Jenny Allford graduated from Kermit High School, Kermit, Texas, in 1949. She attended East Texas State University from 1949-1951, and transferred to Texas Technological University where she received her Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1953. Mrs. Allford continued her education, taking courses at Wichita State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University, and Kansas University.
Jenny’s love for music developed at an early age under the guidance and encouragement of her parents. Her father insisted she take the education courses necessary for a teaching certificate to give her something "to fall back on" while preparing for a career as a concert pianist. She began taking piano lessons at the age of six, and by age nine, had played for 3 governors of the state of Texas.
She began her teaching career in 1953 in Plainview, Texas, as a junior high choral music instructor. She moved to the high school the following year and continued teaching in Texas until 1969. In 1969, Jenny accepted the vocal music position at Roosevelt Junior High School in Great Bend. She taught at Roosevelt until 1978, and then moved to Great Bend High School, where she continued to teach vocal music for 16 years, until her retirement in 1994.
Jenny served as Director of the Chancel Choir at the First United Methodist Church and continues to serve as Chancel Choir accompanist. She has been the rehearsal and performance accompanist for the Great Bend Community Theater and rehearsal accompanist for the Barton County Community Choir. She has been accompanist for the Barton County Choral Society and the Lyric Singers Community Chorus.
Mrs. Allford has maintained professional memberships in the Music Educators’ National Conference, the Texas Music Educators’ Association and Board of Directors, and Kansas Music Educators’ Association. She served as KMEA District and State Choral Chairman, and served on the KMEA State Executive Board. She is a member of the American Choral Directors’ Association, the Kansas Choral Directors’ Association, District V KCDA Board and the National Education Association. She was a member of the Texas NEA and a member of the Kansas NEA.
Mrs. Allford’s vocal groups always ranked among the best in Kansas. Her choirs have sung for the Kansas School Boards Association, the State PTA Convention, and the State Convention of United School Administrators. The Madrigal-Pops Singers averaged sixty performances a year, outside of the school day. Her Madrigal groups have represented Great Bend and the state of Kansas, both nationally and internationally.
The Madrigal-Pops Singers first gained national acclaim when they performed for the opening general session of the National School Board’s Association Convention in San Francisco in 1983. That performance gained them a prolonged standing ovation that literally "put the session on hold" while hundreds of school board members from across the country congratulated the students. The Madrigals, under her direction, were invited three times to perform at Kiwanis International Conventions: the first in Toronto, Canada, in 1985; in Seattle, Washington, in 1987; and in St Louis, Missouri, in 1989. The Madrigals were the only vocal group from the United States invited to these events.
Jenny Allford has a love and passion for Great Bend High School, its students, and its traditions. She has been an inspiration to her students and colleagues throughout her teaching career and taught a love for music. The song "Reach Out and Touch" still being sung by our music groups became the Madrigals signature song under Jenny’s direction and may best exemplify her career that touched the lives of thousands of young people who had the good fortune to say they were a part of her program.