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Alumni Entrepreneurs

Gretchen Christopher, 1982

Business/Organization/Inventions

Gold Cup Music

Type of Business

Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media

Contact Information

Fleetwoods / Gold Cup Music
Olympia, WA
Email

Please describe any patents you hold on inventions or processes and where those are held and when you got the patent.

From 1958, as a teenager, and on into the 21st century, as a Leap Year teenager, again, I've created original music and lyrics for which I've held the copyrights; from the hit 1959 single "Come Softly To Me" - #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, Million-Seller Gold Record and Best Selling Sheet Music in USA and UK, to the 2007 CD, "Gretchen's Sweet Sixteen (Suite 16)" - a Billboard Critics' Pick for 10 Best Albums of the Year (including 16 self-penned autobiographical songs).

How did Evergreen prepare you for your professional life?

After 11 Billboard Hit Singles and 15 albums as The Fleetwoods' original lead female Vocalist, BMI Million Airs Songwriter and Gold Record Vocal Arranger, I left Hollywood and ultimately returned to Olympia, WA, where I sought help from Evergreen music faculty Don Chan in learning to notate one of my most complex jazz instrumentals and other new songs. Some of the latter now appear on SUITE 16. I was only allowed to enroll as Part Time Student, but Don Chan evaluated me as having done the work of a Full Time Student and more, so eventually I petitioned for full credit, offering to pay the difference in tuition, and full credits were granted. I was surprised when I looked up my credits and found I was within a few credits of graduating. I went for it. I participated in Graduation ceremonies and received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Jun 1982, 20 years after I'd have received it if I'd stayed with my original class at Whitman College, which I left to go on tour to take the first song I wrote and recorded as The Fleetwoods, "Come Softly To Me" to Number One in the Nation. The Jazz Dance classes I taught and offered independently, on campus at Evergreen, became part of the nucleus around which TESC's Leisure Education Program developed, in which I taught and offered classes from Jazz to Disco, Ballet to Swing, not to mention Modeling, Music Business, and Group A Cappella Doo Wop Singing. Before I graduated from TESC, I'd already served as Adjunct Faculty of St. Martin's College (now University) where, for purposes of pay scale, my expertise, experience, education and accomplishments were evaluated as being the equivalent of a PhD, and I was appointed Sr. Lecturer 1 in the Discipline of Fine Arts (four years before I earned my BA at Evergreen in 1982).