A pair of former Cowley College students have returned to teach in the school’s music department.
David Smith was hired recently as the director of vocal music, and will teach music theory and applied voice, while Evan Ricker was hired as the director of instrumental music.
Smith will direct both the Concert Choir and CC Singers, and Ricker will direct the Concert Band and Jazz Band while also teaching music appreciation classes.
For more information or to enroll for classes in Cowley College’s music department, call (620) 441-5303.
Smith holds degrees from Cowley College (associate of arts, 1984), Southwest Baptist University (bachelor of science in music, 1986), Pittsburg State University (master of science, 1990 and education specialist, 2009, both in higher education; master of music in choral conducting, in progress), and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (master of church music, cum laude, 1997).
He also has completed doctoral coursework in music education at the University of Kansas; graduate work in choral conducting at Westminster Choir College, studying with Simon Carrington, James Jordan and Weston Noble; and graduate work in education and psychology at Pittsburg State and Emporia State University.
Smith worked at Cowley College in the early 1990s as an admissions counselor and taught music part-time at the school’s Mulvane Center.
He also has taught at Highland Community College; Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.; Central Community College in Columbus, Neb.; Neosho County Community College in Chanute; and Newman University in Wichita.
Smith comes to Cowley from Independence Community College, where he served as dean of instruction and chief academic officer.
“When I was a student at Cowley, I was involved in all the bands and choirs, but my primary interest was in the choirs,” Smith said.
“Ken Judd was the choir director here at that time, and he was my main inspiration in wanting to teach vocal music at this level of higher education. Not only that, but I hoped that one day I would be able to do that here at Cowley.”
Smith is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Education, College Music Society and National Association of Scholars, and serves on the boards of the Kansas Choral Directors Association and the Southwest Division of the American Choral Directors Association.
As a student at Cowley, he was chosen as the Outstanding Freshman Musician, Outstanding Sophomore Musician and Outstanding Overall Musician.
Smith also was inducted into the Alpha Gamma Upsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, serving as chapter president in 1983-84.
At Southwest Baptist University, he was chosen as a University Scholar in 1985 and as Outstanding Music Graduate in 1986. He was the graduate choral assistant at Pittsburg State University in 1986-87.
He was a graduate teaching assistant in the department of music education and music therapy at the University of Kansas and served as assistant conductor of the KU Concert Choir in 1999.
In 2006, while teaching at Neosho County, he was awarded the NISOD Award of Excellence.
Smith has performed as a tenor soloist in Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” and in Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony.”
As a conductor, he has performed such works as Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” Saint-Saëns’ “Christmas Oratorio,” Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” and Daniel Pinkham’s “Christmas Cantata.”
Smith has been the musical director for productions such as “Annie Get Your Gun,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Godspell,” “The Fantasticks,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (and starred in the title role, as well), “Annie,” “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Sister Amnesia’s Country Western Nunsense Jamboree” and “Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical.”
“I have a wide range of experiences that are not just musically oriented,” Smith said. “I believe this gives me an unusual point of view when approaching issues related to instruction and administration of the program.
“I also hope to bring a continued vision of success and fulfillment — not only for the students involved in the program, but also the college and community as a whole. I hope students will see their experience in the program as rich, varied and fulfilling, as well as fun whenever possible. I also look forward to establishing many new relationships with colleagues and community members, as well as students.”
Ricker began studying piano when he was in the fourth grade, then began studying percussion in the fifth grade. His passion for music really ignited in high school.
He started his college experience at Cowley in 2002 before transferring to Kansas State University.
Ricker finished his schooling at Wichita State University, where he obtained his bachelor of music degree in performance (wind conducting) and music journalism prior to completing his master of music degree in performance (orchestral conducting) in 2014.
He has served on the marching band staff at both Wichita Heights High School and Valley Center High School. He recently finished his second semester as an adjunct faculty member at Butler Community College.
Ricker was interested in returning to teach at Cowley College due to his previous experience at the school.
“I hope to bring a renewed sense of passion, enjoyment and curiosity toward music,” he said.
“I have always felt that everyone is and can be musical, and that people need artistic outlets in our lives. So whether someone is studying music as their major or playing for pure enjoyment, music is vital to humanity.”
This information was provided by Cowley College Director of Institutional Communications and Public Relations Rama Peroo.