Family’s donation to Pacific aids conservatory’s distance learning

Teaching and learning music remotely is challenging, to say the least.

The quality of distance music lessons or practice depends not only on the instructor’s equipment and software but also on that of the student. That's why University of the Pacific’s Conservatory of Music staff and faculty were elated in June when the school received a generous gift from Colleen Bare’s estate in memory of her son and conservatory alumnus Randall Behr ’75, the celebrated opera conductor and educator.  

“We know there are investments our students and their families need to make in order to be prepared for effective music learning in online settings,” said Conservatory of Music Dean Peter Witte. “We are deeply grateful to the Bare/Behr family for their commitment to the conservatory because their marvelous gift will help us help our students.” 

Behr, who majored in music theory and composition, rose to become a nationally celebrated opera conductor and educator. He passed away in 2005. Unbeknownst to Pacific until the arrival of the funds, Mr. Behr’s mother, Colleen Bare, made arrangements for the gift to be made to the conservatory upon her recent passing. 

The $200,000 in Randall Behr Technology Scholarships will assist all appropriately enrolled music students with a one-time award of up to $600 for fall 2020. The scholarships are intended for the purchase of music-related technology needed for distance learning. 

Conservatory faculty and staff spent the last few months researching best software and equipment options to use in distance music learning. The results of that research were put into comprehensive video tutorials and guiding documents which are available for conservatory students to access via Canvas.