Issuu on Google+

A Magazi n e of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Mi nistries Corp oration FALL 2014 | WINTER 2015

Ring Out


Fall 2014


Winter 2015

Ring out! “Come, let us make a joyful noise to God our Savior.” – Psalm 95 This we do, at least twice and sometimes three times a day, when the bell is rung for the Angelus. (The Angelus is a prayer honoring Mary who responded to God’s request that she become the mother of Jesus.) The bell is rung for the Angelus three times a day — 6 a.m., noon and 6 p.m. Our bell is over 100 years old and was given to us in 1898 by the parents of Sister Cecilia Boedigheimer, one of our foundresses. The bell was made in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. On August 15, 1898, it was blessed by Archbishop William Gross. The bell was installed in the belfry of our first Motherhouse building, which was on the north side of the Tualatin Valley Highway. The bell is also rung when the Gloria is sung at the Easter Vigil Mass and after a funeral Mass. After the funeral service, we use the bell to ring out joyfully and gratefully the number of years of life and the number of years in religious life of a recently deceased Sister. As each toll of the bell rings out, our hearts are filled even more with gratitude to God for the blessing that the Sister has been to our Community. May we each find a way to “ring out” our gratitude to God for the abundant gifts we have received.

Sister Charlene Herinckx ’66

“What art offers is space — a certain breathing room for the spirit!” – John Updike What a beautiful musing from Mr. Updike. Our campus offers space for artistic development and we celebrate this “breathing room for the spirit!” God dabbles in the palette of nature which is varied and abundant all around us, and programs which endeavor to honor the unique gifts of each person abound. Tiny tikes’ digits squiggle happily with finger paint and seasoned instrumentalists harmonize amidst sopranos and baritones as Valley Catholic School provides opportunities for art and music education that are the envy of many. Maryville’s person-centered care draws forth everyone’s creativity, celebrating God-given talents in our midst. The SSMO Foundation seeks to partner inventively with donors who support the wild, woolly pioneering imaginations of those who dream to do and become more. The Holy Spirit doesn’t only breathe here. She dances and whirls and gulps down great lungsful of inspiration. We are truly blessed!

Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen


Table of Contents 4 The Sisters’ Magnum Opus page 4

The joy of music is an essential part of life for the renowned faculty of Valley Catholic Music School.

8 Orchestrating a Music Program

Sister Denise Klaas pours love into every note at Valley Catholic Elementary School.

12 Stepping Up to the Podium

Influential teachers set the bar high for Valley Catholic orchestra director Travis Hatton. He passes the baton to his students each time he raises his own baton. page 8

16 Always Seeking a Fresh Direction

A “Trip to Neptune” began a journey that brought director Ginnie Sutfin to Valley Catholic.

20 Banding Together

Before the kickoff of a football game — before the tip-off of a basketball game — the Valley Catholic Pep Band is already in action. page 12

22 The Language of Music

As she did on stage, singer and pianist Terri Mersereau shines at Maryville.

26 Ring Out in Celebration

On the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus, 2014 was a groundbreaking year.

30 Expressions We Keep Deep in Our Hearts page 16

For pianist Eloise Kim ’10, music connects artists and audiences through a shared humanity.

32 Alumni Notes Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Sister Charlene Herinckx ’66, Superior General page 20

Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Ministries Corporation Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen, President Editor Barbara Kerr, APR Designer Todd Sargood

page 22

page 30

Contributors Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen, Meghan Blood ’09, Annabelle Groh, Sister Charlene Herinckx ’66, Jeff Szabo, Danielle Tomich

Spirit magazine is published by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon and their sponsored ministries. All rights reserved. Questions, comments or address changes: SSMO Ministries Corporation 4440 SW 148th Avenue Beaverton, OR 97078 503-644-9181

Cover photo by Jeff Szabo. Back cover photo by Todd Sargood. Travis Hatton’s photo with the Sunnyside Symphony appears courtesy Pamplin Media Group. Ginnie Sutfin was photographed at Portland Center Stage at the Armory on Aug. 29, 2014. 3


Fall 2014


Winter 2015

The Sisters’ Magnum Opus The joy of music is an essential part of life for the renowned faculty of Valley Catholic Music School.



very Wednesday after school, Maya Bedge, an eighthgrade student at Meadow Park Middle School’s Summa program, comes to Valley Catholic Music School for her music lesson with Misty Williams. “She’s always happy, she is always smiling and she always makes me smile,” said Maya. Williams is teaching Maya the harp. “I like how it’s different from other instruments and make me feel unique,” Maya said. What Maya values most, however, is Williams’ expertise. “I like learning from an expert,” Maya said. “Misty really knows how to play the harp.”

Maya knows a great teacher when she sees one. What she may not realize is that Valley Catholic Music School is home to more than a dozen of the finest musicians and teachers in Northwest Oregon who come to share their love of music with eager students just like her.

ƒ The Valley Catholic Music School faculty: standing (from left to right) Chris Miller, Virginia Maffitt, Beckie Hocker, Chris Swanson, Justin Bulava, Sister Juliana Monti and Collin Heade. Seated: Madeleine Gendron, Mila Bada, Sofia Zalmanova and Junko Gilliand. Not pictured: Sister Denise Klaas, Misty Williams and Anson Wright.

