Glenwood Springs High School theater dedicated to Jeannie Miller |

Glenwood Springs High School theater dedicated to Jeannie Miller

Jeannie Miller

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A music teacher who touched thousands of lives in her 20 years at Glenwood Springs High School will be forever remembered with the official dedication of the new Jeannie Miller Theatre on Wednesday.

Miller taught music and choir at GSHS until her retirement in 2005. The following summer she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and died a short time later.

There will be a formal dedication of the theater at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday during the GSHS back-to-school open house. The evening’s events begin at 6:30 with tours, light refreshments and musical entertainment.

Gayla Rowe, a former drama and speech teacher who is now the assistant principal at GSHS, worked with Miller on the design of the new theater, which is part of the recently completed new high school building.

They also worked together on Miller’s last two student musical productions, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in 2003, and “Les Miserables” in 2005.

“It just seemed right,” Rowe said of the decision to name the facility after Miller. She and fellow staff members and former students wrote a letter to the school board, and the idea was embraced.

“Jeannie was one of the backbones and rocks of the entire school,” Rowe said. “Not only what she brought to the staff, but she transformed the music department. Many of her students went on to pursue music and theater as a career, attending colleges all over the United States.”

Among them was current GSHS choral director Shanti Gruber, who graduated from GSHS in 2000 and went on to study music education at the University of Northern Colorado. She eventually returned to Glenwood Springs and has stepped into the role of her former mentor.

“She was a lover of music, and life,” Gruber said of Miller. “Just the joy I saw on her face when she was directing. … She definitely inspired me to go on to music school and got me prepared for my auditions. And always, any questions I had about music she was willing to help me out.”

Gruber was the musical director for the first official performance in the new theater last spring, called “Wonderland: The Musical Misadventures of a Girl Named Alice.” Another GSHS alumna, Jennetta Meitler Howell, was the director/choreographer for the production.

At the time of Miller’s cancer diagnosis, Tracy Rodgers shared an inspirational story about her son, who was one of Miller’s students, which appeared in a Post Independent article.

“She was my son’s favorite teacher through all these years in school. She never knew until later in his years of school that he was hearing impaired for most of his life,” she wrote in a get-well message to Miller. “When she found out, she never treated him any different. Since then I have and will always treasure Jeannie as an individual for the impact that she has made in my son’s life.”

Because of her, Rodgers noted that their son also chose music as his major in college.

Now, a music scholarship is given every year to graduating GSHS seniors in Miller’s memory.

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