Alumna Brought Choral Music Back to Bishop, California

Alumna Diana Lanane (Credential, 2004 / M.Ed., 2007) moved to Bishop, California 20 years ago when her husband took a job in the northern Owens Valley.

The community of less than 5,000 rests beneath the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, about halfway between Death Valley and Yosemite National Park.  Ms. Lanane, a trained vocalist who once sang with the Southern California Choral Society, is one of several talented musicians in Bishop. There were at the time however, few people with the degree and credentials necessary to teach a high school choir class in this Eastern California town.

Until Ms. Lanane applied for a part-time job as a music teacher at Bishop Union High School, the students there went for ten years without a choir. It was more than an educational shortcoming for the local school district. Every holiday season the sounds of yuletide cheer from local youth fell strangely silent.

In December 2004, members of the Bishop Union High School Choir sang at a public tree lighting ceremony sponsored by the local chamber of commerce. It was an event that couldn’t have occurred, Ms. Lanane said, if it weren’t for National University. With a degree in music from Cal Lutheran University, she still needed a teaching credential to form and lead a high school choir.

Without access to National University’s online credential program, Ms. Lanane said the only other option would have been to travel up to 200 miles every weekend to attend an extension course in San Joaquin Valley. Such a long-distance commute wouldn’t have been possible at the time for the mother of four children.

Online courses have transformed education in small rural towns like Bishop,” she added. “It has allowed me to go to work every day and do something I love, and in this instance it has brought something very special back to this community.”

For the past 10 years Ms. Lanane has vocally directed several student shows and eight musicals for the local playhouse. Currently she is working on the musical production Chicago. Her theater group is among a few nationally who won the lottery to be allowed to produce it.

The National University Alumni Association salutes Ms. Lanane’s professional accomplishments, along with the cultural contributions she has brought to Bishop.  Her education has impacted her community for the greater!