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Tribute to Doug Handyside

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 10:00 am    Post subject: Tribute to Doug Handyside Reply with quote

Fr: Stephen Johnson, III

I was extremely saddened to read of the passing of Douglas P. Handyside on December 30th. Doug Handyside was a consummate musician and a great humanitarian.
When he became the band director for the Oberlin School District in the late 1950ís, he raised the standard of performance. He entered several of his groups in state level music competitions and achieved the highest rating.
He left Oberlin to pursue his doctorate. He returned to permanently settle in our community. He became one of the most ardent supporters of the arts in our town. He attended countless performances at the college and could often be seen in his preferred seat just above the stage in Finney Chapel.
He taught private music lessons to area children. His musical skills were such that he could teach most any brass instrument, piano, and several more. He performed as a tuba player and string bass player all over northeast Ohio. Among the groups he played with locally were the Oberlin College Community Winds and the Lorain County Community Orchestra. He was also active in dixieland jazz groups.
But the true measure of this man was his generosity. He supported innumerable local causes and projects. He was a great supporter of the Oberlin Schools band program. He contributed to many scholarship funds including several he set up himself. It is typical of Doug that he wanted no service for him after his death. Rather, he selflessly instructed his family to list several musical organizations and scholarship funds to which his friends could contribute.
Doug always had great stories about music and musicians. Often he could go on at length about some musical incident or personality. The stories were always fascinating.
Doug Handyside was my first band director. He started me on my trombone in fourth grade. He was the conductor of my first concerts and inspired me by his dedication, his patience, and his vast knowledge of music.
I succeeded him as director of the Oberlin schools band program many years later. Whatever I was able to accomplish in that position was due, in large measure, to his influence on a young fourth grade musician. I was always happy to see Doug in attendance at our concerts. I asked him to guest conduct the high school band once. His performance was electric and he no doubt inspired a whole new generation of students.
Oberlin has lost one its truly unique and wonderful citizens.
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