Otto Dingeldein Award goes to Cape musician and Jackson artist

Saturday, October 22, 2005

For the first time in 20 years, the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri has awarded two people with its Otto Dingeldein Award.

The award is given each year to an individual in Southeast Missouri whose artistic achievements have enriched local culture. It was started in 1975, and named after the founder of the Arts Council and the award's first recipient.

Narvol A. Randol Jr. of Cape Girardeau and Herb Wickham of Jackson took home this year's award. The Arts Council received 13 nominations from the community, said director Rebecca Fulgham.

"The nominations this year were all extremely qualified, and we just couldn't make up our minds," Fulgham said.

So the council chose two.

Randol has long been a member of the Arts Council and has been a part of the local arts community as a trumpeter and instructor since his high school days when he participated in Central High School's marching and stage bands.

He received the award during intermission a concert featuring internationally renowned Gershwin pianist, Jack Gibbons, at Academic Auditorium at Southeast Missouri State University.

Randol said he was honored and was not sure he was worthy.

"I'm just proud to be a part of the community in a small way," he said.

Randol joined the Cape Girardeau Municipal Band while in high school and is currently president of the band and plays with the Jerry Ford Orchestra. He's also well-known for playing taps on his trumpet at veterans' funerals.

His service goes beyond music, as he is also a founding member of the River Heritage Mural Association, has served on the board of directors of Southeast Missouri Hospital and is currently vice president of the board of the hospital's School of Nursing. He is the vice president of the Bank of Missouri.

"He's just always there, he's always there to participate and donate his time," Fulgham said. "He's always somebody that can be counted on, but he stays in the background, never in the forefront."

In addition to participating in the arts, Randol is also a supporter, playing in the orchestra for Notre Dame Regional High School musicals and supporting the Central High School bands as a booster. Also active in the Boy Scouts of America, Randol has received their Silver Beaver Award.

Wickham is well-known among local art circles for his work as a landscape artist and one of the original members of the Visual Arts Cooperative. Wickham also has a long 31-year history in education as a teacher and is the past president of the Southeast Missouri Educators Association.

Wickham said that he did not know would even qualify.

"I just paint and I've had kids at school and they enjoyed it," Wickham said. He surveyed the room and recognized two former students, local artist Craig Thomas and Arts Council member Vicki Outman.

"Herb was selected for a completely different reason than Narvol," Fulgham said. "He is a fine artist in his own right, but he has dedicated his life to teaching others. He has touched a lot of lives through his teaching."

In his years in education Wickham has worked with four past Dingeldein winners: Jake Wells, Craig Thomas, Nick Leist and Carol Horst. Wickham continues to educate even in retirement by giving workshops and demonstrations to area schoolchildren. He's also a veteran who served in the Missouri Army National Guard for 40 years, retiring as a colonel.

The Arts Council also announced its new officers of the board of directors at the meeting. The new officers are Claudia Ruediger, chair; Carol Sparkman, vice chair; Dennis Seyer, treasurer; and Priscilla Kasten, secretary. Retiring board member Pat Stehr was recognized for her efforts and new board members Ann Ritter, Marilyn Nenninger and Kim McDowell were installed.

Staff writer Julia Metelski contributed to this report.

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