Written by | Alma Bustamante |
Both Amarillo College and the AC music department received the Golden Nail Award April 7 for their community partnerships and support of the fine arts in the area. During their 34th annual gala, the Golden Nail Awards recognizes individuals and businesses that have made a noticeable contribution to fine arts in this area. Michelle Fortunato, chairwoman of the board of regents, accepted the award on behalf of the school, while Steven Weber accepted the award on behalf of the music department.
“It was a great honor for me to accept the award on behalf of the music department,” said Weber, chairman of the department. In his acceptance speech, Weber recognized two former department chairmen who have strengthened the fine arts not only at AC but in the community. According to Weber, Dr. Dale Roller was a visionary who implemented ideas to engage the Amarillo community with the AC music department.
“There is not a person who loves Amarillo College or is more invested in Amarillo College like Dale Roller,” Weber said. Also recognized by Weber was Dr. Jim Rauscher, a piano instructor and former department chairman, for helping cultivate the ideas and making the AC music department an important part of the arts in the community. Roller’s ideas helped organizations such as the Amarillo Master Chorale, Amarillo Youth Choirs and the Suzuki program to develop and exist, Weber said.
The music department is known for its high standards and high quality of teaching. “I feel like this department is a dream team department,” Weber said. Mary Jane Johnson, a voice instructor, said it is a great department where students get to experience opportunities to grow and learn.
“We are very much like a small family,” Johnson said. “We are proud of what we do here.” Not only is the music department recognized locally but also nationwide, since AC also is accredited with the National Association of Schools of Music for its music department, making it one the top departments in the nation.
The faculty has helped increase the quality of the department, but after this semester is over, things will be different. Rauscher will be retiring and Weber took a job at Wayland Baptist University and will leave after the summer. Although some faculty members are leaving, Weber said the quality and standards of the department will not change. Weber said he believes that with the restructure of the fine arts departments into the new School of Creative Arts, the music department will be in good hands under the new leadership of Victoria Taylor-Gore.
“Vicky is a close friend of mine,” he said. “I respect her artistically. I think she is a phenomenal painter. “She is a smart lady, and she is sensitive to what’s required, and I think that’s really good leadership to have her there and to have representation at the dean level for fine arts.” Taylor-Gore said she is optimistic about the change. “We are going to keep on in the wonderful tradition that Dr. Weber and Dr. Rauscher established,” Taylor-Gore said.