 Maya Bedge practices with the guidance of her teacher, Misty Williams.

Sister Juliana Monti, director of the music school since 1973, has attracted an array of talented artists as faculty. “The emphasis on quality teaching is outstanding,” said Sister John Therese Miller, director from 1965-1973. “We’ve had terrific longevity from our faculty.”



Fall 2014


Winter 2015

with the greater community. “I’d like to branch out more, to those off campus,” said Sister Juliana. “I’d like to see the program continue to grow and to add more students without compromising the quality of the instruction.”

The school offers instruction in a wide variety of instruments, including clarinet, flute, violin, viola, cello, bass,

The school’s Music Readiness program is being offered to preschoolers at Valley Catholic Early Learning School. Sister Juliana would like to see that expand. She currently teaches a Music Readiness class on Tuesday mornings for 4- to 5-year-old children not yet in kindergarten.

guitar, piano, drums, saxophone, voice, organ and harp.

One of the longest tenured faculty, Sofia Zalmanova, has been teaching piano at Valley Catholic Music School since 2000. “She’s one of the top piano teachers in the Portland area,” said Sister Juliana. “At Oregon Music Teachers Association competitions, Sofia’s high school students consistently win first place.”

For older students, the school offers — in addition to lessons from accomplished professionals, a large ensemble of instruments from which to choose and, soon, music theory classes — the advantage of performing. “There are three recitals a year at which each student performs,” said Sister John Therese. “Those experiences increase their sense of confidence and accomplishment and motivate them to grow.”

One of Zalmanova’s students, Benjamin Quiring, has been taking piano lessons with her for more than nine years. “During that time, she has passed on her love for music and desire for technical excellence to our son,” said Ben’s mother, Minnie Quiring. For Zalmanova, who has been teaching since she was 19, sharing her love of music is her first priority, providing students with a good foundation. “My students are like my kids,” said Zalmanova. “It’s so rewarding to watch them grow from playing ‘Twinkle Twinkle’ to a sonata.”

“A music professor from Lewis and Clark told me, ‘You have a very wellkept secret here. You can compete with any music group that’s teaching music in the Portland area.’” – Sister Juliana Monti

Anson Wright is one of the newest faculty members. A guitarist who has performed throughout the nation, Wright has worked with numerous jazz luminaries, including Grammy-nominated vocalist Nancy King and bassist Glen Moore. He has taught at numerous schools, including New York University, Pacific University and Portland Community College. “I’ve had the good fortune to study and perform with some extraordinary musicians,” said Wright. “I’m happy to give back what I’ve learned to the next generation of guitarists.”

Students also perform at the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) Convent as well as at Maryville and other adult care residences. “It teaches the students to see the value of visiting older people and how to interact with them,” said Sister John Therese. “We are in the business of educating students,” said Sister Juliana. “We educate the total person.”

Sister Juliana said, “A music professor from Lewis and Clark told me, ‘You have a very well-kept secret here. You can compete with any music group that’s teaching music in the Portland area.’”

Sister Adele Marie Altenhofen, president of SSMO Ministries Corporation, said, “Valley Catholic Music School personifies the core values of ‘Striving for Excellence’ and ‘Honoring the Unique Gifts of Each Person.’ Students of all ages are able to engage in an activity that stimulates the mind, challenges the

Sister Juliana and her faculty don’t want their program to be a secret. They want to share their love of music 6

Sister Juliana Monti (left) and Sister John Therese Miller have been making music together for more than 50 years, often in the chapel’s choir loft. Below right: Sister Juliana (left) and Sister John Therese (circa 1963).

coordination and lightens the heart — and this is all done in an atmosphere of caring and respect. God-given gifts are developed and polished such that individuals shine with accomplishment.” For the Sisters and their music faculty — who have dedicated their lives to music education — sharing the joy of music is their magnum opus. Sister John Therese put it simply: “Music is an essential part of life.”

The full score of instructors and their qualifications is available on the school’s website at



Fall 2014



Winter 2015

Orchestrating a music program

The growth of the orchestra can largely be attributed to Sister Denise’s teaching style. “My philosophy in teaching orchestra is to give them the opportunity. I have an unconventional orchestra. Usually in an orchestra you only have one or two percussionists. But if more students want to take part, I’ll give them the claves [wooden sticks that are struck together] or I’ll give them triangles. They have a prerequisite to take piano lessons or music lessons for at least a year, so they have some basic knowledge. So if 13 or 14 percussionists want to take part— I put them in. And if they keep up with the work, they’re fine.”

Sister Denise Klaas pours love into every note at Valley Catholic Elementary School.


wice a week after school, students from kindergarten to fifth grade arrive in the music room with their instruments and begin to warm up. As more students arrive, the room fills with a happy cacophony of instrumental sounds. Their conductor, Sister Denise Klaas, has no trouble bringing them to order. After the violins and cellos are tuned, with some help from volunteer parents, the Valley Catholic Youth Orchestra practice session begins.

