Brigham Young University music school professor emeritus Ralph Woodward died Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2005, of complications due to age. He was 86.
Born in Shelley, Idaho, on Nov. 21, 1918, to Alonzo R. "Lon" Woodward and Alta Mary Stanley, Mr. Ralph Woodward completed high school in Moreland, Idaho, and graduated from the University of Idaho in 1940.
In 1942, Mr. Woodward married vocalist Margaret Barclay. The couple were sealed in the Salt Lake Temple in 1953. Mrs. Woodward preceded Mr. Woodward in death in 1987. He remarried to Mary Brown Firmage in 1988.
Mr. Woodward's music career began as a high school music teacher in Idaho. He then pursued his graduate studies in Cincinnati after serving as a Special Services Officer in Japan after World War II.
He taught voice and choral music at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, before moving to Provo in 1955. He taught voice and conducting at BYU and, while his wife taught voice. Mr. Woodward retired in 1984.
During his tenure at BYU, Mr. Woodward, a recipient of the Utah Music Educator and the Utah State Chamber of Commerce "Total Citizen" awards, served as director of choral activities and helped the university become one of the preeminent music schools in the United States.
Mr. Woodward's trademark was the BYU A Cappella Choir, which was the first non-Roman Catholic choir to be invited to sing in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris three times. It also won the prestigious International Eisteddfod competition in Llangollen, Wales, and was the only U.S. musical organization to perform at the International Society of Music Educators' Convention in Warsaw, Poland, in 1980.
Mr. Woodward, who was twice selected for the Karl G. Maeser Distinguished Teaching Award, also conducted the BYU Chamber Choir, Schola Cantorum, Oratorio Choir and established the Male Chorus. He also guest-conducted choirs throughout the U.S., including the Mormon Tabernacle Choir., throughout the U.S.
In 1965, Mr. Woodward formed the Ralph Woodward Chorale, which ended in 1994 when Mr. and Mrs. Woodward served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Ill.
Two years prior to his mission, Mr. Woodward was an honoree of the Western Region Convention of the American Choral Directors' Association in Honolulu, Hawaii.
An active member of the LDS church, Mr. Woodward was a member of the Sunday School General Board and the Church General Music Committee, where he wrote several church-music guidebooks.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, Sept. 10, in the Edgemont Stake Center, 303 W. 3700 North, Provo, at 1 p.m. Friends may call on Friday, Sept. 9, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at Berg Mortuary, 185 E. Center Street, Provo, and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Edgemont Stake Center. Interment will be at Eastlawn Memorial Hills Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to the Ralph and Margaret Woodward Scholarship Fund for Advanced Choral Conducting students at the BYU school of music.