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Olaf Frodsham

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Noted choral director and music educator, Olaf Frodsham passed away Monday, June 27th, at the age of 89. Choral director of the Caltech Glee Club from 1953-1982, he will be especially remembered as the author and director of the Festival of Lights which played to sold out houses at Beckman Auditorium year after year and became a Pasadena holiday tradition. Olaf Frodsham was born in Bournmouth, England, and immigrated to the United States with his family in 1920. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Redlands and continued his post graduate studies at the Royal School of Church Music in London. He began his teaching career at Porterville High School and moved to Hawaii to become the director of the Kamehameha Schools choir in 1941. Professor Frodsham served honorably in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Returning to the U.S. after the war, Professor Frod! sham taught music at Long Beach City College and married Elaine Bessey of Porterville. In 1950, he became professor in the School of Education at Occidental College. He simultaneously held positions at Occidental College and at Caltech. Under Professor Frodsham's direction, the men's Glee Club of Caltech became one of the most respected men's choral groups in the United States. The men's Glee Club performed at the Olympic Games in Squaw Valley, toured extensively throughout the world, and in Frodsham's beloved Hawaii in 1982. Upon retirement, Professor Frodsham taught elementary music for grades K-8 at St Bede's the Venerable in La Canada 1982-1992 and at Santa Clara Elementary in Oxnard, California 1992-1995. Listed in the annual Who's Who In Music Education, and having written numerous articles over the years in the field of about elementary music education, he was anxious to put those theories into practice. Much loved by more than three generations of students, Professor Frodsham will be missed. As a master teacher, he realized that teaching is an honorable profession that truly touches the future. He is survived by his wife Grace Elaine Frodsham, his son Lance Frodsham, daughter-in-law, Karla Frodsham and three granddaughters, Emily, Allison and Laurel. A memorial service will be celebrated at All Saints Church in Pasadena on Friday, July 8, at 1:00 p.m. Interment will be private. Mountain View Mortuary (626) 794-7133
Published in the Los Angeles Times on July 6, 2005
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