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Marietta College receives $1 Million Gift for Music Therapy Program

  • January 25, 2017 | Tom Perry

Marietta College President William N. Ruud is excited to announce a $1 million gift from Donald G. ’81 and Leslie Straub Ritter ’85 that will help start a Music Therapy program.

The College will begin an immediate search for a faculty member to head up the program and begin developing the curriculum in the fall of 2017, and officially start the program as a new major in the fall of 2018. More details regarding the new major and renovations to the existing music program will be announced later this semester.

Current and prospective students who are interested in the Music Therapy program now can work with Academic Affairs to make sure they are taking the appropriate classes that will eventually be incorporated into the new major.

“We are grateful for the generosity of the Ritter family. This gift holds special meaning as Don and Leslie first envisioned a Music Therapy program at Marietta about a decade ago, and their dedication has seen this project through to now,” Ruud said. “This is an exciting time at Marietta College. Don and Leslie saw a demand for the program, and we are glad they wanted to make this investment in Marietta. We will move quickly and start graduating high-quality Music Therapy students.”

Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Board-certified music therapists (MT-BCs) work in medical, psychiatric and educational settings to help clients improve psychological and physiological functioning.

“We are pleased to be in a position to start this program at Marietta. Music Therapy has been a cause near to us since our involvement with Blue Star Connection, and we have always thought the program would be an ideal addition to Marietta College,” said Don Ritter, Trustee Emeritus. “It is a major that should attract dozens of new students, enhance the offerings for current music majors, and help with the diversity needs of the campus — as 90 percent of the music therapists are female. Marietta is ideally suited to bring this program to the community, and it will also serve to integrate psychology into the broader mix at Marietta, and provide another professional program associated with the medical industry.”

Marshall C. Kimball

"We in the Music Department are incredibly grateful to the Ritters for this wonderful donation. Because of the size of the donation, this will change the face of the department at Marietta College and the entire College in many ways."

While Don has a long and distinguished career in oil and gas, he is also a director with Blue Star Connection — a charity that provides musical instruments for medically challenged children and young adults. Approximately 500 individuals and 54 hospitals have received support from Blue Star over the last 10 years.

The Ritters also founded Category 5 Amplification, a custom guitar amplifier company. They started the company in January 2006 and the company’s endorsing artists include musicians Brad Paisley, Joe Bonamassa, The Kenny Chesney Band, Warren Haynes and many more. Category 5 was specifically formed to support charities and to provide musicians an avenue for giving back.

“We also hope the renovation of The Gathering Place, with the addition of a recording studio, will enhance the offerings of the Music Department, help with accreditation of the music program, and provide a venue and opportunity to allow students to create music and bring live performances to a new level at Marietta,” said Leslie Ritter, who is a principal in Square Knot LLC — a consulting firm that specializes in executive coaching, merger integration and execution of human resource strategy. “In addition, there will be opportunities for non-music majors to form bands, rehearse, jam and build new relationships with students through the magic of music.”

The Ritters are also challenging the rest of the Marietta community to join them in enhancing the program further. There is a $500,000, 1-to-1 match available over the next five years to add an endowment and further bolster the program. Additional naming opportunities are available.

Marietta currently offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Bachelor of Music degrees in Music Education and Vocal Performance. Marshall Kimball, Chair of the Edward E. MacTaggart Department of Music at Marietta, is overjoyed the Ritters are making this investment in the arts at Marietta College.

“We in the Music Department are incredibly grateful to the Ritters for this wonderful donation. Because of the size of the donation, this will change the face of the department at Marietta College and the entire College in many ways,” Kimball said. “We will begin a national search for a Certified Music Therapist to write a curriculum and start up the program. That person will start in the fall of 2017, and recruitment for the first class will occur during the 2017-18 academic year.”

Don Ritter is the CEO of Endurance Resources — an oil exploration and production enterprise focused on the Delaware Basin, which is located in West Texas and Southern New Mexico. He helped found the company in 2008 following a successful career with Mobil Oil and then GeoMechanics International.

“Don and Leslie are dedicated members of the Marietta College community, and their gift mirrors our commitment to the liberal arts and strong pre-professional programs,” said Angela Anderson, Vice President for Advancement. “The Ritters are another shining example of passionate, caring and philanthropic members of The Long Blue Line.”

