2012 Alumni Award Recipients
Each year, the Linfield Alumni Association honors dedicated individuals for their hard work, innovation and generosity of spirit. Here’s a look at Linfield’s 2012 award winners.
Peter Ellefson '84 – Distinguished Alumnus
Peter Ellefson '84 has made a career of fine music – both performing and teaching.
Ellefson is a professional performer on the trombone and a professor of music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University-Bloomington, one of the world's most prestigious conservatories of music. In addition, he holds lecturer and artist-in-residence positions at Northwestern University and Roosevelt University. He has performed, recorded and toured with the Chicago Symphony and the New York Philharmonic, orchestras that he plays with frequently.
For his accomplishments, Ellefson has been named the Linfield College Distinguished Alumnus.
As a 10-year member of the Seattle Symphony, Ellefson made dozens of recordings with the orchestra, playing trombone, euphonium and bass trumpet and served as principal trombone for Seattle Opera’s renowned productions of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. He has participated in hundreds of recording sessions for motion pictures, IMAX, television and video games, working with such composers as Elmer Bernstein, Michael Giacchino, James Newton Howard, Michael Kamen, Basil Poledouris and Bill Conti. He has also backed entertainers as diverse as Linda Ronstadt, Burt Bacharach, Frank Sinatra Jr., Ray Charles, James Taylor, Manhattan Transfer and Yes.
Ellefson has a keen interest in chamber music and solo literature and has given concerto performances of works by such composers as Bloch, Bourgeois, Deemer, Dorsey, Grondahl, Guilmant, Larsson, Maslanka, Pryor, Pugh, Serocki, Tomasi, Rimsky-Korsakov and Rouse. He has extensive knowledge in the repertoire of both orchestral and chamber music and is also well versed in the commercial and jazz idioms. His chamber music credits include the Canadian Brass, Chicago Chamber Musicians, Chicago Brass Quintet, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet, Proteus 7 and Tower Brass of Chicago.
In addition to Indiana, Northwestern and Roosevelt Universities, Ellefson has also taught at the University of Costa Rica and the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, Calif. He currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the International Trombone Association and is on the Board of Directors of the International Trombone Association.
In addition to a bachelor’s degree from Linfield College, he holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University.
Ellefson said his liberal arts training has been invaluable to his career and life.“Linfield set me on a course of ‘loving to learn,’ that I will follow the rest of my life,” he said. “I wouldn't have achieved all that I have without the environment of support I encountered at Linfield.”
Hear Ellefson in concert Friday, Oct. 12, at 8 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield. It is free and open to the public. Learn more about Ellefson: http://www.peterellefson.com/.
BWC Committe – Alumni Service Award
It started out as a simple golf game, but nearly three decades later, the Bar West Classic (BWC) continues to bring together Linfield alumni.
For the group’s service to the college, the BWC has earned the Alumni Service Award.
The BWC had modest beginnings. Dressed in Wildcat colors of purple and cardinal red, co-organizers Steve Lathrop ‘71 and Gil Hargreaves ‘71 began gathering with Linfield friends around Homecoming shortly after graduating from Linfield. Word spread, numbers grew and the BWC was born.
Since then, the BWC has been operating reunions for alumni in the classes of the 1960s and 1970s. In recent years, the BWC has joined forces with Linfield to coordinate the 1971 reunion.Originally an off-campus event, the BWC barbecue soon moved to campus on Homecoming Saturday and it has become a college tradition. In addition to the barbecue and the annual golf tournament at the Bayou Golf Course, the BWC hosts a Casino Night with games, prizes and music. A highlight of each gathering is good food catered by Bill Hayden ‘70.
While many Linfield alumni help make the BWC possible, organizers Lathrop and Hargreaves deserve much credit. While they point out it's a "team" effort to make BWC possible and successful, without their efforts and leadership the BWC would not exist. The BWC are loyal Wildcat fans.
Erika Janik '02 – Outstanding Young Alumna
Two traits – curiosity and passion -- have served Erika Janik ’02 well over the years. It says so right on her website, aptly titled “Erika Janik: Curious About Everything. Passionate About Writing.”
Janik, a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio, is an historian and award-winning writer. For her achievements, she has been named the Linfield College Outstanding Young Alumna.
Interested in a variety of topics, Erika writes on local food and drink, Wisconsin history, medical history and green living, among other things. Her essays have been featured on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Wisconsin Life.” Her work has also appeared online at Smithsonian.com and in Mental Floss, Midwest Living, Isthmus, the Wisconsin Magazine of History, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Onion, My Midwest, Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine, and in the book" Renewing the Countryside: Wisconsin" (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007).
Originally from Redmond, Wash., Janik knows more about Wisconsin history than she ever thought possible. She is the author of four books: "Apple: A Global History"; "Madison: History of a Model City"; "A Short History of Wisconsin"; and "Odd Wisconsin: Amusing, Perplexing, and Unlikely Stories from Winconsin's Past". Both A Short History and Odd Wisconsin are bestsellers. She is the recipient of the 2011 Wisconsin Historical Society Award for Merit for History Writing and the 2012 Silver Prize for eHistory.
As a history student at Linfield, Janik learned how to research and do historical writing, which deepened her thoughtfulness, according to Peter Buckingham, professor of history and her advisor. “She is simply an amazing person with tremendous character,” he said.
Janik has a bachelor’s degree in history from Linfield, a master’s in American history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Janik will present “What can the history of the apple tell us about human history?” Friday, Oct. 12, at 3:30 p.m. in Room 222, T.J. Day Hall. It is free and open to the public. Learn more about Janik at http://erikajanik.com/.
Linfield Chamber Orchestra Board – Walker Service Award
Behind every longtime organization is a group of dedicated individuals.
In the case of the Linfield Chamber Orchestra, that group is the LCO board of directors, which has provided countless hours of service to bring chamber, and other, music to Linfield and the greater McMinnville community. The LCO has been guided by a volunteer board of community members including longtime members Nora Stevens '76, president; Bob Dodge, treasurer; and Kathy Bernards '76, chair of the financial resources committee.
The board’s commitment to the link between the college and the community make them worthy recipients of the Walker Service Award, honoring service to Linfield.
For 21 years, the LCO has represented a partnership between the college and the community, offering Linfield student musicians the opportunity to play alongside professionals and providing wonderful classical music concerts for the Yamhill County public. In 2012-13, the Music Department will coordinate a final LCO season; in subsequent years a broad array of concerts will be sponsored by the department under the "Linfield Lively Arts" banner.
Originally established in 1991 as a strings-only group called the Linfield Chamber Ensemble, the McMinnville-based group added a wind section in 1994 and changed its name to Linfield Chamber Orchestra. The series also grew to include four concerts, with one featuring chamber music and a smaller group of performers, often drawn from outside the college. Michael Gesme, who also conducts the Central Oregon Symphony in Bend, has served as music director since 2003. Former directors include Sylvain Frémaux, John Welsh, David Seamon and Huw Edwards.
The LCO has attracted world-renowned guest artists and professional musicians from across Oregon and southwest Washington for performances that rival some of the best concerts in the country.
The LCO has provided aspiring Linfield College students the opportunity to rehearse and perform alongside seasoned musicians, and every year since 2004, fourth-grade children in Yamhill County schools have been introduced to classical music through a youth concert presented especially for them.
Learn more about the Linfield Chamber Orchestra at www.lcomusic.org.
For more information, contact Debbie Harmon '90, director of alumni relations, by email or call 503-883-2607.