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The Swinney Conservatory at Central Methodist University added two more portraits to the entranceway to the band room on Saturday. Students will now pass by Professors Keith House and Skip …
The Swinney Conservatory at Central Methodist University added two more portraits to the entranceway to the band room on Saturday. Students will now pass by Professors Keith House and Skip Vandelicht, along with Keith K. Anderson and Thomas Birch, every afternoon.
The portraits were unveiled Saturday morning as a part of the Homecoming festivities.
“It was high time we added to that wall and recognized a couple of Central alumni who served the college from 1972 to the present day,” said Marvin Manring, ’85, who presided over the ceremony.
Dr. Dori Waggoner, Head of the Swinney Conservatory, and Prof. Vandelicht together unveiled the portrait of Prof. House, one of the great band directors in Central’s history.
Prof. House graduated from Central in 1949 and led bands in Hamilton and Lee’s Summit before beginning an illustrious career at Central. From 1972 until his retirement in 1995, House led the Eagles bands, producing eight albums of marches and two albums of circus music.
“Prof. House set a high standard of musicianship and conduct for his students,” Manring said. “His ability to bring a group of band students together into something greater than the sum of its parts was legendary across the Midwest. And it was shown by his induction into the American Bandmasters Association.”
Prof. House passed away in 2005 but left a legacy of some of the finest band directors across the state of Missouri.
One of those band directors is Skip Vandelicht, who retired in the spring after leading Eagle bands for 10 years. Before that, he set a standard of excellence at Fayette High School that continues today.
“Skip represents a wonderful example of the long links in the Central band tradition,” Manring said.
Vandelicht played under a Central graduate as a student at Fulton High School before playing here under Keith House’s baton. In 1983, while teaching at Fayette, Vandelicht took over the marching program at Central Methodist.
“As a high school band director, Skip mentored and coached a countless number of student teachers from Central,” Manring said. “His influence on future music educators and the future of music education in our state is immeasurable.”
Vandelicht’s wife, Melody, daughter Adrian, and granddaughter, Addison, helped unveil the portrait to enthusiastic applause.
“This is a special place. And for someone to think that I deserve to be hanging with those other guys up there, it just doesn’t get any better than that,” Vandelicht said during an emotional speech. “It was fortunate that the stars aligned, and I was able to come back here to finish my career with amazing students and colleagues. This is beyond words.”
Vandelicht recalled walking past the portraits of Anderson, Birch, and the original picture of House on the way to direct the band every day and felt the standards they set before him. “To think that someone thinks I am worthy of that, that’s pretty amazing.”
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