Alumni & Friends

UNI School of Music always loves to hear from alumni and friends. Have you been performing, educating, traveling, composing, conducting or otherwise involved in your community since graduating? Contact Us and let us know! Or fill out our online Alumni Response Form and keep us posted on your newest projects. And when you’re in the Cedar Falls area, there is always an opportunity for you to visit and show your school spirit by supporting an event or stopping by to say hello.

Alumni News 2012


‘48 Rosie Irene (Maiden) Bolstad, BA, has composed numerous original works in 2011-2012, and is continuing work on her recording projects including, “Rosie Irene’s Best Yet” and two other projects.

‘50 Patricia (De Koster) Echelberger, BA, and spouse, Kenneth, celebrated their 50th Anniversary by taking their whole family on a 10-day Hawaiian Islands cruise. Patricia remains active in retirement and is in her 43rd year as a Girl Scout leader. She remains active in her church and with teenage granddaughters, and taught swimming for 26 years. Her love of travel has taken her to 48 states and Scotland, Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, and Belgium.

‘50 Ted Herbst, BA, Germantown, WI, is retired and loving life.

‘51 Milt Mikesh, BA, MA '55, Waterloo, IA, a WWII veteran and retired professional musician and school band director, was inducted into the UNI School of Music Jazz Hall of Fame in April 2012. He is currently a member of the UNI New Horizons Band and conducts the Northeast Iowa Community Band.

‘52 Elly (Stettler) Leslie, BA, San Diego, CA, was inducted into the UNI School of Music Jazz Hall of Fame in April 2011. Additionally, she published a memoir "Now Let's Go Sin."

‘53 Ray Holtz, BA, MA '60, Ashland, OR, is performing in two concert bands: a German band as euphonist, and a 17 piece big band jazz ensemble he formed as director and lead trumpet player.


‘60 Janice (Gideon) Cuffel, BA, Marion, IA, retired from teaching piano and organ in her private studio, and as organist for churches in the Cedar Rapids area, most recently organist & Coordinator of Music Ministries at Cedar Rapids First Presbyterian Church. She was an accompanist in the area, including 2 years at Kirkwood Community College, and occasional keyboardist with the CR Symphony Orchestra. She is married to Jerry G. Cuffel, BA ‘60, MA ‘69, retired Industrial Tech teacher at CR Kennedy High School.

‘60 Connie Speake, BA, Chicago, IL, Professor Emeritus, Northeastern Illinois University, retired in December 2005 after teaching 45 years. She then went to Armenia for 3 ½ years as a Peace Corps volunteer. She participated in a Road Scholar elderhostel program studying Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Waters in April 2012. She enjoys playing piano and gardening.

‘64 Elizabeth (Wade) Carlin, BA, Ogden, UT, retired from teaching in May 2011.

‘68 Sheri Greenawald, BA, San Francisco, CA, is director of the Opera Center at the San Francisco Opera. She celebrated 10 years at the San Francisco Opera in May 2012. Sheri traveled to Beijing, China in August 2012 to participate in "I Sing Beijing" as a guest master artist.

‘68 Connie (Worl) Venti, BA, Aguanga, CA, continues to operate two private voice and piano studios in southern Riverside County, CA, with about 40 children, teen, and adult students. She is active in the Temecula Valley Music Teachers' Assoc. of CA (MTAC) and is a state adjudicator for MTAC's Certificate of Merit program. She and spouse Arnold have a 4yr old granddaughter.


‘73 James Linahon, BA, served as Chief Sound Engineer on a recording project for the Taipei Jazz Orchestra in Taiwan.

‘75 John Harbaugh, BA, Ellensburg, WA, Associate Professor at Central Washington University, released a solo trumpet CD "New Vistas", accompanied by spouse Teresa (Thompson) Harbaugh, BM ‘76. He was trumpet soloist at Seattle Symphony's Benaroya Hall for Hovhaness’ 100th Birthday Concert, has performed in pit orchestras for touring Broadway shows "9 to 5", "South Pacific", "Color Purple", and "High School Musical", and his CWU trumpet ensemble performed at the 2011 International Trumpet Guild Convention.

