Ellen Clement, the choral director from Marquette Senior High School, and David Erfourth, the choral director at Rudyard High School, were the recipients of the 1993 U. P. Choral Leadership Award.
Ellen Thoren Clement received a bachelor's degree in music from Northern Michigan College, and a master's in piano from the University of Michigan. She brought these talents back home to Marquette where for 25 years she has been influencing the course of choral music in both the Marquette Area Public Schools and the community.
Ellen has consistently led, or perhaps pushed, her music students to levels of excellence that they may not have thought possible. Her choral groups have received state honors, and individual students have been state solo finalists. The Redman Chorale has been invited to compete at the national level four times, finishing first in Washington, D.C.
Because of her interest and encouragement, many of Ellen's students have gone on to make music their lives' work, either in teaching or performance. She gives her students a wide variety of musical experiences, through madrigals, musicals, solos and small ensembles, competitions, and travel, including a trip to Europe in 1988. Her students who have gone on to major in music have felt they were excellently prepared for what was required of them at the college level. And because of the example she sets through her tireless work and many extra hours, these students have become better teachers in their own school systems.
Ellen's influence on music in the community is as extensive as it is in the school system. She has been the choir director at St. Peter's, St. John's, and St. Michael's Catholic churches. She is a charter member of the Marquette Choral Society and Community Theater, and founder of the Marquette Boys' Choir and the Redman Chorale. She is a co-founder of the Marquette Male Chorus and has been its very dedicated director since 1981. Ellen has accompanied the Northern Michigan University Arts Chorale to Europe to assist and serve as accompanist.
Ellen has been honored by her peers by having been selected to direct the All State Men's Ensemble, and by tying for State Teacher of the Year.
David Erfourth has a bachelor's degree in music from Northern Michigan University. After teaching for a short time in the Gladstone school system, he returned to Rudyard where he has been the school choral director, elementary through high school, for the past nineteen years. He and his students have had a very positive effect on their community because of the excellence of his music program.
David's high school chorales, as well as individual members of them, have very often earned division I ratings at the various Solo and Ensemble festivals in which they have participated. Several of his students have also been able to participate in the Upper Peninsula Youth Choir. Beyond that, he has instilled in his students a sense of responsibility to their community, both through helping with community needs such as the local hospice and Senior Citizen Center, and through their deportment when they are away from home.
He has so fostered the appreciation of music in his students that many have participated in music in college, some have majored in music, and two have become professional performers. Whatever his former students may do after high school, however, many pay David their tribute of getting in touch with him when they return to the area.
David's involvement with music does not stop with his school program. For the past two years, he has directed the Hiawathaland Community Chorus, thus giving adults the opportunity to learn and perform great choral music. He is also the choir director at the Saint James Lutheran Church. We are assured that he conducts both of these with great humor and enthusiasm.
He brings the force of his personality, his sense of humor, energy, and enthusiasm to his commitment to music in his community. The musical talent which he exhibited as early as kindergarten and the dedication with which he uses that talent have been an inspiration to his students and to their parents. He is a truly dedicated teacher.