“I love to bring my love of God and my love of music to young students.”

It’s just another day for Sister Denise, who seems to thrive on a schedule that would be overwhelming for most. She teaches music to 12 classes of 28 students each twice a week (that’s 336 K-5 children, and yes, she knows all their names). She teaches the fourthgraders to play violin during their music class time (that’s 56 beginning violin students). During lunch on Wednesdays and Thursdays, she leads two choirs, one of fourth-graders and one of fifth-graders. After school on Thursdays, she teaches hand bells to fifth-graders. On Mondays and Wednesdays after school, she works with the K-5 students in orchestra. It’s no surprise that Sister Denise Klaas’ name is synonymous with Valley Catholic Elementary School’s music program. Since 1991, when she began teaching music there part-time, Sister Denise has poured her heart and soul into the program, gradually increasing the size of the orchestra from about 15 members to 54, enhancing the fourthgrade violin program and adding more theory. “The time for general music classes increased from 30 minutes to 45 minutes twice a week. That gives me more time to teach theory,” said Sister Denise.

Student Denise Klaas at the organ in the oldest church on the campus of Boise State University in 1975.



Fall 2014


Winter 2015

That kind of flexibility is also evident in her fourthgrade violin classes. This year, one of her fourth-grade students is learning the string bass, so Sister Denise sets her up to play bass while the other students play violin. There are usually one or two fourth-graders who are already experienced violin players, so she asks them to help her show their peers the proper techniques. “My goal for them is to accomplish the satisfaction of playing an instrument and to get as much enjoyment out of it as possible,” said Sister Denise. “And if that’s all they do, if that’s the only instrument they play in their whole life, they can say that they’ve played violin.” All the music that Sister Denise conducts and teaches in the elementary school is enhanced by the private instruction available to students at Valley Catholic

Sister Denise Klaas graduated from Boise State University in her home state of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in music performance. She concentrated on piano, specializing in J.S. Bach. Sister Denise Klaas with Katie McKalik at a 1994 recital at what was then St. Mary of the Valley Grade School.


Music School. “As the music school built up their faculty and increased private lessons, it fed directly into the schools here on campus,” said Sister Denise. “The students wanted to take orchestra, so they took private lessons to increase their skills. And we wanted to give them the opportunity in the primary school level so that they could go into the middle and high school bands and orchestras. It’s across the line, from kindergarten through twelfth grade. It’s a building process.” Music isn’t the only thing on Sister Denise’s mind when she directs her various ensembles. She recognizes the importance of learning to play with other musicians. “It’s like being on a soccer team or a basketball team, football team or swim team,” she says. “You work together, not as a soloist. Students have to learn how to cooperate, how to listen, how to follow directions and apply their knowledge. They have to be able to share the role of performing.”

Student Denise Klaas at Boise State University in 1977.

all her ensembles on the same night. Even long-time parents say that they continue to be amazed by her tireless dedication.

“I love to bring my love of God and my love of music to young students,” said Sister Denise. Every year, parents new to Valley Catholic Elementary School express astonishment at how much she has accomplished when they attend her concerts, which often showcase

The love and energy that Sister Denise pours into her work rings out in every note the children play. It’s a beautiful sound.



Fall 2014


Winter 2015

Influential teachers set the bar high for orchestra director Travis Hatton. He passes the baton to his students each time he raises his own baton.

Stepping up to the podium


ome people can do good rehearsals but not conduct a good concert. If you can conduct a good concert, then you’re a good conductor.”

Travis Hatton knows. He has conducted orchestras, chamber orchestras, opera companies, choruses and bands across the United States and Europe. Today, in addition to being director of orchestras at Valley Catholic School, he is music director of the Beaverton Symphony Orchestra in Beaverton, Oregon; the Sunnyside Symphony in Portland, Oregon; and the Chehalem Symphony Orchestra in Newberg, Oregon, in residence at George Fox University. “My mother was a music education major,” he said. “She taught music in a middle school before she got married. I remember fooling around playing the piano in our house — especially when nobody was home.” He learned the French horn and played in his high school band and in the local youth orchestra. “I was very lucky because I had two years of music theory class in high school, “he said. “This was before Advanced Placement (AP) days. So I got a lot of college-level music theory in high school.”


Hatton began his post-secondary studies at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. “I knew I wanted to concentrate on music but I wasn’t sure about the direction I wanted to go,” he said. “So I was a general music major at first.” Two teachers provided focus. “When I got to college, I had an influential music teacher named Kyung-Soo Won, who was the music director of the Stockton Symphony, a professional orchestra. He didn’t make a full-time living doing that, so he also taught. I studied keyboard harmony and second-year music theory with him. He had a good world view and a strong grasp of the level of professionalism that’s required to conduct anything at all. I also worked with an influential teacher, James Wimer, who taught for many years at Julliard Prep School. These were two people who really set a bar and a standard for me,” he said. Travis Hatton conducts the Sunnyside Symphony Orchestra with cello soloist Jerry Bobbe in 2004. Photo courtesy: Pamplin Media Group