Long-Time Music Director in New Post

  • October 2016, from The Marietta Times

On Tuesday, April 19 the Peoples Bank Theatre in downtown Marietta will come alive with the sound of music as Marietta College’s Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble perform for the first time in the renovated venue.

A man of many hats, Marshall Kimball, the new music department chair at Marietta College, is happy to begin his new position within the department.

“I’m learning a lot, it’s been time consuming this summer, which I had not planned on,” explained Kimball. “And I’m sure there will be days, but I like it so far.”

Since starting working at Marietta College in 2006, Kimball has worked as an associate professor of music, director of the bands and instrumental activities and a percussion professor.

Prior to his employment at Marietta College, Kimball served as band director to many elementary, junior high and high school bands throughout Ohio, more recently at Marietta City Schools at which he was band director for 26 years from 1975 to 2001.

“The 44 years of teaching experience, a willingness to listen and talk to others about situations, organizational skills and good relations with the students I think are going to assist me a lot with the new job,” said Kimball.

Janet Bland, provost and dean of faculty at Marietta College, said she thinks Kimball will be a great fit for the position.

“He’s great with kids, he’s a pro and he’s got decades of experience,” said Bland. “Marshall is leading the department and we think he’s the perfect choice.”

She added that Kimball seemed to be a logical choice when looking to fill the position previously held by Daniel Monek, who accepted a job as the director of music at North Carolina State University to be closer to his family.

“We have people that have worked with us for years and are certainly interested in working with our students,” explained Bland. “He was very much the logical choice, he was a strong choice and he was willing, frankly.”

Bland said that it’s a tough position and not everyone wants to fill it.

“Not every faculty member wants to be an administrator or chair,” she said. “Marshall was enthusiastic.”

Marshall C. Kimball

"The 44 years of teaching experience, a willingness to listen and talk to others about situations, organizational skills and good relations with the students I think are going to assist me a lot with the new job."

Marshall noted that he has goals for the college and the music department and is eager to begin working on them.

“One of my goals is that we’re going to work really hard in the music department to help spread our story and what’s special in the college and our Edward E. MacTaggart Department of Music, both locally and regionally,” said Marshall.

He added that he’s also looking forward to working with his colleagues this semester.

“I’ve developed a theme for this musical performance this semester, and that is to collaborate to thrive not survive,” he said. “I am a firm believer that we are better together making decisions than one person making the decisions – none of us have all the answers.”

Most of all, though, Kimball is looking forward to working with the students.

“The best part of my job will always be imparting musical knowledge and sharing the love of music with others so music education can continue to go on forever, long after I’m gone from this life,” said Kimball. “It’s a unifying, warm, loving subject that can heal emotions and help people express emotions in non-violent ways.”

Music Department to host 12 concerts during 2016-17 academic year

  • September 2016

Marietta College’s Edward E. MacTaggart Department of Music is excited to announce it will conduct 12 concerts — as well as a piano festival — during the 2016-17 academic year, including the 90th annual performance of Handel’s Messiah.

It all starts with the Fall Choral Concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 28, at the First Congregational Church, 318 Front St., Marietta. This concert will feature the Marietta College Concert Choir and Women’s Choir. The Concert Choir is a select chorus requiring an audition, which also participates in a concert tour during the week following graduation in May. The Women’s Choir is open to all female singers, and even includes some Marietta College faculty.

The Fall Jazz Concert is an opportunity for the community to hear the Jazz Ensemble perform its first show of the year. It is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 8, in the Alma McDonough Auditorium.

One week later is the Fall Band Concert at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Peoples Bank Theatre in downtown Marietta. This concert is performed by the Symphonic Band, which is open to all wind and percussion instrumentalists regardless of college major. This concert is entitled “Music of Heaven and Earth” and will feature performances by both the Marietta College Symphonic Band and the Marietta College Wind Ensemble. The Symphonic Band is also open to faculty, staff and community members.

December is a busy month for the music program as it hosts four events: the second annual Children’s Choir Concert at 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 1, at the First Congregational Church; Messiah at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 4, at The Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption, 506 Fourth St., Marietta; the annual Tuba Christmas program at – which is organized and rehearsed all in one day – at 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10 in the Alma McDonough Auditorium; and Christmas with the Concert Choir at 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 11, at the Basilica.

