Next month we are celebrating the 45th anniversary of the Shell Lake Arts Center. Dad founded it in the 1960s and kept it flourishing for almost 30 years before his retirement. Over the years, the Arts Center has welcomed students from 49 states and six continents. Its tagline is “Master Teachers. Magic Setting.” Both are true and are part of his legacy.
A few days ago, I had the fun of sitting down with him to write for the Boy Scouts of America a brief synopsis of his life since being awarded his Eagle Scout at the age of 16. The intelligence, attention to detail, and focus which helped him accomplish so much in his professional life were still evident as he edited my work. Here are some of my favorite pictures of his childhood in northeastern Wisconsin. Below the picture is the article he helped me write.
ODA earned his Eagle Scout in 1947 plus the bronze, gold, and silver palms and Order of the Arrow. The leadership skills and self-discipline he learned in scouting have served him throughout his life. As a music major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he played tuba in the marching band, was the band president his senior year, and president of the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha.
He began his career as a music educator in Shell Lake, WI and soon started the Explorer Scouts in the community, staying active in scouting. He participated in local and state professional organizations and served in leadership positions in many of them. In the 1960s he had a vision for a summer arts program in northwest Wisconsin and worked to create one sponsored by the University of Wisconsin. The Shell Lake Arts Center opened its doors in 1968 and is now the longest running jazz summer program in the nation. ODA was its founder and the director for 28 years and became a professor with UW-Extension. He retired as Professor Emeritus and his work was recognized by Extension when he received the Award of Excellence in 1996. He was honored with the Distinguished Service Award of the Wisconsin Music Educator Association in 1997 and the Distinguished Service Award of the International Association of Jazz Educators in 2003.
He joined the Masonic Lodge soon after moving to Shell Lake and was an active leader in the organization, becoming Grand Master of the State of Wisconsin in 1984 and a Scottish Rite 33º. He was recognized with the Grand Lodge Meritorious Service Award in 1997. ODA credits his training as an Eagle Scout for helping him develop the skills needed for his successes.