Alumnus Returns to Honor Deceased Friend and Professor with Concert

Dr. Scott Piper, an alumnus and renowned tenor, will return to Truman March 29 to posthumously honor a former professor whom he greatly admired.

Years ago on the Truman campus, a special friendship developed between English professor and poet Jim Thomas and a young Piper, who is the son of faculty members Fontaine Piper and Vera Piper. Although Piper would go on to carve out a distinguished career in music, he always delighted in Thomas and his craft.

Thomas was a faculty member at the University for 30 years and retired in 1994. He passed away in 2009. A scholarship in his honor is available through the Truman State University Foundation.

At 8 p.m. March 29 in Ophelia Parrish Performance Hall, Piper, now an assistant professor of music at the University of Michigan, will commemorate his friendship with a special concert to benefit the Jim Thomas Memorial Scholarship Fund. The concert will feature newly commissioned musical settings of Thomas’s poems from the acclaimed collection “Brief Tracks,” compiled and edited by Truman English professor Joe Benevento. Featured composers will be Stephen Yarbrough and Truman’s own Warren Gooch. Nancy Hueber will accompany Piper on the piano.

Tickets for this event are $10 and can be purchased online through All seating is reserved. For more information, contact the Department of Music at 660.785.4417 or