‘75 Jeffrey Tower, BA, Hemet, CA, was inducted into the California Jazz Hall of Fame. He is the youngest member to earn this honor.

‘76 Julee Nagel, BM, Tucson, AZ, recently retired as senior business manager after 27 years at the University of Arizona.

‘78 Brian Usher, BA, Colorado Springs, CO, retired June 2011 after teaching and performing for 33 years in Colorado Springs area schools, last at Jenkins Middle School, where the jazz band was, in 2007, the only CO band to pass the audition process and performed at the Midwest Clinic in Chicago. Many former students are now band directors or professional performers.


‘80 Patricia (Cahoy) Cunningham, BM, Auburn, NH, was named Merrimack High School's 2011 Teacher of the Year, and was clarinet soloist with the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra in April 2012. In 2010 she presented "Hands on Clarinet" at the New England Band Directors Institute.

‘83 Douglas Huey, BM, leads the Doug Huey Jazz Project and is a featured soloist with the Jazz Coalition Big Band and the Northern Iowa Jazz Sextet. Huey performed in 8 concerts with the Jazz Coalition Big Band from December through May and is currently teaching at the Learning Center in Mason City, IA.

‘84 Mark Moore, BA, Burlington, IA, collaborated with Mark Matthews, of Australia, on a 2012 Grammy submission of a Lutheran Hymns album. He attended an Interlochen Alumni reunion with his Jazz Quintet, was involved in the Burlington and Fort Madison Art Guilds' events, a Bart Howard Room performance, and, with Burlington "Friends of the Depot", repainted the #3003 Steam Engine. He is owner of Mark Moore Productions in Burlington.

‘88 Mark Walters, BA, was featured in a live broadcast of a new Finnish opera “Rockland” aired July 2011. Walters was also named the Olson Artist for the 2011-12 season with Florida Grand Opera. This honor is given to one outstanding American artist each season and coincided with Walters’ performances in the title role of Rigoletto with FGO in January-February 2012.

‘89 Anne (Jackson) Jaeckel, MM, Corydon, IA, currently serves as Band and Choir Director at Wayne Community Schools. She is married to Eric Jaeckel, MA ‘87.

‘89 Eileen (Meyer) Russell, MM, has been teaching full-time at the university level ever since her graduation from UNI in 1989. Eileen’s teaching positions included time at Vincennes University, Austin Peay State University, Del Mar College and Texas A&M. Russell currently serves as associate professor of low brass and theory at Southwestern University. She recently released an album with fellow UNI graduate Delaine Fedson as the duo Unique Conversations.


‘91 Ann Osborne Gribbins, BM, currently serves as the Iowa All-State Orchestra Chair. Gribbins also serves as Orchestra Director at Irving Elementary, Whittier Elementary, Indianola Middle School and Indianola High School.

‘93 Mark Overton, BS, and Elke (Hollingworth) Overton, BM '93, Saint Louis, MO, are owners of Saxquest Vintage Saxophone Shop, voted best music store in 2008, along with a Sax Museum, voted best museum in 2011, by the Saint Louis Riverfront Times.

‘93 Kariann (Sullivan) Voigts, BME, appeared as guest artist with the Wavery-Shell Rock Symphonic Band. After graduating UNI, Voigts earned her master’s degree from Indiana University and performed with the United States Air Force Band of the Rockies in Colorado Springs, CO. Voigts was a founding member of the Solar Winds Clarinet Quartet.

‘95 Daniel Mahraun, MM, MM ‘96, Saint Paul, MN, is in his 2nd season as member of "The Rose Ensemble" in the St. Paul, MN area. He also serves as section leader in the Minnesota Chorale and maintains a private voice studio.

‘96 Sha Appenzeller, BM, El Mirage, AZ, is a baritone in his 3rd season with the Grammy Award winning Phoenix Chorale. In February 2012, the chorale released the recording "Northern Lights: Choral Works by Ola Gjeilo," which includes five premiere recordings and three commissioned by or for the Phoenix Chorale, and has reached #4 on the Billboard Traditional Classical chart. Sha has previously sung with Opera Colorado, Opera Theatre of the Rockies, Colorado Springs Symphony, Phoenix Symphony, San Antonio Opera, and the San Antonio Symphony.

