33 years, made a major musical contribution to the university with the creation of the alumni concert tours.   "I've always felt that our young students and our university students should have a right to continue on and sing together after graduation," says Wold. "It seems to be important that they had an outlet and meet up with their old friends from the university."

However popular the alumni concerts were in River Falls, Wold says he felt motivated to share his former students' talents with the world.

"In 1984 we took our first European tour, and 48 people that went along, says Wold. "It's as if they just took off where they left off at the university. They were able to the joy of singing for audiences all around the world. We just completed our seventh tour of Europe of this summer."

Mary Ella Jerome, a 1974 graduate who earned a B.S. in music education with a piano and vocal emphasis, recalls the privilege of learning from the maestro.

"I was privileged to learn from Elliot in many ways," says the founder of the Mary Ella Jerome Family Foundation, which has supported the music department through scholarships and other efforts. "I took his classes, sang in his choirs, sat in his audiences, and visited with him. Perhaps the biggest way for me to learn, which is given to very few, was my incredible opportunity to accompany his choirs and his students. My experience from the vantage point of the piano bench was a rare gift."

Lillian Tan, professor emeritus of music at UW-River Falls, says Wold's exceptional work with his students and alumni is what makes him deserving of the honor.

"To an unusual degree, Professor Wold has inspired several generations of students," says Tan. "He has untiringly continued to lead the Alumni Concert Choir on summer retreats, European tours, and the popular Homecoming concerts."

Tan, who retired in 2006 after 40 years at UWRF, says that scores of the people whom Wold has impacted will be there to see the room dedicated to him.

"I have worked with Elliot Wold since 1968 when he was chair of the music department and then as a colleague till his retirement in 1999," says Tan. "Many colleagues and former students plan to attend the dedication."

Emeritus Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Richard Swensen will remark on the dedication before the last number of the concert. Wold will then direct both the student and alumni choirs in the final song of the afternoon in the "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Following the concert, the audience will be invited to view the plaque commemorating Wold and to attend a reception in his honor.  

"Elliot conveys the meaning of the music in performances," says Jerome, "with his body language--a raised eyebrow, a graceful hand gesture, a clenched fist, powerful beats from his strong shoulders, fire in his eyes..." says Jerome, a former music and business educator and retired corporate executive, who lives in Barron, Wis. "[He embodies] caring, dedicated, creative communication of emotion through music."

For more information about the Elliot Wold Choir Room dedication, please contact the UWRF Music Department at 715-425-3183.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:33 Central Daylight Time


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