After earning his bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition, Hatton took a year off before graduate school and played French horn in several orchestras. He earned his master’s degree at the New England Conservatory of Music and began work on a doctorate. His life took an unexpected direction when he and his wife, Lynelle, had the opportunity to live and work in Europe. He served as conductor of the Moravian Opera Theater in Olomouc in the Czech Republic and artistic director of the City Opera Theater of Usti nad Labem, also in the Czech Republic. After Hatton’s performance

as a guest conductor in the Polish town of Opole, a newspaper critic wrote: “Mr. Hatton…has a gift of the ability to discover everything that is hidden in a score and he knows what it takes to carry out his feelings into a concrete performance.” After five years, he and his wife returned to the United States. “We were supposed to stay in the Czech Republic for two years. We ended up staying for five,” he said. “We came home with a son [Kyle] who was born in a former Communist country.” Today, their family also includes a daughter, Kara.

A Polish newspaper critic wrote: “Mr. Hatton…has a gift of the ability to discover everything that is hidden in a score and he knows what it takes to carry out his feelings into a concrete performance.”

Travis Hatton confers with Czech composer Jan Hanus. Hatton was conducting Hanus’ ballet “Othello.”



Fall 2014


Winter 2015

Travis Hatton with the cast and stage director of the Tchaikovsky opera “Eugene Onegin.”

“The ideal conductor — and I know a lot of them — makes sacrifices because being a conductor is different from being any other kind of musician or instrumentalist,” Hatton said. “Success comes from putting yourself out there. A lot of people make sacrifices — especially related to family — that I didn’t want to make.”

Travis Hatton joined the Valley Catholic faculty in 2001. His biography is available at Taking a break during dress rehearsal.


In addition to leading adult orchestras, Hatton teaches young musicians at Valley Catholic. “My classroom is an ensemble, so I treat my classes like rehearsals,” he said. “Kids have an amazing ability to pull things off. In rehearsal, it’s a challenge just trying to get everyone’s attention for a few minutes. But when they’re on the stage, they’re suddenly quiet. They’re all looking at you. They’re capable of doing some pretty amazing things. Pleasant surprises happen all the time.”

“My classroom is an ensemble, so I treat my classes like rehearsals. Kids have an amazing ability to pull things off. They’re capable of doing some pretty amazing things.”

Travis Hatton conducting in the orchestra pit of the Moravian Opera Theater in the town of Olomouc, Czech Republic.



Fall 2014


Winter 2015

Always seeking a fresh direction A “Trip to Neptune” began a journey that brought director Ginnie Sutfin to Valley Catholic.


s a fourth grader, Ginnie Sutfin received an intriguing challenge for a science project at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School in San Jose, California. “The assignment was to do something creative with the planets,” she said. “I wrote a play. I also directed it.” As Sutfin recalls, “Trip to Neptune” was so popular that it was presented during an assembly for the entire school. A director was born. Today, Ginnie Sutfin directs drama productions at Valley Catholic High School. She also teaches English, drama and journalism. From a young age, her love of theater has also included a love of acting. “In the seventh grade, I was given my first solo at a school assembly,” she said. “It was a tribute to Irving Berlin for his 100th birthday. I sang ‘Blue Skies.’ That’s when the acting bug really got me.” The love of theater that began in grade school continued in high school. “During my sophomore year at Presentation High School in San Jose, I was up for a lead role in a play,” she said. “I was also up for a varsity position on the softball team, and I was told that it had to be one or the other. It wasn’t like it is at Valley Catholic, where students can take part in multiple activities. So I made the choice, and I never looked back.” When she entered Gonzaga University, Sutfin planned to focus on English with a long-term goal of teaching. “But during my first semester there, I was lost,” she said. “I wasn’t finding a place. Then one day, I walked into the empty auditorium. It was dark. Nobody was there but the door was open. I walked in and this wash of calm came over me. It was like God was saying to me: this is where you belong. I auditioned for the next play and found my community.” She continued her studies at the University of Idaho, where she earned a master’s degree in performance with an emphasis on directing and voice.

Sutfin is impressed by “the wealth of talent in the Portland area” and recruits professional talent to support Valley Catholic productions. (This photograph was taken at the Gerding Theater at Portland Center Stage at the Armory.)


After moving to Portland, Sutfin and some friends founded Two Boards Productions, which was housed in a 50-seat theatre on Hawthorne Blvd. That same year — 2004 — she arrived at Valley Catholic. She continued to produce and direct at Two Boards Productions until 2007.

“I was so struck by how many approaches you can take to Shakespeare in really impactful ways, like ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ in the Wild West or our 2013 Steampunk production of ‘As You Like It.’ Those juxtapositions are really interesting to me.”

Sutfin is respected for the creativity of her productions. “With Shakespeare particularly, I have been heavily influenced by productions I have seen in London, where I studied abroad,” she said.

Director Ginnie Sutfin and Valley Catholic student Kevin Alexander test make-up for his role as Truffaldino in Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters.”



Fall 2014


Winter 2015

Sutfin also engages her students through interactions with professional artists. “Since I started here, I’ve enjoyed bringing in artists from the Portland theater community, which is so rich with talent,” she said. “I like bringing in my designers and my musical directors and consultants as guest speakers in class.”

