Diane Foust Tributes
My son, Brian Hemstock, was a student of Diane's when he was a senior in high school. Diane was the impetus that he needed to find his singing voice and go on in jazz music at Western University. Her knowledge and application of the Alexander technique has helped him throughout his professional career which included a stint with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Thank-you, Diane, for all your guidance and understanding. You deserve the very best. Enjoy your retirement!
For those of you who weren't able to attend the Ninth Street Singers Reunion at which I was honored to be asked to present a tribute to Diane, I decided to post it for you. I know that all of you feel privileged to have known her and been in her classes and ensembles. When I think about what Diane Foust’s presence in my life has meant to me, the first thing that comes to mind was her kindness to me as a new faculty member in the fall semester of 1991. She was always there to help me figure out how the music department functioned and we soon became good friends. I realized that beyond being a fine musician, singer, teacher, and conductor, Diane was the sort of person who was able to jump in and do whatever was needed in the music department. The more time I spent with her, the more I marveled at her ability to juggle all the things that she did at such a high level. When Diane chaired the Music Department, I saw how well she listened to what fellow faculty and students said and facilitated our coming together to solve the problems at hand. She had a quiet way of going about her work that put people at ease in their interactions. That is not to say her expectations for students were anything less than their best. It seemed that Diane would use “the Julie Andrews as Maria approach” in teaching and “start at the very beginning” and when that first skill was learned, she would ask “what’s the next step?” I observed the growth in my students ownership of their education from working with Diane in classes and most especially in the 9th Street Singers, the choral group she founded and still conducts which we celebrate here tonight. Another facet of Diane’s work in the music department was as music director and conductor of many musical theater productions in close co-operation with the theater department. In preparing the singers for these productions, she worked tirelessly to make the most of each participant’s talents and gave the audience such memorable shows. Diane Foust exemplifies the value of life-long learning constantly seeking new ways to improve her own singing and teaching/ in order to better serve the students in her classes. At some point, Diane became aware of the Alexander Technique and began to attend seminars to learn more about it. She subsequently decided to become certified in the Alexander Technique. This rigorous training involved attending classes, workshops, and seminars on weekends, as well as during summers and normal academic breaks, while maintaining her workload at Viterbo for most of that time period. I am grateful to her for sharing her newly found knowledge with me. Diane also brought Barbara Conable, an expert in the teaching of body use, to Viterbo for a workshop that convinced me of the importance of F.M. Alexander’s discoveries and there pertinence to singing. More importantly, this experience with Barbara Conable transformed the descriptors I used to explain the act of singing to my students. I am happy that Diane will continue to teach her Alexander course for the Viterbo students after her retirement. It will give them valuable knowledge and give Diane further opportunities to share her passion for and vast knowledge of this subject. Diane, my former colleague, frequent duet partner, sometimes life coach/mentor, and highly valued friend, I am certain that you know “what’s the next step.” So let me simply say that I wish you all good things as you begin the next phase of your life. I recall being with you, Jim, and your collective families and friends in this very room, when you entered that important phase of your life together. May this new phase continue to bring both of you great joy and peace!
Retired Viterbo Faculty
Diane, you were always such a wonderful and supportive teacher during my years at Viterbo. I know you will be missed by all of the staff, former, and current students. I hope you enjoy every bit of your retirement!
Katherine Anderson '06
Diane, Happiest of retirements to you. I don't think I could have asked for a more supportive, caring, understanding professor than what I had with you. You taught me to strive to my best in every aspect of life, and never let me be mediocre. You always pushed me for more, because you knew I had it in me even if I didn't see it. I thank you so much for that. I think my favorite memory out of all the things I learned from you was the ever popular "Butt Smile"....the muscles in the bum when relaxed form a smile...best thought ever from Alexander Technique!
Stephanie (Thiele) Bjork '07
Diane, You are an amazing woman. I have gotten the pleasure of having you in two styles of classrooms. Your unique attention to each student in Alexander Technique classes as well as your structured and rigorous approach to Music Theory have made me a better artist. Thank you for your passion in the classroom and your constant expectation of all of us succeeding. Congratulations on your retirement!
Congratulations on your retirement! When I look back on my years at Viterbo, the one person I know who was always in my corner was you. Thank you for sharing your knowledge, support, love, and passion with me each day. I wish you so much joy and happiness in your retirement. Thank you, Diane!
Stephanie Urban '04
Diane, you were always positive and such a caring person. You were a fantastic role model in showing how caring for students as true people and individuals makes an incredible difference in their lives. Through this students respect you and then you in turn can inspire them to do great things. Thanks for the awesome life lessons, and for being an inspiration!
