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Three Inducted to Curtain Raisers Wall of Fame

For their contributions to University of Findlay’s performing arts community, three individuals have been named to the Curtain Raisers Wall of Fame for 2024 – Denise (Reno) Anders, David Hinds, and Jeffrey Lee. The three new inductees were honored by […] The post Three Inducted to Curtain Raisers Wall of Fame appeared first on Findlay Newsroom.

For their contributions to University of Findlay’s performing arts community, three individuals have been named to the Curtain Raisers Wall of Fame for 2024 – Denise (Reno) Anders, David Hinds, and Jeffrey Lee.

The three new inductees were honored by Mike Anders, Ph.D., emeritus professor of music and producer of UF’s Donnell Broadway Concert Series, and Diana Montague, Ph.D., professor of communication, at a ceremony March 10.

The Curtain Raisers Society for the Performing Arts started 22 years ago to recognize alumni, faculty, staff, and other individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the performing arts, according to Jill Wagner, chair of the Curtain Raisers advisory board.

“Each year, we honor those who have provided truly exceptional contributions and service to the performing arts programs at the University and those who have continued to make significant contributions in their chosen field, bringing credit and distinction to UF,” she explained.

Montague said enjoying the performing arts has always been a family affair for Denise (Reno) Anders who “was born into it, married into it, found new friends in it, and shared it with her children.”

A Tiffin native and daughter of Martin Reno, a Heidelberg College professor, Mrs. Anders attended many college plays, musicals, concerts, art shows, and opera performances with her family. Her brother, Phil Reno, would go on to become a Broadway conductor.

She met her husband, Mike, as part of a Heidelberg summer production of “Kismet.” In 1993, while she played the Nightingale of Samarkand in “Once Upon a Mattress” at UF, she was pregnant with her daughter Lucy. A year after Lucy was born, the couple performed in Star Theatre’s “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Her dream role onstage was playing Queen Guinevere, which she did in Findlay Light Opera Company’s “Camelot,” but she also enjoyed “Xanadu,” a roller-skating romp through the pop tunes of Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra, which UF staged in Powell-Grimm theater.

In addition, Mrs. Anders has supported and promoted many area theater and musical groups. She was an original board member of the Findlay Light Opera Company, and her computer skills helped the organization get off the ground as she coordinated patrons and tickets through 1995.

Mrs. Anders also directed the children’s choir at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church and has organized countless Friday night cast parties for UF musicals that her husband directed.

She also has assured that her love of theater and music will be passed on for generations to come, contributing to multiple UF performing arts scholarships over the years, including the Dr. Micheal F. and Denise K. (Reno) Anders Vocal Music/Musical Theatre Endowed Scholarship.

Montague said Mrs. Anders “is grateful for the companies she has worked for, including Cooper Tire & Rubber and Marathon Petroleum Corp., that matched her scholarship contributions, so more students can have the rich, liberal arts education she and her family members have experienced.”

Her husband, Dr. Anders, announced the honors for Hinds and Lee.

David Hinds ’84 received a Bachelor of Arts in speech, theatre, English, and secondary education. He went on to earn a master’s degree in theatre directing in 1995 from Chicago’s Roosevelt University and in 2000, his school counseling license from the University of Dayton.

While a Findlay student, he was involved onstage and backstage with numerous plays and in five summer stock seasons. He sang with the Findlay College Chorale and studied voice with Dr. Anders.

Hinds was very involved with the Theta Chi fraternity and served as president of the Alpha Psi Omega national honorary drama fraternity. He was a disc jockey for the campus radio station WLFC; a staff writer for the campus newspaper, The Obelisk; co-editor of the Findlay College yearbook, The Argus; and president of the Findlay College Campus Programing Board.

His off-campus theatrical experience included the Fort Findlay Playhouse and Findlay’s Central Junior High School, where he directed his first play, “You Can’t Take It with You,” as well as in Fremont, Toledo, Bowling Green, and Akron.

Hinds went on to serve his entire teaching career at Olentangy Schools in Lewis Center, Ohio, as an English teacher, director of speech and theater, and later as a school counselor. He produced and directed some 50 school plays and musicals.

He also served as an adjunct professor in education at University of Dayton and on the board of directors for the Ohio Educational Theatre Association from 1987 to 1999 and as president from 1993 to 1996.

“David’s love and devotion to the University of Findlay and specifically to the Theta Chi fraternity recently has returned him to the UF campus, where he presently is serving as the pledge master for this year’s pledge class for Theta Chi,” Dr. Anders said.

Jeffrey Lee ‘86, a Findlay native, sang in the Findlay College Chorale for four years and served as choir accompanist for three years. He was a part of the original University Singers show group, then known as FC Singers, for four years. He also played clarinet and tenor saxophone in the Findlay College wind ensemble and actively participated in band for three years.

For the Findlay College theatre program, Lee recorded all the incidental keyboard music for their acclaimed production of “Amadeus,” and he served as student director of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He had the honor of performing in Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury” to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Hancock County Courthouse.

Lee graduated with bachelor’s degrees in accounting and bilingual and multicultural studies in Spanish, and moved to southern California where he worked as an IRS agent and a corporate paralegal.

He also was a tenor soloist in churches in the San Diego area and a featured soloist with community orchestras. He performed more than 10 seasons with Full Measure Carolers and with the San Diego Men’s Chorus for a 1998 Super Bowl pregame show and a 1997 Christmas reception at the White House.

Since moving back to Findlay 10 years ago, Lee has performed with the Fort Findlay Playhouse, served on the UF Curtain Raisers Society Board, and even returned to the Egner stage on campus.

“I also was honored to have Jeff sing with the UF Concert-Chorale for my final choir concert before retiring, which was the first UF performing arts event at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in 2016,” Dr. Anders noted.

Also at the ceremony, Ron Tulley, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, recognized four students who received Curtain Raisers scholarships: Annabelle Blosser, orchestra; Coraletha Brickman, performing arts; and Eva N. Reynolds, choral; and Carson Haug, technical theatre production.

In addition, Tulley honored graduating seniors who have made special contributions to UF’s performing arts programs: Cierra Black, Annabelle Blosser, Allison Brause, Audrey Dewey, Emily Falcone, Amanda French, Jessica French, Sam Luke, Avery Melroy, Brent Miller, Lacey Purvis, Isabella Saboe, Abby Tooill, Allison Smith, Emily Von Stein, Abbey Wissman, Kara Wolters, and Sarah Zimmerli.

Pictured above, from left, are: Jeffrey Lee ’86,  Denise (Reno) Anders, and David Hinds ’84.

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