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Noteworthy-Music Alumni News

Click the newsletter above to read Noteworthy- the 1st edition of your music alumni newsletter.



Letter from the Chair

This year, we have begun a new initiative to share with you, our alumni, what you have helped us accomplish in the Department of Music at Colorado State University.

We could not have set such a high standard for music education without your commitment to inspire listeners with your music, your desire to teach others how to play an instrument, or your goal to help ease physical pain with song. Current students are following your path in their music education. With your support, we have accomplished so much in the past few years, including the construction of the beautiful University Center for the Arts, located in the renovated Fort Collins High School on Remington Street. The UCA houses the University Art Museum and the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, as well as various technologically advanced classrooms, rehearsal spaces, and performance venues, including the Griffin Concert Hall, the Organ Recital Hall, and the Runyan Rehearsal Hall. We have also begun fostering an academic partnership with East China Normal University that will allow students to study abroad, conduct research, and perform at ECNU.

We’re not only planning big things for our students, but for our alumni as well. Homecoming and Family Weekend is Oct. 15-17, and we have exciting plans for our music alumni over the weekend, including performances by the University Sinfonia Orchestra and CSU Choirs, Homecoming Weekend guests “Big Bad Voodoo Daddy,” and performances by the Alumni Marching Band and Alumni Choir. I hope to see all of you here in Fort Collins during Homecoming Weekend.

In addition to our Homecoming alumni events, we are introducing the new “Friends of the University Center for the Arts” membership association at CSU. As a “Friends of the UCA” member, you will strengthen the educational foundation that you yourself have built for current music students. There are inspiring accomplishments happening for the Department of Music this semester. We are thrilled to have the means to share our department with you and would be happy to answer any questions you have, or respond to any feedback we receive at Thank you for making the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at CSU a leading school in music education.

Todd Queen

Chair, Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance

Co-Director, School of the Arts

Student Spotlight

Missy Splittgerber graduated in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance and a Bachelor of Arts in social work from Colorado State University.  Currently, she is teaching piano lessons at Philomusica in Fort Collins, but soon Splittgerber and her husband will embark on an adventure that is taking them to the country of Togo in West Africa.

“My husband and I will be moving to Togo in October for six months to help with starting Grace Orphanage Africa. We are currently continuing to raise money for the building to be completed so that these children can have a home,” says Splittgerber.“We will help make the orphanage self-sustaining.  We want to utilize native resources and  labor in an effort to make it a community-based home.  I am also hoping to start some kind of music program for the kids.”

Splittgerber received the Wendel Diebel Memorial Keyboard Scholarship and the Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship while studying at CSU.  She also received the Academic Excellence in Music History and Theory award from the music faculty.

“I was very blessed to receive a scholarship from CSU, which gave me the opportunity to have a very enriched college education,” says Spittgerber. “Going to CSU and being involved in the Department of Music taught me the value of hard work and perseverance.  I found that with passion and commitment, anything is possible.  I feel very equipped and ready as I take this next step in this great adventure of life!”

Click here to visit Grace Orphange Africa

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Bonnie Schaffhauser Jacobi is the new assistant professor of music education at Colorado State University. For 19 years, she has been a music education specialist teaching students of all ages throughout Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Texas. She has directed 11 children’s choirs that have performed at professional venues such as the Houston Ballet, the Houston Symphony, and Miami City Ballet. In 2008, she founded the Meadows Community Youth Chorus in Dallas, Texas, for elementary-aged children without music in their schools.

Dr. Jacobi holds music degrees from the University of Houston (D.M.A. in music education), the University of Texas at Austin (M.M. in piano performance), and Mount Holyoke College (B.A. in music). Additionally, she holds Kodály Certification from Indiana University and McNeese State University, and has completed rigorous training programs at Carnegie-Mellon University’s International Dalcroze Institute, the Juilliard School’s Abramson-Dalcroze Institute, and the TCU/Van Cliburn Piano Institute in Fort Worth, Texas. With a strong background in classical dance, her research interests include musical gesture, musical expression, and the teaching of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. She has published articles in American Music Teacher, Southwestern Musician, Texas Music Teacher, the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, and the Kodály Envoy. She presents actively as a clinician and lecture-recitalist.

At CSU, Dr. Jacobi will be teaching undergraduate and graduate coursework in music education, overseeing the Colorado Kodály Institute, and serving as a faculty adviser for CSU’s Collegiate MENC Chapter.

Alumni Spotlight

Above: Elizabeth Oakes as a drum majorette in 1941. In Colorado State University’s Military Band at the time, women were not allowed to play instruments.

As she walks through the University Center for the Arts, Elizabeth Oakes can still hear the sound of her 1933 Lorée oboe echoing through the renovated corridors. As she enters the Organ Recital Hall, she remembers looking out of the big, overarching windows while singing with the choir, and at 91 years old she can tell you the exact spot where her prom was held in the old Fort Collins High School. As a senior and music student at FCHS in 1937, she couldn’t wait to become one of six to start classes at Colorado State University’s new Department of Music.

“I had so much happiness playing music in high school. When it was time to go to college, I was just so glad there was something fun to get a degree in,” says Oakes. “The music program started in what was called the conservatory building on Laurel Street and College Avenue in 1937. There were only three instructors; Mr. Bueche, Mr. Lang, and Mr. Gavert, and they taught all the music classes that are spread across the UCA now!”

Catching the streetcar from her home on Mountain Avenue to College Avenue every day, Oakes would go to FCHS, pick up the Lorée oboe she loaned her brother for his music classes at the high school, and then arrive to a class or a practice at CSU, ready to play. Oakes played in the Symphonic Band and Orchestra, but it was in the chair of the Department of Music Gregory Bueche’s military band that she “twirled” instead of played.