‘96 Jeff Smith, BM, is a Resident Artist of the American Lyric Theater Composer Librettist Development Program where he is writing a one-act opera with librettist Magda Bogin called “The Silence in the House”. Other current projects include a musical, “Lightning Man”, which received a developmental production at Tisch School of the Arts and was presented as part of the ANT Fest 2011 at Ars Nova. Jeffrey is also working on a duo percussion piece to be performed in a series of concerts in Iowa and Hungary in 2013. 
‘97 Eric Allen, MM, wrote and published a book titled “Success in All Keys”. The book recently received positive reviews in The Horn Call (International Horn Society) and The International Trumpet Guild Journal.

‘99 Kathleen (Sander) Basi, MM, Columbia, MO, published sacred musical works with World Library Publications and GIA Publications, and is currently writing books and articles for magazine markets. She and spouse Christian welcomed their 4th child in Dec 2011.

‘99 Bryan Van Gelder, BM, Tucson, AZ, is director of music for Rincon United Church of Christ. He is a member and frequent soloist in the Tucson Chamber Artists (TCA), who recently premiered a TCA commissioned work by Stephen Paulus for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Bryan, a stay at home parent, lives with wife Natalee (Kluis) Van Gelder, BA '99, MA '01, a special education teacher at Rincon High School, and sons Caden (6) and Keeran (5).


‘00 Benjamin Fox, BM, MM, '08 has recently moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he is the director of high school bands at the American School of Dubai. He previously taught in Lima, Peru at the American School of Lima from 2008-2011 as director of middle school music. Fox previously worked in Dubai from 2001-2006 starting the secondary music band program at Dubai American Academy. 

‘00 Nicki (Hagen) Inman, BA, Eads, TN, graduated in June from Leadership Memphis, a prestigious program which has been shaping community leaders in the Memphis area since 1976.

‘00 Amanda Schroder, BA, Minneapolis, MN, currently serves as the Events and Individual Gifts Manager at MacPhail Center for Music.

‘01 Suzanne Hendrix, BM, MM '06, Charles City, IA, was named one of six winners of $10,000 awards at the 41st annual George London Foundation Awards Competition for young American and Canadian opera singers February 2012 in New York, NY, and sang the role of Azucena in the Wichita, KS Grand Opera performance of Il Trovatore that same month. She returned to the Santa Fe Opera as an apprentice artist, singing the role of the fortune teller in Arabella in summer 2012. She teaches voice at Avila University in Kansas City.

‘01 Eric Miller, BM, Cornwall, NY, concert band trumpet section leader in his 10th year with the West Point Band, has been afforded a myriad of opportunities to perform, including with NY Philharmonic on numerous occasions (3 concerts in July 2011), at Yankee Stadium (including 2003 World Series, first game in new stadium, and 2011 ALDS). As a chamber musician, he has traveled extensively with the West Point Brass (quintet), and serves as Publicity Division Chief of the West Point Band. He is married to Trina (Modlin) Miller, BA ‘01.

‘02 Kyle Albertson, BM, Houston, TX, sang in the finals of the 41st annual George London Foundations Awards Competition in New York, NY, for promising American and Canadian opera singers held Feb 13-17, 2012. He is currently in the studio of Dr. Steven King, and his upcoming engagements include covering Bretigny in Manon at the Metropolitan Opera.

‘02 Tony Butterworth, BM, Monticello, IA, is in his 4th yr as 7-12 band director at Western Dubuque Jr/Sr High in Cascade, and working on his masters degree. He and wife Kara (Breitbach) Butterworth, BA '03, are the parents of 6 and 3 year old daughters and a son born June 2011.

‘02 Austin Kness, BA, was featured in the role of Brühlmann in the San Francisco Opera’s fall 2011 production of Massenet’s “Werther”.

‘03 Allison (Hasselbrink) Griesel, BM, Peoria, AZ, is teaching K-5 general music and show choir at Verrado Elementary School in Buckeye, AZ.

