Embracing a Love of Music

Jen Gunnels

from Spring 2016

For the Starost Speicher family, music was and is a gift to be shared with others. Helen Starost Speicher earned her bachelor’s degree from Butler in 1941 and her master’s degree in 1948 before going on to play music professionally, often alongside her sister Lillian, who also earned music degrees from Butler. The sisters embraced a love of music from their parents and grandparents, and spent their lives passing that love on to others. Both women spent many years teaching music in Indianapolis Public Schools and were active in arts organizations throughout the Midwest. 

Together with her husband Bill ’35 and her sister Lillian ’38 MA ’48, Starost Speicher also chose to share her love of music by establishing three scholarships at Butler during her lifetime: The William and Helen Speicher Outstanding Music Performance Award, The Anne Starost Memorial Music Award, and The Starost Speicher Music Memorial Award. 

“My mother and aunt were both professional musicians and they were very grateful for their education,” said Helen and Bill’s daughter Anne Soper. “They wanted to afford others with the same opportunities they had because they knew how difficult it is to become a professional musician, especially how financially difficult it can be.” 

The scholarships also honor Helen and Lillian’s parents, Anne and Charles Starost, who were both accomplished musicians. The three endowed scholarships currently benefit six Jordan College of the Arts students; Whitney Cleveland ’17 is the current recipient of two of those scholarships. 

“It wouldn’t be possible for me to attend Butler without my scholarships,” Cleveland said. “I’m from a small town in western Montana, and while I grew up being very fortunate to have great teachers and strong and thriving community theatre, I didn’t have any friends my age who were serious about music. Being able to be surrounded by talented, dedicated musicians every day inspires me to work harder to fulfill my own potential.” 

Soper says it would have brought her parents great joy to know that the scholarships they established are helping promising students like Cleveland pursue music at Butler. 

“There was a lot of family history at Butler,” Soper said. “Butler was a very special place in their hearts.”