The Valley Catholic 2014-2015

Sutfin is excited about the planned remodel of the high school auditorium. “When we have new tools, it will allow us to do our work in a more complete way,” she said. Her aspirations for the future include taking students on a trip to see professional theater. “I’d also love to create an improv troupe that can entertain at Maryville and across our campus,” she said.

theatre season celebrates Commedia dell’arte, also known as “Comedy of art” or “Comedy of the profession.” “The Servant of Two Masters,” a 1743 comedy by the Italian playwright

Sutfin wants theater at Valley Catholic to be a meaningful experience. “If students aren’t having a good experience with their time in the production, I feel that very deeply,” she said. “Hard decisions have to be made. Not everybody is happy all the time. But when those disappointments occur, I try to create a teaching moment and foster a life experience. Ultimately, it’s about the work. And that’s a very professional attitude to have with teenagers, but I’m committed to it. I think it’s important for them to experience that.”

Carlo Goldoni, was presented in fall 2014. The spring 2015 musical will be “Godspell,” which, Sutfin notes, is also rooted Commedia dell’arte.

“I was so struck by how many approaches you can take to Shakespeare in really impactful ways, like ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ in the Wild West or our 2013 Steampunk production of ‘As You Like It,’” she said. “Those juxtapositions are really interesting to me.” She also looks for “a fresh approach to musicals to keep the students engaged and to keep the audiences interested — shows that everyone is going to enjoy.”

She added, “On opening night of our shows, we all stand in a circle in the Glee Room and we hold hands and look at each other. I tell them to meet eyes with everyone in the circle and to send the message: see you on stage. I trust you. You can trust me. Whatever happens — if a prop falls, somebody forgets a line, somebody misses an entrance — we’re going to take care of each other. We’re family.”

“I tell them to meet eyes with everyone in the circle and to send the message: see you on stage. I trust you. You can trust me. Whatever happens…”

Actors and future directors: Ginnie Sutfin as Olivia and Kristan Seemel as Malvolio in “Twelfth Night” at Gonzaga University in 1998. Today, Ginnie Sutfin directs drama productions at Valley Catholic High School. Kristan Seemel is a stage director in New York City.




Fall 2014


Winter 2015

Banding together Before the kickoff of a football game — before the tip-off of a basketball game — the Valley Catholic Pep Band is already in action.


t’s 30 minutes before game time at Valley Catholic and something special is about to happen. The Pep Band is ready to rock the house. Their music has a strong, driving beat. The musicians are not just playing their instruments. They are dancing and waving to the crowd in a high-octane performance to encourage that same energy in everyone in the grandstand or bleachers. They create a memorable evening for athletes, coaches, families, friends and the Blue Crew. Those are the passionate students who come out to clap, stamp their feet and do their famous (at least at Valley Catholic) roller coaster cheer for the Valiants.

Valley Catholic Pep Band Director Dan Schauffler has said of the students in the pep band, “They learn to play together, work together, and get along. It brings a lot of different stripes of our campus culture together.” Freshman Martin Sangil agrees. He says highlights of performing in pep band are “learning to play an instrument and getting to know new people.” The exuberant spirit of the pep band was captured on Facebook the day after the dedication of Valley Catholic’s athletic field and the successful 2014 home opener for Valiant football. Junior William Deatherage posted this message: “Shout out to the Valley Catholic School Pep Band!...We all played great tonight and truly made the game special. Here’s to many more successful games as we learn and bond together!” Pep Band Director Dan Schauffler at the season opener for Valiant football. Visit to watch the Valley Catholic Pep Band in action.




Fall 2014


Winter 2015

The language of music As she did on stage, singer and pianist Terri Mersereau shines at Maryville.



y grandfather made beautiful violins,” Terri Mersereau remembers. “He made a little one for me when I was four or five.” That gift sparked a lifelong love of music that led to a professional career as a singer and pianist across the West Coast.

Born in 1927, Therese Ellen Spencer grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she studied classical piano and violin. In 1939, competing in the age 12 and under category, she won first place in both piano and violin at the British Columbia Music Festival. As she entered her teenage years, she competed in the annual Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) Talent Festival. “Sir Ernest MacMillan [one of the leading figures in Canada’s musical history] came from Toronto to Vancouver to adjudicate that,” she said. “He was partial to me. I think I reminded him of his little girl.” She won and received a trophy cup.

“She was a remarkable jazz vocalist — the best singer I’ve ever heard. She was also an incredibly gifted composer and a great piano player. And she was as beautiful as a movie star.” – Ron Steen After graduating from Convent of the Sacred Heart High School, Terri Spencer received a three-year scholarship to the Toronto Conservatory of Music (known today as the Royal Conservatory of Music) with an emphasis on composition. She composed works for both piano and violin. A win in another musical competition led to an introduction and performance with Canadian composer and pianist Oscar Peterson, who had won the CBC Talent Festival several years earlier. She was accepted at Mills College, where she met two men who would have a profound effect on her life. Student Robert Arenz, a gifted classical pianist, became her husband. A Mills teacher introduced her to one of

Pianist and singer Terri Mersereau dazzled audiences with her artistry.