‘05 Eliza Bangert, BM, Chicago, IL, plays flute in the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, 3rd flute/piccolo with Southwest Michigan Symphony, freelances around the Chicago area, and also does orchestral library work for the Grant Park Symphony and AWR Music.
‘06 Christian Anderson, BM, Chicago, IL, has performed with the Wisconsin Philharmonic and the Milwaukee Symphony, and taught at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in summer 2010. In fall 2010, Christian was offered a position as principal trumpet of the Beijing Symphony Orchestra. He often enjoys performing as sub with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

‘06 Claudio Re, MA, Gambier, OH, earned a PhD in Music History and Literature at the University of Florida. In 2011-2012, he was visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, where he conducted their concert wind ensemble and taught music history.

‘07 Sharra Wagner, MM, Kansas City, MO, is in her 3rd year of DMA program in clarinet performance at UMKC Conservatory of Music, and is married to Aaron McNally, BA ‘02. She is clarinet instructor at UMKC Community Music and Dance Academy.

‘08 Stephen Fish, BM, Cedar Falls, IA, a grad student at UMKC Conservatory of Music, was the first singer to walk onstage on the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s opening night production of "Turandot" at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City in October 2011. Fish, a bass baritone, was understudy to the lead, American opera legend Samuel Ramey.

‘08 Evan Smith, BM, Seattle, WA, premiered two pieces at the World Saxophone Congress XVI, in St. Andrews, Scotland, in July, including one by UNI professor Jonathan Schwabe. Smith recently finished the first year of his DMA at the University of Washington, where he also teaches jazz history. He is playing in a number of different jazz and classical groups in the Seattle area, and will return to Iowa in the fall to perform a recital at UNI on October 25th.

‘09 Renée Rapier, BM, MM ‘11, made her professional opera debut with the Los Angeles Opera singing the role of Stephano in Gounod’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Rapier was previously a participant in the LA Opera Young Artist Program and the Merola Opera Program. She also appeared at the Boston Early Music Festival with La Donna Musicale, and recently began an Adler fellowship with the San Francisco Opera.

‘09 Jeffrey Waldschmitt, BA, Ankeny, IA, was appointed as staffing manager in the ticket office at the Des Moines Civic Center in November 2011.

‘09 Daniel White, BM, Bettendorf, IA, will be associate conductor for the 8 month national tour of "Shrek: The Musical" with NETworks Presentations, one of the biggest touring companies in the country.


‘10 Cory McBride, BM, is a music educator with the East Buchanan School District in Winthrop, IA. In summer 2011, Cory’s music program was awarded the $50,000 Pepsi Refresh Campaign award. The funds are being directed toward replacing instruments in the band program. A video detailing the award and Cory’s band program at East Buchanan can be seen at

‘10 Bobby Williams, BM, Bettendorf, IA, is director of two vocal jazz ensembles and two concert ensembles at Pleasant Valley High School. "Jazz Etc..." performed at Best of Iowa Jazz Championships, and along with "Treble Makers" and Concert Choir, received Division I ratings at State contests. He teaches private voice and sings in the Quad City Choral Arts Ensemble.

‘11 Hannah Leffler, MM, Waterloo, IA, performed a flute recital in February 2011. She serves on the flute faculty at the Northeast Iowa School of Music and manages a private studio in the Waterloo area. She performs with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and is a principal substitute flutist for the Waterloo Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra and the Dubuque Symphony Orchestra. She has won the James E. Saied Silver Medal at the Crescendo Music awards and the Theodore Presser Award for excellence in music.

‘09 Michele (Gilson) Jacobson, BM, married Riley Jacobson in August 2011.

‘01 Shaun Boyle, BA, and Marybeth Boyle, Altoona, IA, son Joshua Daniel Boyle born July 16, 2011.

‘03 Allison (Hasselbrink) Griesel, BM, and Andrew Griesel, Peoria, AZ, daughter Brinkley born February 12, 2010, and daughter Blaire born May 8, 2012.

‘08 Jason Shadrick, MM, and Cindy (Schlei) Shadrick, MM ‘08, Cedar Rapids, IA, daughter Layla Kay Shadrick born November 11, 2011, joins big brother Parker.

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