Sue Heckart and Geraldine Schrader were honored in a ceremony at the Heckart Performing Arts Center. In his introductions, S-C Activities Director Rob Davis lauded both women for the opportunities they have provided for local students.
“Sue Heckart’s benevolence is seemingly boundless, especially when it comes to supporting the students of Sedalia School District 200,” Davis said, noting her donation of the building in which the ceremony was held. “Sedalia’s arts students have no greater advocate than Sue Heckart.”
Beyond the performing arts center, Heckart and her Heckart Family Foundation have provided scholarships and fulfilled needs for the school’s vocal and instrumental music departments for decades. Her tie to the arts started early; growing up, Heckart performed in a musical trio with her parents, Stella and Del.
“I am honored to be inducted with Geraldine Schrader, my high school band and orchestra teacher,” said Heckart, an S-C Class of 1957 graduate. “My gift of the Heckart Performing Arts Center signifies my commitment to a progressive community, sound educational system and my beloved alma mater. I am honored to be recognized in this way.”
Schrader, an S-C Class of ’32 alumna, started teaching in the Sedalia district in 1937 and became Director of Music, leading the band, orchestra and vocal music departments. During her tenure she created the Madrigal Singers, the forerunners to the New Score Singers, S-C’s mixed show choir; and started an annual all-district orchestra performance which included students in grades 4 through 12. She later taught at State Fair Community College, where she developed the music program and became chairwoman of the Fine Arts Department before her retirement in 1981. She also was the first woman to serve on SFCC’s Board of Trustees and was an original member of the SFCC Foundation.
Another one of her enduring legacies is the community performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”
Schrader died in 2004 at age 89. Thursday night, she was represented by her daughter, Barbara, who also is a music educator, teaching strings to local students.
“As an educator, my mother believed that students developed not only through academics but also through the activities in which they participated, whether these activities become careers or lifelong pursuits for pleasure,” Barbara Schrader said. “Geraldine would be honored that you have selected her as a member of the Activities Hall of Fame.”
The family bond was evident with both inductees, as Heckart accepted her honor as a tribute to her parents.
In her nomination letter, former Sedalia 200 Superintendent Dr. Harriet Wolfe wrote: “Sue Heckart is the perfect example of an alumnus who believes strongly in giving back to the community in which she lives and does business. … Her generosity is unequaled by most and her vision for what can be brought to the youth and the adults of this community is far-reaching.” Photos courtesy Sedalia School District 200.
Geraldine Teufel Schrader
Geraldine Schrader was a pioneer for the arts not only in the Sedalia school district, but for the entire community. A member of Smith-Cotton’s Class of 1932, Schrader launched many programs and events that continue today, including New Score Singers, the community performance of Handel’s “Messiah” and S-C’s annual musicals.
Schrader earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Central Methodist College and a master’s degree in music education from Northwestern University. After teaching one year at New Franklin, she returned to Sedalia in Fall 1937 to take a teaching job. She became Director of Music for the district, leading the band, orchestra and vocal music departments. During her tenure she created the Madrigal Singers, the forerunners to the New Score Singers, and started an annual all-district orchestra performance which included students in grades 4 through 12.
Schrader’s influence extended to State Fair Community College, as well, where she developed the music program and became chairwoman of the Fine Arts Department before her retirement in 1981. She also was the first woman to serve on SFCC’s Board of Trustees and was an original member of the SFCC Foundation. In addition, she served as choir director for many years at Wesley United Methodist Church.
Schrader died in 2004 at age 89. In her book “Legendary Locals of Sedalia,” historian Rebecca Carr Imhauser noted that Schrader’s obituary stated: “Her influence as a music educator was seen in the number of students who became professional musicians and teachers.”
Sue Heckart’s benevolence is seemingly boundless, especially when it comes to supporting the students of Sedalia School District 200.
A member of Smith-Cotton’s Class of 1957, Heckart was born with music in her veins, performing in a trio with her parents, Stella and Del. Her interest in S-C and arts education has continued throughout her life, as evidenced by the facility we are gathered in tonight, the Heckart Performing Arts Center, donated by Sue and named in honor of her beloved parents.
For more than 40 years, Heckart and her Heckart Family Foundation have fulfilled wish lists for not only instrumental and vocal music programs, but also other Sedalia 200 departments, including scholarships and financial support for trips or events. Sedalia’s arts students have no greater advocate than Sue Heckart.
Beyond this facility, she has provided most of the funding for new seating in the Smith-Cotton Junior High auditorium, has provided student scholarships and is the most generous contributor to the Smith-Cotton Stadium at Jennie Jaynes Complex project under way behind the high school. In addition, she provided the Heckart Allied Sciences Building and endowed scholarships at State Fair Community.