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Music Alumni to be Honored at Homecoming

Music alumni honors
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Homecoming weekend 2018 will include the annual Pops Concert and recognition of this year's music alumni honorees.

Three Nebraska Wesleyan University music alumni will be honored during homecoming festivities.

Judy Welch (’00) will receive the Outstanding Music Alumni Award. Welch teaches music at Kooser Elementary School in Lincoln and also leads several afterschool ensembles. She is the creator and artistic director of the Nebraska Academy of Vocal Arts, a nonprofit children’s community choir in Lincoln. She has taught private piano, voice and violin lessons for over 30 years. Welch served as assistant conductor of the Lincoln Choral Artists, under the direction of William Wyman, professor of music at Nebraska Wesleyan. She was commissioned an admiral in the Nebraska Navy for her work in music education and was awarded the Outstanding Young Music Alumni Award from NWU in 2006. 

Deah Harriott (’01) is also being recognized with an Outstanding Music Alumni Award. A classically trained musician and pianist, Harriott has been honored with numerous awards in teaching, singing, piano performance and directorship. She is frequently requested lead and background vocalist for various artists, serves as a vocal clinician, music director and accompanist. She currently lives in Harlem, N.Y. where she serves as the minister of music at Bethany Baptist Church and music director at Marble Collegiate Church. This year Harriott was featured on Harry Connick Jr.’s daytime talk show and recently made her HBO debut on the hit series, “Random Acts of Flyness.”

Eric Wyler (’13) will receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Wyler is the director of choral music at Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He directs four curricular choirs and a varsity show choir and jazz choir. He also serves as the music director at St. John Lutheran Church. He is pursuing his Master of Music Education degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and will defend his thesis next spring.

In addition to celebrating its accomplished alumni, the Department of Music will present its annual homecoming Pops Concert on Sunday, October 7. The NWU Symphonic Band’s performance is the first concert in a series titled, “Saturations.” Sunday’s concert titled, “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue,” will feature NWU music professor Larry Jones performing George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” 

The concert will also feature Gustav Holst’s “First Suite in E-flat,” Steven Bryant’s “Suite Dreams,” David Biendenbender’s “Melodius Thunk,” and Robert Sheldon’s “Sound Innovations.” The Symphonic Band will also transform into a backup gospel choir for a performance of Aretha Franklin’s “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

The free concert begins at 5 p.m. in O’Donnell Auditorium, located inside the Roger’s Center for Fine Arts at 50thStreet and Huntington Ave.