This obituary can be found online -- as of July, 2018 -- at http://www.jonesjonesbetts.com/obituaries/Earl-Norwood/#!/Obituary
Dr. Earl Norwood, a resident of Wenatchee, Washington, died on June 28, 2018. Earl was born to Inez Guymon Norwood and Francis Raymond Norwood in Boise, Idaho, on July 27, 1934. He grew up in Walla Walla, Washington, as the youngest of six children. From a very early age he had an interest in music. He played the violin as a child and learned the tuba as a high school student. With his love of music, he became the first child in his family to go to college, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music at Washington State University. He then went on the earn a Degree of Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of Oregon.
Earl started his career in Genesee, Idaho, where he taught music at all levels, grade school through high school. He came to Wenatchee from Idaho in the fall of 1959 and was hired to direct and build the choir and orchestra at HB Ellison Junior High School and Wenatchee High School. Both schools resided in the same building on Idaho street, HB Ellison becoming Orchard Junior High School. Through the next six years, Earl built dynamic programs, developing a reputation for excellence throughout the Northwest.
Wenatchee High School musicals under his direction (he also directed the pit orchestra) were huge hits locally. These included Brigadoon, Oklahoma, South Pacific, Lil’ Abner, Music Man, My Fair Lady, and Camelot. The Wenatchee High School Acapella Choir was selected to perform at the State Music Educators Convention in 1964 in Yakima and at the All Northwest Music Educators Convention in 1965 in Portland, Oregon.
Earl found time to be involved in community groups outside of the schools, including involvement in founding and developing the Orchard Avenue Opera Company and Music Theater of Wenatchee.
In 1960 Earl met the love of his life, Vivian Ball, a young music student at Central Washington College, who was student teaching at Lincoln Elementary School and walked into his classroom to observe his class. Together with their love of teaching and music, they built a life teaching kids, both young and old, about the joys and appreciation of music.
In 1966 he moved on to the collegiate level, leaving behind a legacy of admiring Wenatchee students, many going on to successful careers in music and theater. His influence on Wenatchee continues through this day.
In 1969 Earl became the Choir Director for St. Catherine and St. Thomas Universities in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He took his passion for music performance and developed the choir, so they could perform the world premiere of Krzysztof Penderecki’s The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ According to Saint Luke at the famous Carnegie Hall in New York City with the Minneapolis Orchestra.
Earl taught choral and vocal classes at the University of Portland while he was finishing his doctorate. In 1975, he was noted as an Outstanding Educator of America in recognition for his contributions to higher education and service to community.
In 1973 he became the Chairman of the Music Department and Choir Director at Plymouth State College in Plymouth, New Hampshire. Taking his love for community, he started the Pemigewasset Choral Society, a community and university-based choir that flourished and continues today.
In 1978, Earl moved to Tennessee taking a position as Chairman of the Music Department at the University of Tennessee at Martin. During his tenure in Martin, he developed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program and became the Director of the Division of Fine and Performing Arts. The degree programs he directed included Music, Art, Dance and Theatre. He also introduced Graphic Arts to the department, innovatively bringing together design and composition with state-of-the art computer technology. During his time there, he was a member of the Music Educators Association, The International Council of Fine Arts Deans, and The National Association of Schools of Music. Through NASM he participated in accrediting music departments at colleges and universities throughout the United States. Being known as a maverick in his field, he worked tirelessly to promote the arts as a way for communities to come together and make the arts accessible to all.
In 2003 Earl retired, and in 2005 he returned to his northwest roots in Wenatchee in to be near friends and family. For three years, he volunteered his time to serve on the board for the Wenatchee Performing Arts Center and enjoyed being around friends and colleagues. Aside from music he loved long driving trips, creating beautiful furniture from fine woods, and had a flair for technology; but most of all, he spent time fulfilling his biggest love – his love for his family.
Earl is survived by his wife of 56 years, Vivian, children Kerry Covington (m. Shane Covington), Kelly Norwood (m. Mike Elble), Kimberly Avery (m. Scott Avery), and Earl Norwood (m. Audrey Norwood). He has five grandchildren Madeline Hahn, Katherine “Masha” Covington, Kaylee Hahn, Nora Beth Avery, and Leila Elble.