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Ratte award winner strikes the right chord

May 22, 2012

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Evans Hall

Called a “true Renaissance man,” Ethan Allred ’12 is the winner of the 2012 Rena J. Ratte Award, the undergraduate college’s highest academic honor. The award recognizes excellence in scholastic, intellectual, and creative achievements, and is presented during the undergraduate Honors Convocation ceremony preceding commencement in May.

“Ethan is one of the best students I have taught,” said Katherine Fitzgibbon, assistant professor of music. “He combines deep intellectual curiosity, a tremendous work ethic and passion, the ability to make fascinating historical and musical connections, strong and elegant writing, sensitive musicianship, and delightful personal warmth and humor. He’s the kind of student one wishes would never graduate because he is such a treat to teach every semester.”

Allred’s passion for music goes far beyond the classroom. Last summer, he received a grant from Lewis & Clark to undertake a research project at the archives of the American Choral Directors Association in Oklahoma. He examined the papers of L. Stanley Glarum, who conducted Lewis & Clark’s choirs in the 1950s and 1960s.

After cataloging music, programs, letters, records, and other documents, Allred received permission to create a searchable online archive that will benefit future researchers into Glarum’s work.

“For years, Lewis & Clark music alumni have reminisced about their wonder years singing for L. Stanley Glarum,” said Sharon Bosserman-Benson, director of planned giving, who accompanied Allred on a trip to meet the Glarum family. “Thanks to technology, soon these people will be able to see, hear, and share with others highlights of this important time in the history of our music program. Glarum’s fans have Ethan Allred and the archive staff to thank.”

James W. Rogers Professor of Music Eleonora Beck also took note of Allred’s research skills as he completed his senior thesis, focused on the music Francis Poulenc composed during the German occupation of Paris.

After reading primary materials—all written in French—and uncovering unpublished documentation, Allred developed a compelling argument that Poulenc’s music had nods to the resistance movement and that Poulenc’s surge of writing during World War II demonstrated his dedication to French national style. Allred’s thesis was recently recognized as the best student paper by the Pacific Northwest chapter of the American Musicological Society.

An accomplished baritone, Allred had leading roles in opera productions, solos with the choir, and recital performances on campus. His artistic vision even extended to popular YouTube videos focused on campus life.

“Allred is one of the finest students I have taught in my 18 years of teaching music history at Lewis & Clark,” Beck said. “He is intelligent, gifted, driven, and kind.”

Allred’s intellectual capacity, positive attitude, and open mind ensure that he’ll be able to find work in a challenging field. This fall, he will begin a Ph.D. program in musicology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Said Allred, “Whether I end up teaching and studying music history, performing, or advocating for the arts—or, more likely, all three—I intend to put the experiences I have had at Lewis & Clark to use towards spreading the knowledge of music through my community.”

Learn about other Lewis & Clark recipients of prestigious awards.

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