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Ratte Award Winner Strikes the Right Chord

September 23, 2012

Called a “true Renaissance man,” Ethan Allred B.A. ’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,” says 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.

Eleonora Beck, James W. Rogers Professor of Music, also took note of Allred’s research skills as he completed his senior thesis on Francis Poulenc’s music, which was composed during the German occupation of Paris. His thesis was recently recognized as the best student paper by the Pacific Northwest chapter of the American Musicological Society. “Allred is one of the finest students I have taught in my 18 years of teaching music history at Lewis & Clark,” Beck says. “He is intelligent, gifted, driven, and kind.”

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

Says 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 toward spreading the knowledge of music through my community.”

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