Music major receives Wisconsin Music Educators Association award

Marissa Altendorfer October 23, 2020 - The Wisconsin Music Educators Association (WMEA) has announced that University of Wisconsin-River Falls music education-choral major Marissa Altendorfer, of Clear Lake, is the recipient of the 2020 WMEA Richard G. Gaarder Award.

The award is presented to an undergraduate music education student who has shown exceptional leadership, musical excellence and service to campus and community. The award is a credit to the student and also recognizes the college or university for helping to foster the growth of our future music education leaders. UW-River Falls Assistant Music Professor Paul Budde is currently the WMEA president.

"Marissa has provided outstanding service to our Music Department and beyond,” shared a nominator. “At UWRF, she currently serves as the president for NAfME Collegiate. As such, she has taken on an active role in planning music education events and running our monthly meetings. In addition to providing excellent leadership and vision, she has gone above and beyond in many ways.”   

Altendorfer recently created a bulletin board for Music in Our Schools Month, for which she collected and posted statements from her peers regarding how music has made a difference in their lives; given the current challenges we face with COVID-19, Marissa has now extended this to the Music Department’s Facebook page. 

“Music education has always been a big part of my life,” Altendorfer said in an email. “I grew up surrounded by music with my dad and when he passed away, I knew I wanted to continue surrounding my life with music. I have dedicated my time at UWRF to working one on one with professors to better our music program.”

Having taken her skills and love of music to all levels by getting involved in music within the state and at the national level, Altendorfer went on to write “I am beyond grateful for WMEA for selecting me for this prestigious award. I will continue to work towards music excellence in the remainder of my college career and as I head into student teaching next semester!”

For more information, email the UWRF Music Department at

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