“When Mr. Bueche first came, he formed a band that was essentially a military band. There was quite a military here then. Girls weren’t allowed to be in that group, so my friend Nadine Reitz and I became the drum majorettes and led the band, but neither of us could twirl,” laughs Oakes.

In 1941, Oakes and other members of a woodwind quartet went on a tour of Colorado high schools in an effort to interest students in the new Department of Music at CSU. After visiting Craig High School, Oakes was offered two positions at the school; choral director and English teacher. After she married and raised four children, she periodically gave private oboe lessons and taught in the public school system until retiring in 1984.

Now Oakes plays whenever she can in her hometown of Cheyenne, Wyo. She’s been playing in her band, the Staff and Clef Woodwind Quartet, for more than 40 years.

“Everything I needed to further my love of music is because of this school,” says Oakes. “I was taught how to share music with others. I know how fortunate I have been in teaching and continuing on with my passion. I just want people to know that.”


Alumni Homecoming and



Family Weekend Oct. 15-17


This year, the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance has made a new effort to offer Homecoming and Family Weekend  events that appeal to all music alumni. Please visit us in Fort Collins for these truly special performances.


Friday, Oct. 15
Griffin Concert Hall, UCA 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 17

Griffin Concert Hall, UCA 2 p.m.
All-Mozart Concert featuring CSU’s Sinfonia Orchestra and Top Choirs, and special guest pianist Hou Runyu.

Pianist Hou Runyu, director of orchestra at East China Normal University in Shanghai, joins the Sinfonia orchestra, conducted by Wes Kenney, for Mozart’s Piano Concerto, No. 17 in G Major, KV453. The orchestra, Chamber Choir, and Concert Choir conducted by James Kim, come together for Mozart’s last piece, the beautiful Requiem Mass. An alumni reception will be held after the concert.

Buy tickets to the All-Mozart Concert

If you plan on attending the post performance alumni reception, please RSVP to music alumni relations coordinator Marilyn Bistline by e-mail at or by phone at (970) 491-4030.

Saturday, Oct. 16
Ram Town,  Hughes Stadium,   9:30-11:30 a.m.
Alumni Band, Alumni Choir, and Music Alumni tailgate at CSU’s Alumni Association tailgate.



We will have a pregame tailgate lunch for our alumni at the Alumni Association’s tailgate. Enjoy food, beverages, and music while meeting up with other CSU alumni. The fee is $10 for Alumni Association members and $15 for non-members. To register for the tailgate click below to visit CSU’s Homecoming and Family Weekend website.


Registration deadline for the Alumni Band, Alumni Choir, and Music Alumni tailgate is Friday, Oct. 8 at 5 p.m.


You can buy exclusive alumni tickets to the CSU vs. UNLV game by clicking here The North end zone tickets are $28 and include a CSU T-shirt and voucher for a hot dog and soda. Pick up your T-shirt and voucher at the Alumni Center on Friday, Oct. 15  between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. T-shirt sizes will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.

The CSU vs. UNLV Homecoming Game starts at 12 p.m. at Hughes Stadium.


Friends of the University Center



for the Arts


Do you remember the energy you felt as you played your solo during an ensemble performance?

Did your jaw drop the first time you heard your daughter’s aria?

Is the Marching Band’s halftime performance your family’s favorite part of a football game?

Music education at Colorado State University makes these moments possible. Our students learn how to inspire, teach, and heal with their music. Our faculty forges connections between talented musicians and students in Fort Collins and around the world. Our new building, the University Center for the Arts, houses museums, music, theater, and dance venues, creating a backdrop for world-class performances in the community.

And we cannot do any of this without you.

As an integral part of our community, you are invited to become part of the “Friends of the University Center for the Arts” membership association at Colorado State University. As a member, you will have access to our stellar performances, our forward thinking students and most importantly, you will be given the recognition you deserve.

By becoming a “Friends of the UCA” member, your contribution will fund:

Student scholarships

Innovative academic endeavors

The placement of high-quality instruments in every classroom

Student international travel opportunities

The search for top-quality faculty

Soloist: $50

Subscription to the School of the Arts weekly events E-newsletter

Subscription to “Friends of the UCA” quarterly E-newsletter

Name in Department of Music performance programs

Discounts at various area restaurants

Artist: $100

All of the Soloist-level privileges, plus:

Preferred seating at any Virtuoso Series concert or student ensemble concert of your choice

“Friend of the UCA” discount at CSU Bookstore

An audio CD featuring highlights of CSU music ensembles

Invitation for two to the Annual Faculty performance


Virtuoso: $500

All of the Artist-level privileges, plus:

Special invitation to Scholarship Concert

A seat named after you in the Griffin Concert Hall

A “Friends of the UCA” lapel pin

Maestro: $1,000

All of the Virtuoso-level privileges, plus:

Membership in Colorado State University’s 1870 Club

Give your gift to music at Colorado State University by clicking on the box below.

If you have already given your gift to the Department of Music this fiscal year, please contact coordinator of music alumni relations Marilyn Bistline by e-mail at or by phone at (970) 491-4030 to confirm your membership status.


Stay Connected …



Once a Ram Always a Ram!


Ever wonder what happened to that talented tenor after graduation? Would you like to organize an all-percussion reunion, but don’t have anyone’s mailing address? By filling out the class notes section of the website, you can finally reconnect with old friends from Colorado State University.
This is a great way to catch up with and relive the memories you made with your classmates at CSU.

Click below to visit our website to read alumni news, receive important Homecoming and Family Weekend information, and to stay up-to-date on Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance news.