Alumni News


Sharing Your Stories…


What have you been up to?
Take a moment to share YOUR story with the VanderCook family.  Professional news, personal news, relocation, family additions...we'd love to hear it.  PIctures are welcome!
Send your information to: Cindy Tovar at


Steve Szurek B.M.Ed. 1991

Steve Szczurek (now Fr. Victor) was recently made Headmaster (i.e. Principal) of St. Michael's Preparatory School, in Silverado, CA. He also serves as organist at St. Michael's Abbey, the monastery in which he lives.

Corey Ames B.M.Ed. 2007

Corey Ames, director of bands at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, IL travels to Dublin, Ireland August 29 to participate with Loyola’s football team in the 2012 Global Ireland Football Tournament  (GIFT). Loyola Academy will be taking a 12 member pep band for a 6 days visit to the Emerald Isle. Marching bands, cheer squads and alumni groups gather forces to put on a true ‘Dublin Friday Night Lights’ celebration in multiple stadiums. Follow Corey and the Loyola entourage at: for updates throughout the trip.

Paula Paris B.M.Ed.  1976, M.M.Ed.  2003 

Teaching Career: DeForest Area School District, Taught K-6 General Music, 3rd & 4th  Choir 'The Music Connection', 5th & 6th grade choirs  First teaching job: Oregon Wisconsin, 1976-1979, Orchestra Director grades 4-12

Paula notified us of her retirement this spring:
“Someone who was very instrumental in helping me decide to take my first teaching position was H.E. Nutt.  When I was offered the position in Oregon, WI, I called him from Madison, WI.  We had a 45-minute phone conversation about teaching strings.  (I was a flute player and a vocalist.)  He encouraged me and told me that I could do it! He was right!
I ended my career teaching general music and the choir.  I established the 3rd and 4th grade choir.  It was called 'The Music Connection'.  We rehearsed Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7:30-7:55.   It was amazing how the kids would come into the rehearsal and work on our music!  No discipline issues!  We sang!
I also began the 5th  grade choir at our middle mchool.  Membership averaged around seventy 5th  graders.
Teaching has been such an inspiration to me!  I have enjoyed every minute of it!  I was given something upon my retirement that I never expected.  The Music Parents established a scholarship for graduating seniors that will be pursuing a degree in vocal music in my name.  What an honor!”

Chris Hughes M.M.Ed. 1997

In spring 2012, Chris Hughes was named Director of Bands and Associate Professor of Music at New Mexico State University where he will conduct the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, teach graduate and undergraduate conducting, and coordinate all aspects of the university band program. He returns to the USA this summer after a four-year adventure as Director of Bands for the College of Music at Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand. Chris has developed an impressive international profile that includes engagements in Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Australia, in addition to Thailand. He remains grateful to VanderCook professors Dr. Charles Menghini and Dr. Roseanne Rosenthal for their guidance and to his high school band director, Mr. David Funk (M.M.Ed. 1991), who is also a VanderCook alumnus.



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