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Press Release



September 10, 2016


New music instructors to lead exciting class offerings


David SmithA pair of former Cowley College students have returned to teach in the school’s Music Department. David Smith was recently hired as the director of vocal music and will teach music theory and applied voice, while Evan Ricker was hired as the director of instrumental music.

Smith will direct both the Concert Choir and CC Singers, and Ricker will direct the Concert Band and Jazz Band while also teaching music appreciation classes.

For more information or to enroll for classes in Cowley College’s Music Department contact 620-441-5303.

Smith holds degrees from Cowley College (A.A., 1984), Southwest Baptist University (B.S. in Music, 1986), Pittsburg State University (M.S., 1990 and Ed.S., 2009 in higher education; M.M. in choral conducting in progress), and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.C.M. in church music, cum laude, 1997). He has also completed doctoral coursework in music education at the University of Kansas; graduate work in choral conducting at Westminster Choir College, studying with Weston Noble, James Jordan, and Simon Carrington; and graduate work in education and psychology from Pittsburg State University and Emporia State University.

He worked at Cowley College in the early 1990’s as an admissions counselor as well as teaching music part-time at the school’s Mulvane Center. He has also taught at Highland Community College in Highland, KS, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO, Central Community College in Columbus, NE, Neosho County Community College in Chanute, KS, and Newman University in Wichita, KS. He comes to Cowley from Independence Community College where he served as Dean of Instruction and Chief Academic Officer.

“When I was a student at Cowley I was involved in all the bands and choirs, but my primary interest was in the choirs,” Smith said. “Ken Judd was the choir director here at that time, and he was my main inspiration in wanting to teach vocal music at this level of higher education. Not only that, but I hoped that one day I would be able to do that here at Cowley.”

Smith is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, serving on the board of the Kansas Choral Directors Association and the Southwest Division of the American Choral Directors Association; the National Association for Music Education; the College Music Society; and the National Association of Scholars.

As a student at Cowley, he was chosen as the Outstanding Freshman Musician, Outstanding Sophomore Musician, and Outstanding Overall Musician. He was also inducted into the Alpha Gamma Upsilon Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, serving as chapter president in 1983-84. At Southwest Baptist University he was chosen as a University Scholar (1985) and as Outstanding Music Graduate (1986). He was the graduate choral assistant at Pittsburg State University in 1986-87. He was a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Music Education and Music Therapy at the University of Kansas, along with serving as assistant conductor of the KU Concert Choir in 1999. In 2006, while teaching at Neosho County, he was awarded the NISOD Award of Excellence.

He has performed as a tenor soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah and in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. As a conductor he has performed such works as Vivaldi’s Gloria, Saint-Saëns’ Christmas Oratorio, Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, and Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata. He has been the musical director for productions such as Annie, Get Your Gun; The Wizard of Oz; Godspell, The Fantasticks; You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (as well as starring the title role at the same time!); Annie; Once Upon a Mattress, Sister Amnesia's Country Western Nunsense Jamboree; and Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical.

“I have a wide range of experiences that are not just musically oriented,” Smith said. “I believe this gives me an unusual point of view when approaching issues related to instruction and administration of the program. I also hope to bring a continued vision of success and fulfillment, not only for the students involved in the program, but also the College and community as a whole. I hope students will see their experience in the program as rich, varied, and fulfilling, as well as fun whenever possible. I also look forward to establishing many new relationships with colleagues and community members as well as students.”

Ricker began studying piano when he was in the fourth grade and then began studying percussion in the fifth grade. His passion for music really ignited in high school.

He started his college experience at Cowley in 2002 before transferring to Kansas State University. He finished his schooling at Wichita State University where he obtained his BM in performance (wind conducting) and music journalism prior to completing his MM in performance (orchestral conducting) in 2014.

Ricker has served on the marching band staff at both Wichita Heights High School and Valley Center High School. He recently finished his second semester as an adjunct faculty member at Butler Community College.

He was interested in returning to teach at Cowley College due to his previous experience at the school.

“I hope to bring a renewed sense of passion, enjoyment, and curiosity toward music,” Ricker said. “I have always felt that everyone is and can be musical, and that people need artistic outlets in our lives. So, whether someone is studying music as their major, or playing for pure enjoyment, music is vital to humanity.”