Molly Malone Nordin '95
Diane, I remember you as being a point of stability amidst all we crazy music students. I remember confiding in you when I was having a difficult time with my first student. You were so encouraging and I appreciate that to this day. I wish you the best in your retirement. Love, Cathy
Cathy Darvin-Redders '88
Diane Foust is one of the most beautiful women I know, both inside and out. She teaches with great intellect and high expectation, but she pairs these qualities with grace and authentic compassion. Her wisdom and holistic educational methods will be missed in the halls of Viterbo University, but they will certainly live on in all those fortunate enough to have been her students. May God bless you in all your future adventures, Diane!
My Top Ten Diane Foust Memories 10. In The Beginning: While driving Diane to the airport after her interview, I thought about how comfortable it was being with her and what a good fit she would be for Viterbo. I didn’t know at that time what an excellent mentor she would be for our students. 9. The Difference Between the North and the South: whether those cardboard mailing tubes are called “bonker tubes” or “der der tubes” 8. Beat the Clock: Saturday team-work to get the NASM Self-Study sent before the deadline. The brats were good. 7. Sharing Happiness: How Diane & Jim met and married. 6. A Renaissance Woman: That rare person who can perform, teach a wide variety of classes, direct pit orchestras for Viterbo and La Crosse Community Theatre, hold administrative roles at Viterbo and with NATS, and plays a good game of golf. 5. Keep Growing: Don’t be afraid to work! We celebrated when Diane got her doctorate. 4. Follow Your Dreams: If you have a passion for something, like the Alexander Technique, go for it! 3. Camaraderie: Sharing friendship and food at Diane & Jim’s house. 2. Challenges: LaCrosse Community Theatre’s "Phantom of the Country Opera." Who else would be able to direct a pit orchestra smooshed into a single row between a black curtain and the back wall of the stage? 1. Enlightenment: Diane told me what CYA means.
Viterbo University School of Fine Arts
Viterbo will hardly be the same without you after you retire, Diane! You have added soooooo much to the development of the music department in general and to the vocal music program in particular. You are an exceptional teacher, outstanding vocalist, and inspiring person! Plus I've always enjoyed your sense of humor and great smile as well. Blessings on the next phase of your life. And thank you for everything you've given to Viterbo, students and colleagues through the entire 28 years.
Mary Ann Gschwind '65
Diane, You have certainly been a "Class Act" all your years at Viterbo. Your commitment to students, Viterbo and the community has been stellar. I always appreciated your personal concern for students. I remember one particular meeting in your office in which we were both invested in trying to support a student who had many significant personal challenges. You and I ended with a hug and it was a memorable and beautiful meeting. There have been few concerts Glenn and I have missed over the years, and I was always impressed with your talent and musicianship. 9th Street Singers ROCK with YOU, Diane, at the helm! Thank You! I wish you many Blessings in your retirement, filled with great music, rich time with friends and family, relaxation, and lots of Love. Mozart was certainly thinking of you, Diane, when he said, "Love, love, love, That is the Soul of genius." Pax et Bonum.
Director of Counseling, Viterbo University
Dear Diane, I want to send you warm congratulations on your retirement. You have given so much to Viterbo and to everyone with whom you come in contact. I have appreciated you so very much during the years I have been at Viterbo. Best wishes to a continuing rich and productive life.
Former Colleague, Viterbo University Music Department
Hey Diane, So many memories that we have shared together in Music Theory 1 and 2. You are so amazing and it is going to be sad times when you're not here next year to conduct the 9th Street Singers. I've learned so much from you and I now it has come to an end. If you're crying now, remember this quote by the worldly known Diane Foust, "Don't Do That. Forever and Ever Amen!" Have an awesome retirement Diane!
Diane, I am so thankful for your presence here at Viterbo. I will never forget the day of my interview five years ago, walking in to Dr. Artman's office and giving you a hug as we said goodbye. He was struck by this and wondered if we knew each other prior to me coming to campus, when we had not. You are a wonderful role model for all of those who meet you. May you ride off into the retirement sunset with the wind blowing in your hair!
Viterbo University Music Department
Diane, I have appreciated your sense of collegiality over the years and your dedication to the university, beginning first and foremost with the question of "How can we best serve our students?" Robert and I are grateful for the many outstanding choral performances from the Ninth Street Singers which we have enjoyed. The beautifully precise musicality always provides inspiration and sheer delight for us as members of the audience! We wish you well as you celebrate your good work and the beginning of a new chapter in life!
Silvana and Robert Richardson
Viterbo University School of Nursing
Diane, Thank you for
you! Your gentle spirit, your warmth, and your musicianship have been greatly
appreciated. Thank you also for helping me at times when I felt VERY
overwhelmed. God bless your retirement- may it be thoroughly full of FUN and
Viterbo University Music Department
Diane, you are a
beautiful friend and colleague who has enriched all our lives. Empowering us as
a community to grow and learn and to work to our potential is a legacy that you
have given us. And for your empathy, honesty and sense of humor I will miss you,
dear friend. I wish you great joy in your retirement.
