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Remembering Giles Joslyn

The Morehouse Ballroom was silent. Over 100 people sat in the seats that were now present in the usually empty space. They were all there to remember Giles Joslyn, a first-year music education major from Muscatine, Iowa.

Joslyn graduated from Muscatine High School in 2011 and was known in the community for his love of playing the violin and teaching music. The Muscatine Journal reported Jan. 7, that Joslyn took his life at home on Jan. 5.

According to The Muscatine Journal Joslyn was best known in the Muscatine community for playing his violin at Salvatore’s Ristoranti and starting a series of charity concerts to raise money to help pay for private lessons and used musical instruments for the school.

The memorial service opened with a time for silent prayer and reflection. Students, staff, family and friends milled throughout the ballroom singing memory books and waiting for the speeches to begin.

Ellie Ehrhardt, Joslyn’s resident assistant in Stalnaker Hall, was the first to speak. She said the turnout for the memorial was “encouraging and overwhelming.”

Chris Kottenstette spoke after the performance of a string quartet. Kottenstette was Joslyn’s roommate first semester. The first-year business major lightened the mood by telling stories about Joslyn.

He recalled the first time he heard Joslyn play the violin.

“It was just a gift,” Kottenstette said.

He said 25 people gathered listening to Joslyn play in their room. He described the night as a “perfect night for Giles,” and said it was the happiest Kottenstette had ever seen his friend.

Chris Fairbank also remembered the times Joslyn played his violin and spoke about his love for the instrument. Fairbank wrote a song for Joslyn after he learned of the death.

“This is the hardest song I’ve ever played,” The first-year Fairbank said. “This show is for Giles. Give him the applause he deserves.”

He performed the song on his guitar and sang.

Many friends and colleagues came to share memories of his musical talent and his outgoing personality.

Junior Zac Pace went to high school with Joslyn, and reconnected with him when Joslyn enrolled at Drake.

Once, when Pace gave Joslyn a ride home for break, Joslyn strapped his violin in Pace’s car with a seat belt.

“It’s a small moment of Giles that meant so much,” Pace said.

Jen Harvey, Joslyn’s first-year seminar professor, said that Joslyn would burn bright in her memory as a student who described himself as “outgoing.” She spoke about the impact students have on professors and how “risky” those impacts can be.

“The risk is worth it,” she said. “(I’m) so thankful for getting to know Giles.”

Others who shared stories spoke of antics in the residence hall and rehearsals. All were positive memories of a young man who touched many lives through his music.

Drake University’s counseling center is offering its services for those who mourned after Joslyn’s death. The counseling center offers its services for anyone feeling depressed or needs help grieving. Its hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The UCC is located at 3116 Carpenter Ave.


Horsch is a junior news/Internet and rhetoric double major. She serves as the TD's Editor-in-Chief. She has been on staff for three years and has been the editor since January 2012.

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