If it wasn’t for her high school band director, Bill Coble ’54, Rebecca Strutt Frazier ’59 would not have studied at Shenandoah and her life would not be what it is today.
Coble took Frazier to several nearby colleges to audition in voice and trombone, but encouraged her to look into Shenandoah Conservatory when he found out she wanted to become a band director and music teacher. She had always known from a young age that she loved children and wanted to teach.
In 1959, Frazier graduated from Shenandoah with a Bachelor of Music in Music Education and Voice. Frazier became a teacher at Burlington Elementary School in Roanoke, Virginia, where she taught until her retirement in 1999. During her time teaching, Frazier received the Roanoke County Outstanding Teacher Award and was recognized by Who’s Who in their American Education publication. Though retired, Frazier stayed part of the school system, working as a substitute teacher until 2009. She also loves to sing with the system’s Thursday Morning Music Club chorus and Salem Choral Society, play piano, and stay involved with her church.
Frazier said the most rewarding part of being a teacher is, “when adults call my name, ‘Mrs. Frazier, I had you as my teacher!’ and see what wonderful things they have done with their lives.”
Some of Frazier’s fondest memories of Shenandoah are meeting her late husband, Creed F. Frazier III ’59, making lifelong friends, going to concerts and plays, and Shenandoah’s Dayton landmarks like Silver Lake and the Kissing Rock.
She says although Shenandoah was small and she had financial trouble during her time in college, the professors worked hard to give the students a wonderful education. Her favorite professors were Madge S. Keiter (Class of 1909), Richmond McCluer and Andre Aerne. She liked that Keiter loved Shenandoah and her students, McCluer challenged his singers with his music selections for performances, and Aerne believed in her and wouldn’t let her be lazy when it came to her voice lessons.
“I am now 80 and still have a pretty decent voice thanks to Mr. McCluer and Mr. Aerne,” explained Frazier.
Frazier has always been involved with Shenandoah through the Dayton alumni, but being asked to serve on the Alumni Board of Directors again has opened up new ways for her to be involved with the university and meet new board members.
“I love Shenandoah!” exclaimed Frazier. “I am so proud of the many things that have been done in Winchester and the new things to be done there coming soon. I want to be a part of it financially and with my time.”