Graduate honored with gift to university

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    The headline on this story was corrected at 11:30 a.m. April 9 to more accurately reflect the article.

    The university had a surprise for an alumna Tuesday evening after her performance with a world-renowned opera singer in Ed Landreth.

    Chandler Smith, director of development, said it was a collaborative effort to create the Laurana Rice Mitchelmore Master Series Endowed Fund, after receiving several requests to honor Mitchelmore, a ’61 graduate.

    The endowed fund will pay for a concert and a master class that focuses on accompaniment for collaborative music, Smith said. In a master class set to take place today, Mitchelmore will critique performances for several TCU pianists and vocalists.

    “The idea is to teach students the art of accompaniment by bringing these musicians here for a concert and then following it the next day with the master class,” Smith said.

    The proceeds from Tuesday’s benefit concert and outside donations totaled more than $65,000, Smith said.

    At the end of the concert, Richard Gipson, director of the School of Music, presented Mitchelmore with the news that this concert was the first of a series paid for by an endowed fund in her honor.

    Mitchelmore said she was surprised and stunned upon receiving the award.

    “It is great to be back here,” Mitchelmore said. “Ed Landreth is where I spent a lot of my time, and the halls are not so changed.”

    The concert was the first time the mezzo-soprano opera singer Frederica “Flicka” von Stade and Mitchelmore played a duet together in Texas.

    “One of the things that is so evident with Laurana is her amazing devotion to music,” von Stade said. “She is always just so happy, and it is evident in her music.”

    The Mitchelmore family has connections in the world of music that will be tapped into to bring world-class musicians and accompanists to campus, Smith said.

    Mitchelmore has toured with von Stade throughout the U.S., France, Spain, Ireland and Monaco. Tuesday’s performance was her second at the university. Her first was in 1973.