Wall of Fame


About The Wall of Fame


Fifth Third Bank and Marathon Center for the Performing Arts are proud to present  The Wall of Fame, which recognizes those who have academic, professional and/or civic ties to Findlay/Hancock County, and whose impact has been recognized at the highest level in music, dance, theatre and visual arts.

The nominating process begins October 1 and ends December 31 each Year. All nomination forms received shall be reviewed extensively by a Selection Committee comprised of community philanthropic, artistic and business members, representatives from Fifth Third Bank, and the  Executive Director of MCPA. After Committee deliberation and upon selection by majority vote, a Nominee will be chosen and announced. To download the 2018 nomination form, CLICK HERE.

The public shall be invited to attend the MCPA/Fifth Third Wall of Fame Recognition Event which will occur in early May annually.  The name of the annually selected Nominee shall then be permanently displayed on the Wall of Fame in the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.


2017 Inductees:

Russel Crouse

Russel McKinley Crouse, born in Findlay and boasting a strong Findlay heritage, is most famously known for his roles as a Broadway playwright, producer and theater manager.

Crouse first pursued a career in acting in 1928, but took a job as a publicist for the Theatre Guild and began writing for the stage, his first Broadway credit being in 1931 for “The Gang’s All Here.” Here he worked alongside some of the greatest theatrical minds, including Oscar Hammerstein and Howard Lindsay. It was with theatre veteran, Howard Lindsay, that he spent the greater portion of his career in collaboration. A partnership so successful it is considered to be one of the longest and most successful in Broadway history.

Lindsay and Crouse wrote and produced such well known plays as “Anything Goes,” “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “The Sound of Music,” among many others. The collaboration of Crouse and Lindsay lasted until 1962, ultimately earning them a Tony achievement award in 1959 for a partnership that outlasted even that of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Among these achievements, Crouse also earned the 1946 Pulitzer Price for Drama for “State of the Union,” a 1960 Tony award for the musical, “The Sound of Music,” and holds the record for the longest running non-musical in Broadway history, “Life with Father.” Crouse is also a member of the Theatre Hall of Fame.

Nominator Gregory Meyers said, “His theatrical legacy is an enduring one, and Findlay and Hancock County should be proud of the fact that a young boy, who grew up on First St., is responsible for some of the most iconic plays in Broadway history.”

John “Scott” Lavender

John “Scott” Lavender, graduate from the Findlay High School class of 1971, credits his Findlay middle school music teacher, Lyle Miller, as the catalyst for his musical endeavors. Having spent his childhood and formative years in Findlay, Ohio, Lavender went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Bowling Green State University and his master’s in conducting from California State University.

Boasting a professional career of over 40 years, Lavender is an entrepreneur in the music industry playing, conducting, teaching, managing, arranging and writing for a wide variety of performing soloists, groups and institutions.

Whether collaborating or performing his own unique arrangements on stage, Lavender is a regularly welcomed guest with orchestras around the globe. But perhaps is most well known for his 24-year musical direction of world celebrity, Johnny Mathis. He has also spent time directing artists, Glenn Yarbough and Toni Tennille.

More recently, Lavender has been working as an adjunct associate professor at BGSU, a conductor for the Ohio Northern University Symphony Orchestra, a Tiffin University artist in residence, and an adjunct professor of music at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California. He also volunteers his time and talent on local committees and at area music events.




2015-2016 Inductees:

Gavin Creel, Actor and Vocalist

David Cryer, Actor and Vocalist

Clifford Leroy Hite, Music Teacher and Director  (posthumous honoree)

Dr. William Jack McBride, Educator and Findlay Light Opera Company Founder  (posthumous honoree)

Wendene Wilson Shoupe, Celebrated pianist and piano teacher




Gavin Creel

Findlay native Gavin Creel has been delighting audiences for more than 30 years –gavin phot as a celebrated virtuoso vocalist, musical theater actor and television actor worldwide.

On the musical stage, Gavin played the leading role on Broadway in “Thoroughly Modern Millie;” “Mary Poppins” in London; “Hair,” both in London and on Broadway; “Book of Mormon,” in London and on Broadway, and more. He is next to perform in “She Loves Me,” in 2016 on Broadway.

On television, Gavin appeared in “Eloise at the Plaza,” and “Eloise at Christmastime,” both co-starring Julie Andrews. He also writes songs and has recorded three original albums.

Among his many achievements, Gavin is the recipient of the Sir Laurence Olivier Award in London for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for “Book of Mormon” (comparable to the Tony Award in the United States). He also received Tony Award nominations for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Hair.”

Attending Findlay schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, Gavin sang in various church choirs from the age of 3 to college age. He was active in Findlay school and vocal groups, musicals and Findlay First Edition performance group. He received his higher education from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

Nominator Rosanna Palmer said, “With his many achievements, Gavin maintains a supportive professional demeanor within his career while being the genuinely kind and caring individual he has always been. Most compelling is the recognition for his excellence by the members of his profession.”

David Cryer

For more than 60 years, 1954 Findlay High School graduate David Cryer has been thrilling audiences across America in the place where he is most at home and commands a marvelous, masterful presence – the stage.

David has played Monsieur Firmin in “Phantom of the Opera” for more than 7,000 performances, for six years on Broadway and 13 years all across America. He played Peron in “Evita” on Broadway more than 1,000 times – more than any other actor – and has appeared in 13 Broadway shows in all.

