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Erwin Windward

April 27, 1916 - October 26, 2013 Erwin "Erv" Windward passed away on Saturday, October 26. A long-time resident of Santa Monica he was 97 years old. He sang, taught voice and was the wise and much beloved counselor of vocal students in the Los Angeles area for over 60 years. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Erv was the third child of Max and Sarah Windward (nee Hillman). He attended Washington High School in Milwaukee where he excelled in athletics and was recruited to quarterback the University of Wisconsin Badgers. While playing football and studying pre-med he gained two insights that affected the rest of his life: he had a voice people listened to and, after meeting a young co-ed named Shirley, a heart that could open and be filled. Erv and Shirley were married in 1942, a union that produced two sons and lasted until her death 70 years later (Shirley Windward; Los Angeles Times obituary, 11/11/2012); generosity of spirit lived in their house and the laughter was good. Erv served in World War II as a 1st Lieutenant and captain of an LST in the assault landings on Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The G.I. Bill gave him the opportunity to pursue his love of music and singing at Colorado College in Colorado Springs where he studied under the composer Roy Harris and earned a masters degree. While substituting for Roy he discovered he loved teaching as much as singing and students responded in kind. Erv moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1949 and within a short period of time began teaching at UCLA in Jan Popper's newly created opera workshop. His own powerfully expressive tenor voice coupled with deep knowledge of vocal technique and a wise humanity proved inspirational to many as he performed and taught at UCLA for more than 20 years. He also opened his own vocal studio, a practice he maintained until he was 92 years old. Erv's principles and techniques were incorporated into a book by his colleague, Brad Newsom, "The Athletics of Voice: A Handbook for Students and Teachers of Singing." Erv is survived by his sons, their wives, assorted relatives and a large, extended family of loving former students and friends. Next summer, when the sea is calm and the sky open, Erv and Shirley will be taken together where the whales pass and released; "...you and I, at each grand galactic shift, always you and I, will be there, will come around together, will come around again."

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Nov. 3, 2013
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