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Madison - Danny G. Woolpert, 88, of Madison, passed away on February 18, 2023 at Oak Park Place, Assisted Living. He was born in Peru, Indiana, the son of Guy and Margaret Woolpert.
Dan received his Bachelor of Music Education from Indiana University in 1956, where he was a proud member of the “Marching Hundred”. During his freshman year, his parents surprised him by giving him his beloved Boosey-Hawkes euphonium as a Christmas present.
Dan married his first wife, Patricia Hershberger, in 1956 and they soon had a family of four with the arrival of David and Ann. They lived in several small communities in north central Indiana.
He began teaching instrumental music at Eastern High School, Greentown, Indiana and the Van Buren and Jefferson Township Schools in Van Buren and Upland, Indiana. At Eastern High School he directed a girl’s drill team, the Stellarettes, and led them to many awards and high honors. During this time he was also director, arranger, drum major and bass bugle player for the Portland Comets Senior Drum and Bugle Corps, Portland, Indiana.
In 1963 the family moved to Evansville, WI and Dan began work on an advanced degree. He received his Master of Science in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1964, but progress towards his PhD was stymied by the foreign language requirement (French & Italian just weren’t his cup of tea). As a UW Student, he also played Euphonium with the University of Wisconsin Symphonic Band and was fortunate to play under the direction of the legendary Ray Dvorak.
He was hired as the Administrator for the Research and Development Center for Cognitive Learning in 1966 and was instrumental in the design and construction of the Ed Sciences Building on the UW Campus. He later worked as an Administrator with the UW Madison Civic Engineering Department.
In 1979 Dan & Evelyn held their wedding on August 12 in the living room of their spectacular new home. Dan and Ev built their dream home, based on Dan’s design, in Oregon, WI. They did much of the work themselves including clearing land, laying tile, wood finishing and shoveling out the upper story when the roof did not get finished before the snow.
While Dan’s profession was University Administrator, he continued his passionate avocation for music by serving as the Choir Director for the United Methodist Church in Evansville, and also working as Director, arranger, drill designer and instructor with the Madison Boy Scouts Drum Corps. This was just a start…
In 1970 he co-founded the CapitolAires, a 120 member all-girl drum and bugle corps. Dan administered and managed the organization, arranged music, developed field shows and directed rehearsals. Under his direction the CapitolAires won seven National and International championships and were consistently cited for excellence in the design of their shows.
Dan began playing Bb Bass horn with the 1st Brigade Band, a Civil War portrayal band, in 1976. He was appointed Bandmaster of the group in 1983 and continued until 2007, directing more than 400 performances and producing 7 CD Recordings. Dan spent countless hours transcribing music of the period from archived originals and developed the idea of presenting “historical sequences” in performance. He also caught the “collecting bug” and made countless deals (sometimes money, sometimes a set of CD’s, sometimes simply a promise to treat the instrument with care and respect) to enhance the organization’s collection of period instruments. The collection now numbers in excess of 220 instruments and is recognized as one of the largest such collections in the United States. He became a nationally recognized expert in the evaluation, appraisal and restoration of antique instruments. Dan and Ev together worked to strengthen the organization, secure funding, and purchase a building in Watertown now known a Heritage Hall. These efforts proved fruitful as the group continues to be strong and active.
The Hal Leonard Corporation has published several of Dan’s civil war arrangements.
Dan enjoyed playing euphonium with several area groups including the Rock/Prairie Concert Band, the Old Mapleton Circus Band, the VFW Band, the Retro Swing Band, and the William Endle Memorial Sextet.
Until recently, Dan was the Conductor, music arranger and manager of the Blessed Brass, a 25 piece brass choir that he began in 1992 at First United Methodist Church in Madison. The Blessed Brass continues to participate in worship services monthly at FUMC and will be a large part of his Memorial Service (see below).
Dan was dedicated to welcoming all who wanted to become better musicians into his ensembles and was considered a mentor, role model and innovator by many music educators. He gave hundreds of youngsters their first lesson in buzzing into a mouthpiece and improved the musicality of countless others with his admonition “Don’t squirt!”. Over his lifetime, he created thousands of musical arrangements for Drum Corps, the 1st Brigade Band, Concert Bands, numerous small ensembles and the Blessed Brass.
Dan’s other interests included fishing, woodworking and home projects, furniture design, hiding Easter eggs, cooking very large hams, hunting for morels and RVing. He loved occasions when the whole family was together, giving music lessons to his grandchildren, wooden puzzles, funny sweatshirts and being generous.
Dan’s struggle to recover from bypass surgery in 2014 forced them to sell the home and move to a condo on the west side of Madison in 2014, and then to Oak Park Place 2020.
Dan is survived by his wife, Evelyn Dick, son David Woolpert (Lori Linde), daughter Ann Schultz (Todd), grandchildren Kyle (Sunina), Krista and Kalvin (Jackie), great-granddaughters, Ryan, Alex and Ava, and nieces Laura, Jill, Carrie, Susan and Kathy.
Dan was preceded in death by his Parents, brother Gene Woolpert (Carlotta), cousin Ken Grandstaff (Kathie), and his first wife, Patricia.
A Memorial Service will be held at FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, 203 Wisconsin Ave. Madison on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 3:00 PM with a reception to follow. The Blessed Brass will play several of his favorite arrangements as part of the service. Memorial donations may be made to the general fund of First United Methodist Church, 203 Wisconsin Avenue, Madison, WI or to Heritage Military Music Foundation, 504 S 4th Street, Watertown, WI.
Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3325 E. Washington Ave.
Madison (608) 249-6666
Saturday, March 4, 2023
Starts at 3:00pm (Central time)
First United Methodist Church - Madison
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