Music, School of


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts, Major: Music. Under the Supervision of Professor Peter A. Eklund. Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2008
Copyright © 2008 Rebecca C. Gruber.


This is a history of the choral music program at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln (founded 1869). Resources from the Nebraska State Historical Society, the Archives and Special Collections of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, scrapbooks and files from the University of Nebraska School of Music, and its precursor, the University School of Music, have been examined to create a narrative of choral music activity and a list of choral music repertoire. The early years are studied, before the choral ensembles were a formal part of the curriculum, when choral/orchestral performances were a result of collaboration with the city of Lincoln. Major choral conductors at the University and their unique contributions are profiled, with special attention to two pioneering women conductors from the early days of the program, Ermina Cochran Menzendorf and Carrie Belle Raymond.

The University School of Music, a proprietary school where students received their individual music instruction, was a positive influence on the choral music program through the efforts of its visionary administrator, Willard Kimball. John Rosborough and his student choral ensemble brought national fame to the University and invaluable training in a cappella choral repertoire. Arthur Westbrook re-organized the School of Fine Arts, developing the choral program by assembling fine faculty, recruiting from the high schools, and accommodating the changes brought to campus by the Second World War. David Foltz and Earl Jenkins were the major choral conductors throughout the post-war expansion and well into the 1970s, who with their colleagues Dale Ganz, John Moran, Raymond Miller, and Carolee Curtright administered a choral program with a healthy range of performing opportunities. The formation and growth of ensembles, their make-up, their rehearsal and touring habits are examined. Lists of choral repertoire and a record of choral performances are included as an appendix. Brief biographical sketches of choral composers at the University, along with several representative compositions are included. Choral repertoire trends are examined, as is the way those trends mirrored national changes in choral music making.

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