CRETE – Joann Snitily Couton, a Wahoo native and 1974 graduate of Doane University, was the 2019 recipient of the Platt Music Award at Doane’s annual Alumni Awards Banquet, held Sunday, Oct. 13 at Doane’s Crete campus.
Doane University celebrated “Homecoming 2019: Together as Tigers” the week of Oct. 6 through 13 with events at multiple locations at its various campuses in Crete, Lincoln, Omaha, and Grand Island.
Born and raised in Wahoo, Couton graduated from Bishop Neumann High School in 1970. Couton had an interest in pursuing a degree in music education in college, and her band director suggested she visit Doane College in Crete.
“The college band director at the time, James Mabry, drove to Wahoo one evening and visited with my parents and me at the high school, answering many of our questions,” Couton said. “I felt like Doane wanted me to come to Crete. It was that feeling that drew me there.”
Couton studied Music Education at Doane, graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 1974. She met the love of her life, Bob Couton ‘87, while the two were attending Doane. Bob entered the workforce after three years at Doane and then returned to Doane a decade later to finish his bachelor’s degree at Doane’s Lincoln campus. Joann and Bob went on to have three kids, two of which also attended Doane – Dr. Julie Couton Garai and Krista Couton.
After graduating from Doane, Joann saw her dreams become a reality. She taught music at Exeter High School in Exeter for two years, taught at Raymond Central High School in Raymond for three years, and finished her career teaching at Bishop Neumann High School, where she taught for 33 years.
“You never stop learning,” Couton said. “You sometimes learn as much from your students as they learn from you.”
While teaching at Bishop Neumann, Couton led the Bishop Neumann Elementary/Junior High Music Contest for 25 years, directed the Bishop Neumann National Anthem Singers in a performance at the College World Series in Omaha in 2006 (as well as multiple state championship games), and directed bands that consistently received excellent and superior ratings at state, district, and local competitions.
Couton has received a number of accolades for her work, including receiving the Nebraska State Bandmasters Donald A. Lentz Award in 2014, the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association (NSBA) Academic Excellence Award for 14 consecutive years, and the Howard Hansen Award from Wahoo Chamber of Commerce in 2005.
Couton was also a staff member for the 2005 and 2009 Nebraska Ambassadors of Music European Tours and served on the Executive Board of the Nebraska State Bandmasters for 15 years.
The Platt Music Award is presented to a Doane graduate for outstanding achievement in music, selected by Doane’s Music Department. For Couton’s numerous contributions to music in Nebraska, she is very deserving of this award.
“It’s an honor to receive the Platt Music Award from a place that has played such an important role in my life,” Couton said. “My family and I will continue to hold Doane University in a very special corner of our hearts.”