Elizabeth Nichols

Obituary
3 entries
  • "Liz introduced me to Orff soon after I graduated from..."
    - Janice Salyer
  • "I was fortunate enough to have been one of the flute..."
  • "Topeka and Colorado Springs are blessed to have had..."
    - Michael Jamison
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Elizabeth Nichols led a magical life both here in the United States and abroad as a performer, teacher and elementary music education specialist. Betty, as she was known then, graduated with a dual degree in French and Spanish from Pittsburgh State University, followed by a Masters in flute performance from Kansas State University. She was a member of the Topeka Symphony Orchestra, and later the Brico Symphony Orchestra in Denver. She began teaching music to children in the 1950s, and, during the summers in the 1960s, taught the children of performers at the Aspen Music Festival, where she also studied classical flute. Liz later established an innovative music education program at Colorado Academy, a Denver prep school. Her passion for music, children and teaching inevitably led her to the Orff Institute in Vienna, where she studied with Carl Orff in 1968. Liz returned to the United States to take a position as an associate professor of music education at Ball State University in Indiana. While on sabbatical from the University, she taught in Canada and South Africa, and also gave workshops across the U.S. for decades. Liz retired to Topeka and remained active by forming a performing renaissance consort with four other musicians, the Castle and Cross. An arm injury in later years left her unable to play her beloved classical flute, so she picked up the Indian Flute, and later formed the Colorado Springs Indian Flute Society. She became known as Grandmother Flute Player, and wrote and published stories and music to use as she presented programs. Her love of nature fostered her interest in writing poetry and especially haikus. She was active in Pen Women, and the Colorado Springs Haiku Association. She lived an active and creative life for almost 90 years, collaborating, mentoring, and inspiring many along the way, from Kansas and Colorado to Thailand, where she sponsored a young woman who later became a dear friend. She spent the last several years of her life in Colorado Springs with her beloved Siamese cats, Bravo and Encore, who passed away shortly before Liz. Liz passed away peacefully on July 21, 2012, in sight of her treasured Garden of the Gods. Liz is survived by her son, Peter Nichols of Boulder, her granddaughter, Kelcey Nichols, and many dear friends and colleagues. She attended the Unity Church of Christianity in Topeka. Arrangements by NewcomerDenver.com; memorial contributions may be made to Kansas Children's Service League (www.kcsl.org). A memorial service is planned for the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs in September. Elizabeth Nichols
Published in Topeka Capital-Journal on July 28, 2012