News Column

Iowa State alumni return to remember former classmate

July 6, 2014

By Anthony Capps, Ames Tribune, Iowa

July 06--Alumni of Iowa State University's music program will return to campus Sunday for a third recital.

This year's concert, the ISU Voice Alumni Concert, will feature more than a dozen performers and benefit a voice scholarship endowment for encouraging and supporting promising young singers.

The endowment and first concert began after Joey Wilgenbusch, who graduated in 2005, tragically died in 2011 from a heart attack stemming from a birth defect.

At the time of his death, Wilgenbusch, a Victor native who earned his master's degree at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y., was working professionally in New York City.

Cathy Compton, the organizer of the concert, was the person who started the alumni concert as well as the scholarship fund in his name. She was in Germany singing when she found out Wilgenbusch had died. The idea of a benefit came up when she was flying back to the U.S.

"When he died, I caught a flight and came back, which was a long and sad trip back," she said. "It was on that trip that I was thinking it didn't make sense. In processing how Joey would want me to deal with it, the idea came to me. It's a way for his legacy to live on in a different way."

Compton had performed with Wilgenbusch before and the two briefly overlapped while at ISU. Compton, who lives in Boulder, Colo., said the concert was part of her grieving process. The first one in 2012 was more like a memorial with Scott Siepker, best known as the Iowa Nice Guy and who was also Wilgenbusch's roommate, serving as emcee. A total of $25,000 was raised that year.

"That first concert was for a lot of people who couldn't make it to the funeral or were still processing his death," Compton said.

The concert was also a coming together of alumni and old friends, so a second concert was done the following year.

Now, the concert is just as much about alumni getting together and catching up as it is about remembering Wilgenbusch.

Jodi Goble, lecturer of music at ISU, has been at the university for five years.

She played piano for Wilgenbusch and Compton at a concert and also saw Wilgenbusch when he guest spoke to some students.

She said the concert has become a part of the strong alumni involvement in the department.

At the concert, Goble will accompany singers such as Ted and Elyse Brimeyer, Cathy Compton, Beth Deutmeyer, Katharine Hensley, Cindy Moeller, Anne Shelley and Joe Matson.

Performers are coming from surrounding states, such as Illinois and Nebraska, and even New York. The music, which is mostly solo pieces, ranges from bluegrass to opera to musical theater both classic and contemporary.

"There are at least two centuries of music covered here," Goble said.

There's no admission to the concert but free will contributions will go toward the endowment in memory of Joey Wilgenbusch.

ISU Voice Alumni Concert

When: 2 p.m. today

Where: Martha Ellen-Tye Recital Hall, Music Hall, ISU campus

Cost: free, donations benefit endowment in memory of Joey Wilgenbusch

The concert will run for about 90 minutes.


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Source: Ames Tribune (IA)

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