Coos Bay, OR  The Music Department of Southwestern Oregon Community College is proud to present a series of concerts during the week of June 3 through 10, 2018. Retiring Director, Ida Jo Gates, is proud to expand upon the usual end-of-term offerings and hopes that everyone can attend all of the concerts. 

Sunday, June 3: The Community Choir, under the direction of David Aaker, will perform several classical choral works at 2:00 pm at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (1290 Thompson Rd., Coos Bay). There is no cost to attend the concert, and the choir cordially invites all of the community to come and enjoy their musical offering.

Monday, June 4: Individual students from the studios of Southwestern music instructors will be present a recital at Hales Center for the Performing Arts (1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay) at 7:00 pm. The teachers represented are Dana Childs, Ida Jo Gates, Sarah Kimball, Lynne Kuhn and Heather Williams. There is no cost to attend the concert.

Tuesday, June 5: “Ida Jo & Friends” – in a re-creation of a concert series that Ms. Gates has produced in California, Arizona and Coos Bay (Spring, 2010), selected students will join her on stage at Hales Center for the Performing Arts at 7:00 pm. There is no cost to attend the concert.

Wednesday, June 6: “Jazz Night” – the Southwestern Jazz Band, under the direction of Cameron Jerde, and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Ida Jo Gates will present a variety of jazz standards (and a few vocal surprises). The Jazz Band will be joined by three dancers from Ballet Pacific. The concert will be held at Hales Center for the Performing Arts at 7:00 pm. There is no cost to attend the concert.

Sunday, June 10: In collaboration with the Southwestern Music Club, the Oregon Coast Music Association will present Stephen Moeckel, violin and Paula Fan, piano in a fundraising benefit concert. Mr. Moeckel is the concertmaster of the summer festival orchestra. He and Ms. Fan are world-renowned performers, and together their collaboration is called Duo Amabile. The concert is being held at Hales Center for the Performing Arts at 3:00 pm with a pre-concert talk by Mr. Moeckel at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $40 each or $75 for a family, and can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 541-267-0938 or on the web at

Ms. Gates cordially thanks Southwestern and the community for all the support she has received over the years at the college, both as a part time instructor and as head of the department this past year. “Our south coast community is full of talented student-musicians, and it has been an honor to help guide them in their musical endeavors and adventures!”

Diversity in the Workplace talk by Cass Averill

COOS BAY, Ore.  Southwestern Oregon Community College proudly welcomes Cass Averill, Board President, Founder and Administrator of Trans*Ponder, to speak about Diversity and the Workplace. His presentation will take place on May 31, 2018 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm on the Coos campus of Southwestern, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay, in Eden Hall. 

Cass Averill is a computer security specialist by profession and a transgender activist by passion. He founded Trans*Ponder in 2012; has organized countless events catered to spreading support, education, and awareness for the trans/gender diverse communities; and works hard to keep the “T” in the LGBT an active part of the conversation. Mr. Averill is also a sexual orientation and gender identity advocate in the corporate sector. He was the first person to publicly transition on the job in his fortune 500 global corporation, advocated for (and ultimately received) transgender-inclusive healthcare, instituted guidelines for how-to transition within the company, implemented all-gender single-stall restrooms, and continues to author and advise on transgender/transition related policies and procedures. Mr. Averill attends the Out and Equal Workplace Equality conference annually to remain contemporary with what is happening politically for LGBTQIA people in the professional/corporate sector. He works with organizations to provide gender diversity awareness training, policy and procedure consultation, and promotes the inclusive treatment of transgender employees and clientele. Mr. Averill holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Assurance and Security from Capella University.

Mr. Averill’s discussion of how to promote a climate of inclusivity in the workplace is free and open to all!

For more information on the exhibition and Mr. Averill’s presentation, please contact John Bacon ( or Sara Keene ( / (541-888-7127). 

TransPonder Flyer

COOS BAY, Ore.  Southwestern Oregon Community College is happy to partner with the Coos History Museum and the community to host a creative writing contest for high school and Southwestern students. Poetry and short fiction entries will be accepted, and prizes will be awarded to first, second, third place and honorable mention winners for both categories.  Winners will have an opportunity to read their work at Oregon Author Day in the Coos History Museum on October 13, 2018.  The contest submission deadline is Thursday, May 31, 2018.  

For more information, please download the contest flyer and submission guidelines or contact Amy Pollicino at

COOS BAY, Ore.  Southwestern Oregon Community College is honored to welcome Mitzi Loftus back to Coos County for a special talk and exhibit. Ms. Loftus spent three years in a wartime internment camp in Tulelake, California during World War II and will be speaking about her experiences. Please join us for her presentation on May 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm in the Hales Center for the Performing Arts, on the Coos campus of Southwestern Oregon Community College, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay.

Ms. Loftus’ presentation is part of Graham Street Production’sArchitecture of Internment: The Buildup to Wartime Incarceration, hosted by Southwestern’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. The traveling exhibition highlights the role of Oregonians in the decision to incarcerate 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry, of whom more than two-thirds were U.S. citizens. The display includes documents from 1941 and 1942 advocating for the exclusion and incarceration of Oregonian Japanese Americans, blueprints of potential assembly centers and internment camp locations such as racetracks and fairgrounds, and letters from Japanese Americans expressing their outrage about the injustice of internment. Southwestern will be hosting this exhibition from May 14 to May 28, 2018 in the Empire Hall Lobby. Ms. Loftus will bring the exhibition to a close with her personal reflections on wartime internment.

Mitzi Loftus was born in Hood River, Oregon and graduated from Hood River High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Oregon in 1954 and a master’s degree in 1960. She married and had three sons, all of whom graduated from Marshfield High School. Ms. Loftus has a remarkable teaching record, spanning multiple continents and several languages. She taught at Creswell High School for three years and in 1957 received a Fulbright award to teach English as a Foreign Language in Japan. She went on to teach French in Eugene in 1960 and began substitute teaching in Eugene and Coos Bay/North Bend for the following 30+ years, punctuated by a three-year interlude from 1969 to 1971 when she and her family lived in Germany. Ms. Loftus moved to Ashland in 2006, where she currently resides. Ms. Loftus has published a memoir of her life as a Japanese-American in Oregon titled, Made in Japan and Settled in Oregon.

For more information on the exhibition and Ms. Loftus’ presentation, please contact Sara Keene at 541-888-7127,

Mitzi Loftus Flyer