There are no College concerts scheduled in January, but the Concert Choir will host its annual dinner and auction, with some exciting new additions, on Friday evening, Jan. 27. The College will also host the Ohio Private College Instrumental Conductor’s Association Honor Band Concert at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 29, at the Peoples Bank Theatre. The concert features band members from 23 Ohio colleges.

In February, there is a Sonatina Festival from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 in the Alma McDonough Auditorium. Then that evening the Oratorio Chorus is scheduled to join the River City Symphony Orchestra at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18 at the Peoples Bank Theatre.

The choir and bands get the month of March off, but return with three concerts in April starting with the Spring Jazz Concert at 7:30 p.m., April 18, in the Alma McDonough Auditorium. The Spring Band Concert is at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 25 at the Peoples Bank Theatre, followed by the Spring Choral Concert at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 28, at the First Congregational Church.

Also in April is the Leader in Residence Arts Advocacy Project with Donna Collins, Director of the Ohio Arts Council and former Executive Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, from April 21-22. There is also an Opera Workshop scheduled for those two days as well.

The season wraps with the Marietta Children’s Choir Spring Concert at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 4, at the First Congregational Church.

Director of Ohio Arts Council selected as 2016-17 Leader-in-Residence

  • August 2016

Donna Collins, Director of the Ohio Arts Council and former Executive Director for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, has been named the 2016-17 Schwartz Leader-in-Residence at Marietta College.

Collins will lead a year-long project that is designed to help students develop greater knowledge and skills in the advocacy of music and the arts. Dr. Gama Perruci, Dean of the McDonough Center for Leadership & Business, said the work conducted this year will include locating and identifying recent legislative action at the state and national level affecting the arts, identifying useful research in the area of arts advocacy and development and identifying up to date educational research on the role and positive outcomes of the educational system that demonstrates an active and effective music/arts program.

“I’m very excited about this LIR Project because it sends a powerful message to the community about the importance of the arts,” Perruci said. “It fits really well with the College’s core value of service to the region. Beyond that, it will also strengthen the ties between the city and the College. We are very fortunate to have Donna Collins as our next LIR, and I’m deeply appreciative of the Music Department to serve as the host for this year's LIR Project.”

The culminating project will be a music/arts festival to be held in downtown Marietta featuring music performances by various college and public/private school ensembles, visual art shows and theatre scenes. The goal is to make the community and schools increasingly aware of the many benefits of music and the arts.

“With the guidance of Donna Collins, the students selected for the project will develop a panel of individuals to present a panel discussion at the 2017 Marietta College Leadership Conference,” said Marshall Kimball, Chair of the College’s Music Department. “This panel discussion will address the educational benefits of music and the arts in the educational setting and its impact on the economics of the community.”

Collins has received the Alene Valkanas State Arts Advocacy Award from Americans for the Arts; Distinguished Fellow and Arts Administration Awards by the Ohio Art Education Association; VSA Ohio's Fran Bay Award; Executive Director recognition from the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network in 2003, 2008, 2011 and 2014; and induction into the Ohio Educational Theatre Association's Hall of Fame.

Collins was also honored by the Ohio PTA as a Life Member. Collins lives in Glenford, Ohio, with her husband, Howard. They have three sons: Timothy, Joshua and Ryan.

The Schwartz Leader-In-Residence Program, named in honor of Dr. Stephen W. Schwartz (1940-2006), the longtime dean of the McDonough Center, is designed to infuse leadership across the Marietta College campus. The McDonough Center works collaboratively with a department to bring to campus an outstanding leader in the department’s academic area of interest.

Located in Marietta, Ohio, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers, Marietta College is a four-year liberal arts college. Tracing its roots to the Muskingum Academy begun in 1797, the College was officially chartered in 1835. Today Marietta College serves a body of 1,200 full-time students. The College offers 45 majors and has been listed among Barron’s Best Buys in College Education and Peterson’s Competitive Colleges, and has been recognized as one of the top regional comprehensive colleges by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, as well as one of the nation’s best by Forbes.com.