How Music Affects Us All

Written by on April 27, 2021

The music department has been hard at work this past year. They have overcome mask wearing, social distancing, and smaller than usual in person audiences; but through all this the music has still been able to shine and sing its way through the school year. There are still two more concerts on the docket to close out this semester- April 27 and May 6- and they will all be available online for streaming by the student media team at KWU. Leading the music department pack to success has been Dr. Milt Allen, acclaimed musician, director, and hiker. He is well respected between students, faculty, and staff and truly cared for at Kansas Wesleyan. We asked KWU students what a difference it has made to have such a supportive department head especially during times of turmoil like this pandemic. 


Abby Wray | KWU Student Media

Tammy Houston, freshman music theatre major says, “Dr. Allen has impacted me by making me not feel stupid in classes, and convinced me to take up trombone again. He has all-around been the best teacher I have ever had. He was the first person since I was nine years old to sing me happy birthday. In this tough time he has kept me fighting. He is probably the nicest person I have ever met. He has become someone that I am very happy to say is in my life. Hands down best director and teacher I have had. He has a way of being so compassionate and making you feel seen.”

Micah Bolton, sophomore music education major says, “Dr. Allen has the biggest heart for his students and his faculty. He took this university and started from scratch to create a program like no other at a KCAC school. He never stopped fighting for us as students. As a teacher, I have learned so much in his classes, it’s grown me as an individual and as a musician more than I could’ve anywhere else in the Midwest. During COVID-19 he checked on his students all the time. It’s just super clear to see his heart for you as a student and he was prepared to prepare you to be the best you, you could be.” 

Bradyn Houltberg, sophomore music education major says, “Dr. Allen has been a great role model of what a teacher should be. As a future music educator, Dr. Allen has inspired me to keep going in my career path. He has always been there for us as students through our best moments to our worst. When life was shut down and we had school online, Dr. Allen encouraged us to keep doing our best and would even have meetings one on one to help us through the difficulties of learning online. Dr. Allen is a kind, caring, and loving person who finds joy in watching his students succeed. His advocacy for the music department and his students is an inspiration to us all. He has truly turned us into a family unit.” 

Madeline Norrell, sophomore (former) choir kid says, “Dr. Allen is like the sunshine running around on campus, he is always positive when things go wrong. When COVID-19 first came around and we were on our choir tour we were all so scared because we didn’t know what was happening and he calmed us down and we still had so much fun. He has really given me a passion to go out and do what I love and to be courageous. He has given me a family here on campus and friends that I will love for the rest of my life.” 

Robert (Bobby) Robinson, sophomore choir kid says, “Dr. Allen has been such an amazing impact in my life in the 2 years that I’ve known him. As a department chair, he fought for us to have so much of our department modernized. When I had him as a teacher he would always make sure to check in with me and the other students to make sure we actually understood what we were talking about in class and always found a way to put it in a way we could comprehend. As a director, Dr. Allen has challenged us to play some of the hardest repertoire I have played and found a way to make it seem easy. During the craziness that has been Covid, Dr Allen has always made it his mission to make sure that we don’t fall into a slump if he can help it. He’s constantly trying to make things as upbeat and fun as possible so that for even just a moment we can ignore the outside world and enjoy what’s in front of us. Doc will always have a place in my heart from all that he’s done to help me grow and learn about music, the world, and even myself.”

Abby Wray | KWU Student Media

Elizabeth Shaefer, sophomore choir kid says, “Dr. Allen is one of the reasons that I stayed at this college. During COVID-19 I contemplated leaving or changing my major. He pushed me to keep going after my dreams. He is one of the kindest professors we have at Kansas Wesleyan.” 

Sydnee Smith, sophomore music education major says, “I have gotten to know Dr. Allen pretty well in the two short years we have both been at KWU. Not only is he the chair of the music department and the director of bands, but he has been an amazing professor and role model for the students here. For as long as I’ve known him, Dr. Allen has gone above and beyond for any and all students to make sure that they are successful in whatever they want to do. Dr. Allen has inspired me to continue on my career path and pushed me to not give up in the face of hard times. He has pushed this department through the hard times of staff turn over every semester he has been here, COVID 19, and too many more difficulties to count. Dr. Allen is a kind, considerate, loving human with a heart for his students and music.” 

Abby Wray | KWU Student Media

Emma Turner, sophomore music education major says, “Dr. Allen makes learning music fun and enjoyable. He always has a new approach to music. During COVID-19 he made it a priority to stay in contact with us and check up on us. He is one of the main reasons I am a music major! He has a huge heart for his students and truly cares about our success. His love and passion for music is infectious.”

King Fanane, junior choir kid says, “Dr Allen has impacted my life in more ways than one. Not only did he help me better understand music, but also the relationship you have with music when you perform. When Covid first hit the US we were on our choir tour. Dr. Allen made sure that we were aware of the situation and circumstances we were in and made it clear that our safety was his #1 priority. He bats for his students and makes sure that they feel heard.

Trevor Matthews, junior vocal performance major says, “Dr. Allen is wonderful person to have around the music department. He is very approachable and I love sparking up conversations about music and audio with him. What impacted my life from Dr. Allen is having the ability to have an open mind about music itself-whether that being listening to musiccomposing music, and even talking with other peers about music. It helped me appreciate music more as an art form versus something you can take for granted.”

Mariam Oubaid, junior cellist says, “He really made a huge effort to get all the departments able to perform again this year which has been a huge blessing because of how many students across the country [that] unfortunately did not get that opportunity! I am very appreciative of that.” 

Lorenz Rincones, junior choir kid says, “I think Dr. Allen was a great addition to the music program. He really helped put structure back into the programs, so they could rebuild and improve for the students’ education. Honestly I don’t have many personal stories with him, but every single time he came into classes or I saw him in the hallway, he always found a way to make me laugh, smile, or just said something encouraging. Dr. Allen just had this infectious energy around him that made you want to learn, participate in his activities, and just knew how to keep his students engaged.

Paula Rolph, senior music theatre major says, “Dr Allen always has been a very kind presence, and that’s something I’ve always appreciated. He’s been positive, always looking to the bright side of a situation, even when things were looking kind of hairy. He was always willing to listen when you were having trouble with something, or were even just having a bad day. He always had something silly to do or say to brighten even the worst day. Having that kind of person in the department really helped to build a positive and productive atmosphere, and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to work with him.”

Abby Wray | KWU Student Media

It’s clear that the student consensus is overwhelmingly positive. We are happy to have such a talented music department head and director here at KWU. Make sure you check out all the upcoming concerts and events going on with the music department the remainder of the semester, Dr. Allen and his students will most certainly be ending on a high note.

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