Fall 2014


Winter 2015

Terri Spencer Trio, they delighted audiences at Lea’s and the Piccadilly Room at the Benson Hotel. They would perform for 45 minutes then take a 15-minute break. Sometimes, they played four or five sets each night. Doug Baker of the Oregon Journal newspaper wrote, “It was at the original Espresso…that I first heard Terri’s piano and the next day I was rhapsodic.” He referenced a letter from a reader who had written, “No current jazz pianist can surpass her in style, technique and new ideas.” The article headline: “World Grows Older, But Terri Just Grows Better.” Ron Steen said, “She was a remarkable jazz vocalist — the best singer I’ve ever heard. She was also an incredibly gifted composer and a great piano player. And she was as beautiful as a movie star.” He added, “I was a teenager when she gave me the opportunity to perform in some of the best venues in town. Meeting her changed my life.”

As Terri Spencer (fourth from left), she shined at the 1962 Seattle Jazz Festival. Jazz great Dave Brubeck (sixth from left) was also a featured performer.

his most famous students, jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, who became a colleague. She placed her career on hold to marry and raise five children: one boy and four girls. “They are all musical,” she said proudly.

“I can’t imagine my life without music… Music is speaking. Music is my voice.”

As the children grew older, Terri Spencer’s love of performing drew her back on stage as a singer and pianist. Performance highlights included an appearance at the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle, where Dave Brubeck also performed. “That was a thrill,” she said. “The acoustics were superb. The applause was overwhelming. It was fabulous for me to play. Everything was just alive.” In 1964, she recorded some of her signature compositions at a studio in Los Angeles.

While she loves all music — with nods to Chopin and Mozart — she has a special affinity for the music of George Gershwin. “I got the biggest ovation I’ve ever had when I played ‘I Love You, Porgy,’” she said. She loves that song because “you can really emote.” When she sits down at the piano at Maryville, where she now resides, Gershwin songs are highlights. At age 87, her fingers caress the keyboard and the sparkle in her eyes makes it clear that her love of performing is undiminished. “I can’t imagine my life without music,” she said. “I like nothing better than when people are enjoying it, and I love it when people ask me to play their favorite tunes.”

Terri and her second husband, Roland (Rol) Mersereau, lived in Lake Oswego. One night, she invited two young musicians to perform at a party at their home. Jamie Faunt played bass. Ron Steen played drums. Then in their teens, both went on to become leaders in the Pacific Northwest jazz scene.

“Music is speaking,” she said. “Music is my voice.” She was so impressed by their performance that she invited them to join her. Performing as the

Performance photos courtesy Terri Mersereau.




Fall 2014


Winter 2015

A soaring celebration: Using drone technology, Chris Kiefer ’09 of SkEye Studios captured this beautiful aerial photo of the Valley Catholic athletic field at half-time during the Valiants’ football season opener against Estacada. It marked their first victory in 4A competition.

Ring out in celebration On the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus, 2014 was a groundbreaking year. From a groundbreaking ceremony at Maryville to a dedication at Valley Catholic, this has been a year of celebration on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus.

In September, Valley Catholic High School Secretary/ Registrar Pat Joyaux ’54 welcomed students in a newly redesigned front office. It marked the first remodel of that space since the high school was built in 1969.

In May, Maryville broke ground for its new transitional care unit, scheduled to open in early 2015.

Valley Catholic Early Learning School welcomed its students and families with a more open reception area and other building enhancements.

In September, barely 100 days after a groundbreaking ceremony at Valley Catholic, the campus community came together for Turf ’s Up, an event featuring the dedication of the school’s enhanced athletic field and the Valiants’ entry into 4A athletics.

The start of the school year also brought Alumni Weekend and the annual “A wHole in One” golf tournament.

Valley Catholic also celebrated a three-peat: winning its third consecutive 3A Oregonian Cup for excellence in academics, athletics, activities and sportsmanship.

Each moment was a joyful reminder of one of the core values on the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus: “Celebrate God and life.” 26


2 1 Valley Catholic’s 2014-2015 Student Body Officers lift the school’s three Oregonian Cups. Left to right: Vice President Ben Klaas, President Tin Tin Luu, Publicity Manager Kyle Garcia, Treasurer Megan Keagbine, Publicity Manager Aaron Linnemann, Publicity Manager Bianca Robison, Secretary Bailey McDevitt and Publicity Manager Anna Maria Jardini. 2 Left to right: Kyle Stanfield of the Oregon School Activities Association, Athletic Director Joel Sobotka, Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon (SSMO) Superior General Sr. Charlene Herinckx ’66, SSMO Ministries Corporation President Sr. Adele Marie Altenhofen, Principal

Ross Thomas, President Bob Weber and Vice Principal Dale French celebrate Valley Catholic’s three-peat Oregonian Cup win.


3 Young Valiants get a warm welcome from Valley Catholic Early Learning School Principal Trish Roussel and Family Coordinator Rebecca Johnson in the school’s newly enhanced reception area. 4 After 45 years, the Valley Catholic High School front office has a bright new look. Sitting: faculty member Marty Karlin and Secretary/Registrar Pat Joyaux ’54. Standing: department chairs Ed Braun and Kipp Johnson.




