Northwestern music scholarship honors memory of Joan Talley Fisher

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Northwestern music scholarship honors memory of Joan Talley Fisher


Joan Talley Fisher
The Joan Talley Fisher Scholarship at Northwestern Oklahoma State University was established by the alumna’s husband, friends and family to honor her love of music.

For Joan Talley Fisher, music was not just a hobby but a vocation that she pursued from a very early age. Beginning with piano and clarinet lessons, Fisher’s skills grew and she was able to help finance her college education by giving piano lessons.

Originally a music major at the University of Kansas, Fisher suffered from pain in her hands from rigorous six-hour-a-day practices. Any hopes she had of becoming a concert pianist were not to be attained.

Fisher changed her focus from a professional career in music to elementary education and eventually taught in the Alva Schools system for 25 years. However, she never gave up music entirely. Much of her spare time was spent as a pianist for the First United Methodist Church, as well as accompanying practices and performances for several vocal groups in Alva.

Because of Fisher’s love and dedication to music, her husband, Jack Fisher of Alva, along with family and friends, established the Joan Talley Fisher Scholarship upon her passing in November 2012 at the age of 77. The Joan Talley Fisher Scholarship is intended to assist students with a major in instrumental music or vocal music pursue their undergraduate degree at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

Joan completed her master’s degree in education at Northwestern, and she and Jack kept close ties to the university through their loyal attendance to the Northwest Concert Series and theatre performances. They enjoyed attending football games and especially enjoyed watching the band perform at halftime when their son, Charles Fisher, was a member.

“It was Joan’s idea to establish a scholarship at Northwestern when our son, Charles, died, so I know that she would be honored to have a scholarship that bears her name,” Jack said. “Joan had dreamed of playing the piano for the most important people in the world. Though this did not come to pass, Joan realized after playing the piano regularly at church that she actually was playing for the most important people in the world.”

Jack also said that he believes that this scholarship is a good way to honor Joan’s memory and love of music and serves as a way for her to continue to help young people.

Full-time continuing students with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.5 majoring in instrumental or vocal music are eligible for the Joan Talley Fisher Scholarship. This scholarship may be applied toward university-related expenses, such as tuition, fees, room, board or books.

For more information about this scholarship or about investing in Northwestern students, call Skeeter Bird, Northwestern Foundation CEO, at 580-327-8599 or email him at