Dawson (Edgar) Woodburn. Educator, conductor, b Corbett (near Grand Bend), Ont, 1906, d there 11 Feb 1981; BA English (Western Ont), MA music (City, New York). A graduate of the London Teachers College he began his career as an elementary classroom teacher in rural Ontario schools and in Toronto where he directed the school choirs and started one of the first string orchestras in the Toronto public school system. Following World War II service in the Canadian army he started the music program at Riverdale Collegiate. His choirs there achieved national recognition, the school choir winning the George S. Mathieson Trophy as the best high school choir in Canada and his Riverdale Alumni Choir, the City of Lincoln Trophy as the country's best mixed choir. As head of the music program at Toronto's Lawrence Park Collegiate 1957-65, Woodburn developed the most extensive high school music program in Canada, achieving and maintaining excellence in choir, orchestra, and band. 'Unquestionably the most intrepid' of Toronto teachers of the postwar years, Woodburn 'in effect, became an unofficial leader of music teachers in central Ontario,' striving to improve music wherever he went (J. Paul Green and Nancy F Vogan Music Education in Canada
, Toronto 1991). At Althouse College (The Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario
) 1965-71 he taught string, wind, percussion, and choral method. He was a co-author of the Music for Young Canada
series (Toronto, 1967, 1969) and author of Teaching Singing: A Handbook for Elementary and Secondary Schools
(London, Ont 1981). He was an active member of the OMEA
, and served as its president 1962-3. His accomplishments have been acknowledged by former colleagues, including James White, his successor at Althouse, as ranking 'among those of this country's most distinguished music educators'.
'The spotlight on Dawson Woodburn,' Recorder, vol 8, no. 2, 1965