Fall 2014


Winter 2015

5 8 5 Maryville builds for the next 50 years, breaking ground for a new transitional care unit. 6 Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle joins Jerry Jones, Jr. at the 2014 “A wHole in One” golf tournament. The event was held at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. It was hosted by the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation.


7 Left to right: Sharlayne Buuck, Helen Connor and Lisa Meltebeke of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation welcome guests to a barbeque before a Valiant football game during Alumni Weekend 2014. 8 A smart way to stay connected: When a classmate couldn’t attend Alumni Weekend, Lauri Leonetti ’81 and Sister John Therese Miller caught up on a smart phone. 9 The Blue Crew fills the new Valley Catholic grandstand to cheer for the Valiants on opening day of the 2014 football season.

7 28

10 Sister Charlene Herinckx ’66 (center) cuts the ribbon to formally dedicate the new Valley Catholic athletic field.


10 29


Fall 2014

Expressions we keep deep in our hearts


Winter 2015

And, finally, job applications…not to mention all the applications and auditions we do for competitions in-between. So it’s a long cycle, requiring a lot of self-motivation as well as mental strength. Because as musicians, we are constantly judged based on whom the listener happens to be that day. Because music is such a personal thing, we cannot expect every single person to absolutely love everything we do in our performances. But the performing aspect is what keeps me going.

For pianist Eloise Kim ’10, music connects artists and audiences through a shared humanity.


ome people find their passion late in life. Eloise Kim ’10 found her passion at age six when she started taking piano lessons. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Kim graduated from Valley Catholic then earned a bachelor’s degree in music at the Colburn Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation ( JKCF) Graduate Arts Award is quite prestigious. Describe the scholarship process and meeting other arts scholars at the 2014 JKCF conference in Leesburg, Virginia. The award is very prestigious and a God-given miracle for me. I am not saying this to be modest. People who apply for this are all extremely gifted in the arts. It not only is open to musicians but to photographers, writers, filmmakers and more. The applications consist of two rounds. This year, they selected only 20 Graduate Art recipients. The scholars I met were from all over the world, all from different institutions studying different fields, all equally passionate in what they do. Meeting these people — and engaging with them — inspired me to run toward my dreams.

At the age of 22, she has an impressive list of professional credits across the Pacific Northwest, New York (including performances at Carnegie Hall) and Canada. In 2014, she received the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award, providing a scholarship of up to $50,000 per year for three years of graduate studies. Alumni Relations Manager Meghan Blood ’09 asked Eloise Kim to share how her time at Valley Catholic has shaped her as an artist and a person. What lessons from Valley Catholic are most vivid? The enormous support I received from teachers, friends, and staff at Valley Catholic truly inspired me to do better with what I love and encouraged me to follow my dreams and passions. My favorite memory at Valley Catholic was Junior Encounter. It was the time when we were able to unmask ourselves and open up to our peers and truly understand each other. It was such a beautiful experience that I shared it with some of my close friends at Colburn. Everyone at Valley remains in my heart dearly. And they will for a lifetime.

What are your dreams for the future? Whatever I play, my goal is to always express my story to listeners. And the ultimate goal is to bring together my audience and myself into one through my music. As humans, we all go through our own hardships and paths. When a musician can get really into the zone, the artistry of the performance becomes a completely different world. It builds this amazing communication via the performer and the audience and invents this new language that can only be understood through the music performed. And when we listen, we can help each other get through difficult times and bring back hope. This is what makes a musical performance so special to all of us. Performances provide the chance to really express one’s true self: expressions that cannot be spoken in words, expressions that we keep deep inside our hearts.

Do you have plans for graduate school? I will be auditioning this year. As musicians, we sometimes feel like we are constantly “auditioning” throughout our entire life. We audition to get into a conservatory for four years of undergraduate studies and then, after that, audition to pursue a master’s degree in music for two years. And then we have another set of auditions for a Doctor of Musical Arts degree. That usually requires three to five years of studies.

Eloise Kim ’10 in performance. Learn more at




Fall 2014


Winter 2015

Alumni Notes Laura (Royer) Cochran ’86 has written investment books that “have sold thousands of copies around the world.” She served as a judge for several seasons of Portland Teen Idol.

 Thomas O’Brien ’05 is the principal at Uncommon Charter High School, a free public school that is open to all New York City residents. Its mission is to prepare each student for college. After graduating from the University of Oregon, Thomas served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala, taught with Teach For America on the Navajo Reservation, studied at the University of New Mexico and taught sixthgrade math in Brooklyn, New York. To prepare for a leadership role as a high school principal, he returned to Valley Catholic in April 2014 to observe Valley Catholic faculty and staff in action. He noted, “Our high school is young and I am eager to craft a vision that fosters and promotes academic excellence, character development and social justice.” He added, “My siblings, Cait ’03 and Theo ’07, also attended VC and we’ve all benefited greatly from the Valley Catholic community.”

