Inducted in 2016
Texanna Ollenberger began and ended her music education career in
Olathe, KS. From a beginning at Santa Fe Trail Jr. High, to a very
impressive and productive run at both Olathe South HS and Olathe
East HS, to the culmination of her career with music education
classes at Mid America Nazarene University, she has been crowned
with great success.
Texanna has served her profession as the NE District Middle Level
Choral Chair, KMEA State Middle Level Choral Chair and the NE
District High School Choral Chair. She served on the site committee
for the 1996 MENC Convention in Kansas City and has been a
long-standing member of KCDA, receiving KCDA's highest award, The Harry
Robert Wilson Award.
At the top of her achievements is the establishment of the Olathe
Inter-Generational Choir. "Mrs. O" pioneered the concept of combining
senior citizens with young people to perform in a choir while teaching
at Santa Fe Trail—the students got adopted grandparents and
the seniors thrived around the young people. As Texanna moved on to
the high schools and on to college teaching, the senior citizens
migrated with her. Her community concerts blossomed into White
House requested trips to Washington, D.C. to sing at a conference on
Aging and to NBC's "Today Show". She introduced many a young
singer to art of barbershop quartet harmony and she wouldn't blink
twice at sewing every outfit for her choirs. Texanna also provides
musical leadership in her community by serving on the board of the
Olathe Area Youth Symphony.
Texanna's students knew that they were receiving a love for music,
training to create great music and skills in perseverance that would
follow them in life. Former student Jason Gray says "She believed in
me, she gave me a sense of confidence and self-esteem that was
sorely lacking, she changed my life." Former student and now music
teacher Teresa Murray says "Her creative teaching strategies
incorporated a respect for diversity and influenced the lives of hundreds
of children and adults." Former student and now music teacher Beth
Nelson says "She was unwavering in her pursuit of music perfection
while also creating an atmosphere of respect in the classroom." Her
good friend Anne Meeker Watson recalls "I know lots of kids who
learned how to mend fences and bale hay at the Ollenberger farm
during their high school years. These were children experiencing
difficulties in their lives who needed the structure and "no nonsense"
approach that "Tex" provided.