SUU Department of Music to Honor Professor Stitt’s Retirement with Alumni Band Concert

Southern Utah University’s music department will be holding their free biennial Alumni Band Concert Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Heritage Center Theater.

This concert is dedicated to SUU Music Department retiree Virginia Stitt, whose retirement has come at the end of a decades-long career instructing music students. Stitt retired during SUU’s COVID-19 campus restrictions, and the department members feel she has not been properly honored in the interim. 

“The Alumni Band Concert provides a great opportunity to recognize all she has done for the university, students and profession,” said Music Department Chair Lawrence Johnson. 

SUU’s Director of Bands Adam Lambert said around 65 of Stitt’s past students responded to the invitation to perform at the alumni concert. 

The Alumni Band Concert comprises multiple groups, and will feature the SUU Wind Symphony performing “Festive Overture” by Dimitri Shostakovich before the Alumni Band takes the stage. The alumni will play all four movements of Gustav Holst’s “2nd Suite in F Major,” as per Stitt’s request for a piece by the composer. 

This year’s Alumni Band will comprise Lambert’s near 65 invitation respondents who have graduated from SUU between the years 1975 and 2020, so a broad swath of music students should be present. 

Among the participants, Cedar Middle School Band Director David Palmer responded to his invitation with enthusiasm and reminisced on commuting the nearly 60 miles every week from Orderville to Cedar City for his clarinet lessons with Stitt. 

“I do not believe that I would have had the courage to enter the Music Department at SUU without her,” Palmer said. “It has made all the difference in the world for me.’”

The SUU Department of Music is just getting started with the fall semester and will have more performances coming up including a choir performance on Oct. 1. Their website contains more information and a schedule of their upcoming events. 

Story by Janzen Jorgensen
Photo courtesy of SUU Department of Music