ALPINE Donald Callen Freed anticipates attending a host of concerts, shows and cultural events as a spectator, instead of a director/organizer.
The Sul Ross State University professor of music will retire Aug. 31, after 13 years’ service, and 31 total in collegiate music instruction.
Overall, Freed’s professional music career encompasses more than 45 years, including teaching at the post-secondary and secondary levels, and as a church choir director, organist and private voice teacher. As a songwriter and composer he has nearly 75 published works to his credit, winning a number of American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) composition awards.
Prior to retirement and a subsequent move to Omaha, NE, he will serve as vocal music director for the Sul Ross summer musical, “Man of La Mancha,” and the Theatre of the Big Bend production, “Smokey Joe’s Café.”
“I have no professional plans (upon retirement), but my schedule will be full with attending events including the Omaha Symphony, Omaha Community Playhouse and Opera Omaha,” he said. “There is also a ‘Broadway Blitz’ – five shows in two and a half days – on the agenda. In addition, I look forward to having more time to compose.”
Freed, a native of Loomis, NE, received a Bachelor of Music degree (1974) from Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln; a Master of Music (1978) and Ph.D. (1991) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Prior to coming to Sul Ross in 2005, he taught at Peru (NE) State College, Nebraska-Lincoln and Hastings (NE) College. He also was an instructor of music for the Music Mentor program at Norris High School, Firth, NE. He has served as a choirmaster and organist at numerous Nebraska churches.
He has performed his original compositions in numerous venues and has written a host of book reviews, articles and papers.
During his Sul Ross tenure, the number of music majors has risen from six to a high of 25, with over 20 prospective majors who have applied for enrollment in Fall 2018. Freed said the recent retitling of the Bachelor of Music degree “offers students more opportunities — including a music business track – for careers in the music industry.”
“I try to model my own university teaching after collegiate-level chorale and vocal instruction, and things that work well for teachers to teach in schools and to interact in the communities they serve,” he said. “I try to make a university education work for them in the settings in which they may live, and I also teach non-majors to help them integrate music into their lives at non-professional levels.”
“I have always enjoyed my work with students, especially in voice and choral settings. Being able to help students improve or discover they have a talent…when that light goes on, that is a special moment,” he said.
“With the help of my colleagues, we have built up a standard in the (Fine Arts) department. We have quality people here to maintain the program, and I believe I am leaving it in better shape than I found it.”