Ruth Spayde Receives Orpheus Award

CMU’s Phi Mu Alpha award a surprise

Image placeholderDaniel Long, Beta Mu Chapter alumni relations officer,
and Austin Long, Beta Mu chapter president, with
Orpheus awardee Ruth Spayde

Beta Mu Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (PMA) presented its top award to Fayette resident and Central Methodist University staff member Ruth Spayde the weekend of March 22 in a special alumni gathering in Fayette.

The Orpheus Award, named for the Greek hero Orpheus, who was known for his power of music, is the highest award a PMA chapter may designate. Created in 1973, the national award may be given by a chapter to a person who has "significantly and lastingly contributed to the cause of music in America, either as a composer, performer, educator, entrepreneur, legislator, or patron of the arts."

Spayde meets the criteria well, as performer, educator, and patron of the arts. She has taught piano for more than 30 years. She began work for the Swinney Conservatory of Music in 2005 and is currently the administrative assistant for "The Con" as well as staff and student accompanist on piano.

Spayde also coordinates the Conservatory's Music Festival, held every year in March. She created and runs the yearly CMU Piano Camp for students of varying ages that is held each summer. In fact, as the Music Department knows, she is the mortar that holds the Con together.

For 20 years, Spayde served as music and choir director at Linn Memorial United Methodist Church in Fayette; and she has been the church's organist for 30 years. She has performed on organ and in musical ensembles, along with husband Ted Spayde, throughout the region.

Spayde graduated as Ruth Cheffey from Central Methodist in 1970 with a bachelor of music degree. She immediately married Ted, the only son of Dean Luther T. Spayde, organist and legendary director of the A Cappella Choir at Central from its founding in 1932 until his death in 1972.

While at Central, Ruth belonged to Tau Chapter of Phi Beta Fraternity for the Creative and Performing Arts and later belonged to Fayette's alumni chapter of Phi Beta for a number of years. In college she was in CMU bands and A Cappella Choir, touring with both each year. She also belonged to Pi Kappa Theta social sorority during college and was named a member of Who's Who among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

Last fall, Spayde was also honored as the Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Outstanding Staff of the Year for Central Methodist University.

Photo: Daniel Long, Beta Mu Chapter alumni relations officer, and Austin Long, Beta Mu chapter president, with Orpheus awardee Ruth Spayde


Posted March 31, 2014