Bird, Laughton

(Charles) Laughton Bird. Educator, b Toronto 4 Mar 1914, d Halifax 6 Jan 1979; LTCL piano 1947, B MUS (Toronto) 1951. He held posts as an elementary and secondary school teacher, then as supervisor of music 1937-43 in Orillia, Ont, and 1943-8 in St Catharines, Ont, as a staff member in Radio and TV Arts 1951-2 at Toronto's Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, as music director 1953-8 for the South Peel Board of Education, as president 1954-5 of the OMEA, and as co-ordinator of music 1963-73 for the North York Board of Education in Metropolitan Toronto; in all these capacities Bird consistently advocated new approaches to music in schools, latterly with much emphasis on creativity. With the composer Harry Somers he assisted in the development of the first phase (1963) of the John Adaskin Project and in the perpetuation of the principles evolved by that project. In that connection and under Bird's direction the music program in North York employed Somers in 1963 and 1968-9, R. Murray Schafer 1963-4, Harry Freedman 1971-3, Udo Kasemets in 1972, Ann Southam 1971-5, and other composers on an occasional basis, including Norma Beecroft, Robert Aitken, Walter Buczynski, Milan Kymlicka, and Norman Symonds. Bird also gave classes at summer schools of the Ontario Dept of Education 1941-50 and at the University of British Columbia in 1959 and the RCMT in 1962. 'A Festive Concert celebrating the life of C. Laughton Bird' took place at MacMillan Theatre, Toronto, 30 Sep 1979. Sponsored by NMC, it featured John Arpin, the dancer Patricia Beatty, the Elmer Iseler Singers, the Lyric Arts Trio, the Music Builders Chorus of North York, and Nexus, with Harry Somers as master of ceremonies. Proceeds helped establish a Laughton Bird Scholarship for young musicians.

See also School music.

Writings

C. Laughton Bird, 'Teaching or learning - what counts the most?' Recorder, vol 13,Dec 1970