Since graduating from Valley Catholic, Austin Cochran ’08 has pursued a career in acting and movies. His work includes acting parts in the film “Twilight,” “The Boondock Saints” movie sequel, and five seasons of appearances in the television series, “Leverage.” Inspired by his brother, who is cared for by his family, Austin became certified to care for those who have intensive special needs.

 On May 31, 2014, Rebecca Whitney ’09 “married the man of her dreams and became Rebecca Greer.” Rebecca and Peter were married at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in north Portland. At her side: her sisters, Bree ’02 and Katee ’04, and her fellow classmate, Cody Walker ’09, as bridesmaids. As is true on most wedding days, unexpected things happened. The bus that was supposed to take the wedding party to the ceremony never came. The best man walked down the aisle with the bride’s bouquet. The cake fell. Despite those memorable moments, the bride and groom report that it was “the best day of our lives.” Rebecca and Peter Greer are now enjoying their life together in 32

Beaverton. Rebecca is currently a personal care attendant at a senior living facility. She says she “enjoys every minute she spends with her residents.”

 Julia Anderson ’13 experienced the moment of a lifetime when she joined students at Santa Clara University as they welcomed the Dalai Lama. Julia is second from the left in the back row. Photo courtesy Chuck Barry, Santa Clara University.

 Andrew Linnemann ’13 was awarded the University of San Diego’s (USD) Highest Academic Achievement Award in his class. Andrew is in the honors program in the Shiley-Martos School of Engineering at USD. He also

Alumni Notes recently won the Residence Hall Association (RHA) Council Member of the Year. His council won RHA Council of the Year honors. Andrew is one of 45 men who were invited to become Founding Fathers of the Epsilon Chi Colony of the USD’s Sigma Pi fraternity. He was also elected executive director of a new student organization, Bull Pit, which was created to maintain and boost school spirit. ƒ Like her father, Erin Cochran ’14 set her sights early on attending the United States Air Force Academy. Erin received a Congressional nomination and says she “was honored to accept an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy Prep School.” She recently returned from working at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and has been an active advocate for Oregon youth, supporting the Governor’s Summit on Reducing Disproportionate Minority Contact in Juvenile Justice. Erin interned for a year for the World Affairs Council of Oregon and is currently serving as Miss Teen Oregon International. Her speaking engagements take her around the state, including a presentation at the 2014 Western Liberty Network (WLN) Youth Conference.

In Memoriam Matthew Compton ’96 passed away in March 2014 of complications from diabetes, just shy of his 36th birthday. Born on Easter Sunday in 1978, Matthew was “eagerly brought home in an Easter basket,” according to his mother, Charlene Compton. Diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of six, Matthew had an active life. He enjoyed drawing and building radio-controlled (RC) airplanes and cars. He dabbled in the coral and salt water fish tank business. He is also remembered as a Lego enthusiast who bred sugar gliders, acquired a small zoo of Italian greyhounds, and loved his friends and family unconditionally. Matthew, who came from a family of gourmet cooks, was described as “an incredible baker.” As a tribute, his memorial service featured his “famous cheesecake.” In a letter, Dana Morrison Anderson wrote, “Matthew Compton, you were one great person! You took life by the horns and enjoyed the ride. I am sure you are sitting in the library of the university, mingling with Einstein, Newton, Galileo, and probably telling da Vinci of your ‘almost’ successful use of a trebuchet.” She added, “He has left a space so uniquely shaped; it will never be filled.” 33


Hitting the High Notes Fall 2014


Winter 2015

We extend our deepest gratitude

to all who generously participated in the 2014 Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation Matching Gift Challenge. Gifts from campus alumni, their families and friends helped us exceed our goal and raise $23,258 for Valley Catholic School’s endowment and financial aid. One in five students at Valley Catholic High School receives need-based financial aid; these dollars provide critical support in our ability to assist those students and to provide them with an exceptional Valley Catholic education.

Thank you for helping us reach the high notes of success! Hannah Wilson ’14 (left) and Clara Kiss ’14 perform in the Valley Catholic Drama Department’s 2014 production of “Guys and Dolls” — another fantastic opportunity for our students.


Grandparents & Special Friends Day at Valley Catholic Elementary School January 22, 2015

Montgomery Park 2701 NW Vaughn St. Portland, OR 97210

To donate, purchase tickets, become a sponsor or learn more, please visit:

Presented by

Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon Foundation 4440 SW 148th Ave., Beaverton, OR 97078

Non Profit Org US Postage Paid Portland, OR Permit NO 1006

4440 SW 148th Avenue Beaverton, OR 97078

Electronic Service Requested

Follow us:


rom Vatican City to the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon campus, the Angelus prayer is accompanied by the ringing of a bell. Three times each day, one of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon — including Sister Colleen Schmitt — walks to the third floor of their Motherhouse. A simple rope is attached to the Sisters’ bell on the rooftop of the building. Information about the Angelus prayer and the ringing of the Sisters’ bell is available on The video provides a view that few people are privileged to witness: the sight of the Sisters’ historic bell as it rings out with a call to prayer and an expression of good will to the world.

SPIRIT Magazine Fall 2014 | Winter 2015