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Obituary ~ Ken Cooper

Horizons, Graceland University, Lamoni, Iowa
Winter 2018 Issue

Ken Cooper '51 received an Associate of Arts degree from Graceland with music education as his major. He received his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Kansas State College in Pittsburg, Kansas, in 1953 and continued to receive his master's in music composition in 1965.

Cooper returned to Graceland to teach music of every sort from 1971-83. He taught music theory, woodwinds, brass, percussion, instrumental and choral arranging, conducting and piano. He was the composer for the Adventureland and Boblo Island amusement park shows featuring Graceland students and founded The Music Company tour programs. Gracelandís music department still uses Cooperís musical arrangement for the alma mater.

In addition to writing and arranging music, Cooper spent many years as a church organist and choir director. His performance activities included classical music and playing in many jazz groups. He has more than 150 published compositions for instrumental and choral ensembles. Cooperís commissioned composition, ďA Star,Ē had its premiere performance in December 2000 by the Kansas City Symphony.

Cooper died June 18, 2017, at age 85 in Papillion, Nebraska, after struggling 12 years with Parkinsonís disease. His ashes were placed in Graceland Park Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska. A tree was planted in his honor by the Arbor Society in the Chippewa National Forest (Minnesota), and a bench was dedicated at Graceland University.

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, April of 2018