Reflecting upon his career, David was thrilled to play the same role of The Red Shadow in “The Desert Song,” on Broadway just as he had done at Findlay High School; he credits “Come Summer” on Broadway as most fun, as it was during the production he met his wife of 41 years, Britt Swanson Cryer; and he fondly remembers singing show stopper “Molasses to Rum” in Broadway show “1776.” David felt privileged to work with Leonard Bernstein in his “Mass” and played the lead role of The Celebrant at the Metropolitan Opera House all over the U.S. – more times than any other person.

Cryer is one of the founders of The American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, which was moved from its original location in Pittsburgh. He is also a founder of New York’s Mirror Repertory Theatre. As a producer, Cryer teamed with Albert Poland to create national tour “The Fantasticks” and “Now is Time for All Good Men,” which played in a New York theater now known as the Lucille Lortel Theatre. He also directed Bernstein’s “Mass” for the Seattle Opera.

Cryer appeared in movies “New York Stories,” “American Gigolo,” and “Escape from Alcatraz.” On television, he played roles on “Law and Order,” “Dallas,” and “Wonder Woman” (during which he notes he was lassoed by the woman), and appeared in soap operas “Where the Heart Is” and “As the World Turns.”


Clifford Leroy Hite

Cliff Hite, Findlay’s “music man,” influenced and enriched the lives of thousands in the Findlay community from Cliff 020a1943 to 2004.

Among his many contributions, Cliff served as coordinator of vocal and instrumental music at Findlay High School, teaching music and conducting the concert and marching bands, as well as the symphony orchestra. Under his direction, the concert band received acclaim at numerous invitational events, and was chosen to be on the Historic Roll of Honor of High School Bands of America. This nationally renowned band was invited to perform at music venues in local colleges and universities, Chicago, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

In the 1950s, Hite organized and became conductor of the Findlay Civic Symphony Orchestra, made up of community members from all walks of life who still wanted to make music. He directed choirs at two churches in Findlay, directed the summer concert series held at Riverside Park, and from 1987 to 1990, directed the Findlay Light Opera Company, among other accomplishments.

He taught summer sessions at The Ohio State University and The University of Kentucky, and served on the faculty of the University of Findlay.

Cliff was on the receiving end of numerous accolades, most notably the national Mack Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Findlay, and in 1988 was enshrined into the Ohio Band Directors Conference Hall of Fame.

Dr. William Jack McBride

Dr. William “Jack” McBride left an indelible mark on the Findlay community, both in founding the Findlay LightJack 12 Opera Company and through a lifetime of successful involvement in music and music education until his death in 2007. Jack was vice president for academic affairs and dean of Findlay College from 1964 to 1984, then served as assistant to the president under Dr. Ken Zirkle until his retirement in 1992.

McBride greatly strengthened the arts at Findlay College and was founding chair in 1983 of the Findlay Light Opera Company. The FLOC offered summer music programming for 25 years on the Central Auditorium stage, now the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts. The widely-enjoyed performances brought high-quality, fully-staged operetta and musical theater to the Findlay community, drawing large audiences, attracting talented outside performers, and providing opportunity for local talent to perform.

Born in Beaver Falls, Pa., Jack attended the Julliard School of Music for one year and earned a professional diploma in music performance. He held master’s and doctoral degrees in music education from Columbia University and earned his bachelor’s degree in education from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. Jack shared his extensive musical expertise with the FLOC both on and off the stage, as a performer, chorus master, and adamant promoter.

Dr. McBride served in the Navy during World War II and married wife, Betty McCrory, in 1947. Before coming to Findlay in 1964, he was dean of students at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio; associate professor at the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio; and a teacher at Rye Country Day School in New York and Bessemer Public Schools in Alabama.

Wendene Wilson Shoupe

Wendene Shoupe has been a concert pianist and piano teacher in Findlay for more than 50 years. Originally fromSoloist NYC. Student at Juilliard late 1930's early 1940's Texas, she was trained at the Juilliard School of Music, and through the years has positively shaped and enhanced the lives of countless students. Her many outstanding performances have been enjoyed and cherished by the community, and her accolades are many. She is a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, a fraternity for outstanding musicians, and has received awards from the organization.

Nominator and internationally-acclaimed professional organist Joshua Brodbeck shared, “When I took piano lessons from her, she pushed me towards excellence and I think her work ethic helped me to achieve my professional musical goals. …Although she is a trained concert pianist, she also made time to accompany students for Solo and Ensemble contest.”


Feeding Our Communities

Each year on May 3 (5/3), Fifth Third Bank celebrates Fifth Third Day with service to the community. In addition to unveiling the Fifth Third Bank Wall of Fame at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts, Fifth Third will also honor the West Ohio Food Bank for their dedication to Feeding Our Communities. Across their 12-state footprint, Fifth Third employees have provided more than 2.4 million meals since making Feeding Our Communities the focus of Fifth Third Day in 2012.

Wall of Fame Nominations

The nominating process begins October 15 and ends December 31 each Year. All nomination forms received shall be reviewed extensively by a Selection Committee comprised of community philanthropic, artistic and business members, representatives from Fifth Third Bank, and the  Executive Director of MCPA. After Committee deliberation and upon selection by majority vote, a Nominee will be chosen and announced.

The public shall be invited to attend the MCPA/Fifth Third Wall of Fame Recognition Event which will occur in early May annually.  The name of the annually selected Nominee shall then be permanently displayed on the Wall of Fame in the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts.

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