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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

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Lisa Foerster

Lisa Foerster

Photo courtesy of: College of Fine Arts

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School of Music mourns the death of Lisa Foerster


The School of Music mourns the passing of faculty member Lisa Foerster, assistant professor of voice, who died Wednesday in an automobile accident, on Route 56 in northern Vinton County, along with her two children, Emma C. Hamel, 19, and Thomas J. Hamel, 18, and her sister Lorraine E. Alsterberg, 57, of Oregon. 

“The faculty are shocked and saddened by this loss. It’s incredibly difficult to lose a member of our community,” said Chris Hayes, Director of the School of Music, who added, “she brought a lot to the voice program, both on stage, and in the classroom.”

“We are heartbroken to learn of this tragedy. I know that Lisa was a valued colleague and friend in our community and her dedication to our students and her delight in music will be long remembered,” said Elizabeth Sayrs, interim dean of the College of Fine Arts.

Foerster joined the OHIO faculty two years ago, moving to Athens from Greensboro, North Carolina. She worked closely with many students, teaching applied voice, and opera theater courses in the School of Music. She was the director of Opera Theater, and served as musical director for the spring production of Urinetown.

Debra Rentz, the chair of the voice program, worked closely with Foerster, and recalled her as an extraordinary singer, teacher and scholar. 

“Lisa was one of the most positive and encouraging people I have ever known. Her passion for music and learning was contagious, and she truly inspired her students and colleagues to be the best they can be. Lisa was giving of her time, always willing to meet with students outside of class. Her contributions to the School of Music are immeasurable, and her warmth, infectious laugh, talent and enthusiasm will be forever missed,” said Rentz.

A native of Oregon, Lisa received her Bachelor of Music degree in voice from St. Olaf College and her Master of Music and Artist Diploma from the Cleveland Institute of Music. She made her professional operatic debut with Lyric Opera Cleveland where she sang Marie in Daughter of the Regiment, and Blondchen in Abduction from the Seraglio. Subsequently she spent 13 years singing in Germany, and then another five years as instructor of voice at Claflin University in South Carolina. In 2012, Lisa received her D.M.A. in vocal performance at UNC Greensboro. She was also a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

A local memorial event is being planned, and details will be shared when more information becomes available.

Students in need of support are encouraged to contact Counseling and Psychological Services anytime at 740-593-1616 or stop by the third floor of Hudson Hall during walk-in hours (Monday through Friday, 9:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.) to speak with a counselor. Arrangements are currently being made for a grief counselor to speak to faculty and staff in group and individual sessions.

This article was provided by the College of Fine Arts.