Viterbo University Music Department
For the years that
I've been at Viterbo so far, I've never met a more dedicated, sweet, knowledgeable and happy teacher. Diane always goes out of her way to help others
and I feel like she will continue to help others and share her love of music
long after she retires. She has created a special place in my heart because she
believed in me when I didn't and she continued to push me because she knew I
could take it. Thanks Diane for being such a wonderful, gifted person and
Diane and the 9th
Street Singers have been festive musical ambassadors for several functions each year in collaboration with the Viterbo Alumni Association. From the Alumni
Children's Christmas party to celebratory performances at commencement, Diane has
bestowed upon us her Franciscan hospitality and service that seems to be the
foundation for all of her good works. I am excited for her as she retires;
however, I will truly miss seeing that beautiful twinkle in her eyes and warm
smile around campus. Blessings Diane!
Kathy Duerwachter '10
Director of Alumni Relations, Viterbo University
I feel so blessed to
have had Diane Foust in my life. I started my college career with a voice
damaged from overuse and not taking care of myself while on a three-month tour.
Diane helped me to unlearn the habits that had caused the damage and learn new,
healthy habits that took my singing to the next level. Besides being a
wonderful voice teacher, Diane was an excellent academic adviser, and an easy
person to talk to about anything. Diane was my mentor, my champion, and my friend.
Thank you Diane for all the lives you have touched over the years!
Krista Clements Orlan '94
Thank you for being a
wonderful teacher. You were always so encouraging. When I was a student, you
were my academic advisor. I still have a letter from you that I got in the
summer time telling me to keep up the good work. That was over 20 years ago.
And, I have had it all this time. When I need a little oomph I sometimes will
go to that letter for encouragement. Thank you so much for everything you have
done for me and for all of us who have come into contact with you at Viterbo.
You will really be missed!
Barbara (Johnson) Schaller '93
Diane and I both had
our first year at Viterbo in 1985-86. To me, Diane was always the calm, voice
of reason. I always admired her because she was always such a put-together
person, well grounded, reasonable, to the point, organized, yet approachable
and kind. I always enjoyed working with Diane in various classes, but I really
value how much she helped me become a better accompanist. I came to college
being a very "pedal happy" pianist and she helped me realize I really
didn't need all that pedal there! I'm so sorry I couldn't be a part of the
celebration event, but I wish Diane the very best in the future and hope she
has so much fun enjoying some well deserved time off!
Rita Schuman '90
interviewed for the assistant professor position at Viterbo College in April of
1985. The music faculty liked her because she was quiet, thoughtful,
intelligent and a “real singer.” These qualities made her an excellent fit for
Viterbo College, so Sr. Helen Elsbernd, Sr. Marlene Weisenbeck and Dr. Robert
Gibbons hired her, and she assumed her duties in the Music Department that
August. Diane earned a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from
Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, graduating magna cum laude. She
received a Master of Music degree in vocal performance and pedagogy from
Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, graduating summa cum laude.
Diane received her Education Doctorate in Music Education from the University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a concentration in vocal performance. In
her first year at Viterbo, Diane taught Class Voice, second-year Music Theory,
Musical Theatre Workshop, Advanced Sight-Singing, Choral Methods, and Applied
Voice. She inherited a choral group named “Pizazz” that was renamed 9th Street
Singers. In addition to these duties, she supervised student teachers and was
music director and orchestra conductor for Candide. In 1986, Diane was
appointed to a four-year term as Chair of the Music Department, and has chaired
the department at three different times in her twenty-eight years at Viterbo.
The 9th Street Singers have been musical ambassadors for Viterbo, singing at
countless campus and community events. Diane has led the group on seven
European Tours. Diane’s first summers were spent completing her work on her
doctorate at the University of Illinois. Her doctoral thesis was titled
“Musical Theatre Education: A Case Study.” She completed her doctorate in 1993.
Diane was the Music Theater Coordinator at Viterbo College until 1994. Diane
became interested in Alexander technique in 1995, and in 2003 she began her
teacher training in Alexander while on sabbatical leave and she attained
certification in 2007. She continues to study Alexander as well as teach
classes and workshops. Diane is in demand as a music and stage director and
orchestra director for musicals and operas. Since 1985 Diane has served as
Conductor and/or Music Director for twenty-four Viterbo productions, twelve La
Crosse Community Theater productions, and one UWL Summerstage production. This
spring she will serve as music director and orchestra conductor for Les
Miserable for the La Crosse Community Theater in the Weber Center for the
Performing Arts. Diane is an enthusiastic, patient teacher who raises the bar
for students challenging them to find the best gifts they have to offer as
musicians, students, singers and persons. She is a supportive colleague with a
kind heart. We wish her the best as she retires.
Viterbo University Music Department