Mr. Music is among 11 honored inductees
September 15, 2005
Dr. Warren M. Angell, former dean of Oklahoma Baptist University’s Warren M. Angell College of Fine Arts, has been selected for induction into the 2005 Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
The legendary founder of the Bison Glee Club joins 10 other inductees who will be honored at the Induction Ceremony on Oct. 18 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Dr. Dan Hobbs, president of the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society, recently announced the 2005 honorees.
Known to Oklahoma Baptist University students as “Mr. Music” and “Master of Melody,” Warren M. Angell was born May 13, 1907, in Brooklyn, New York. Although an accomplished pianist by the time he graduated from high school in 1925, Angell planned to study engineering until his choral and orchestra teacher pointed her finger at him and said, “If you don’t use your musical talent, the Lord will take it back!”
Switching to Syracuse University, Angell worked his way through college. Among the jobs he had was playing with an orchestra on steamships to and from Europe. He earned two degrees in piano and composition from Syracuse, and then in 1935, he accepted a teaching position at Murray State Teachers College in Kentucky – later becoming head of the Piano Department.
Angell moved to Oklahoma in 1936 when he was named dean of the College of Fine Arts and professor of piano, organ, and theory at OBU – a school that was struggling for survival in the midst of the Great Depression. “OBU seemed to offer what I wanted – a chance to settle somewhere and grow with the school,” Angell explained.
Over the next 37 years, Angell built a College of Fine Arts with a faculty of 29 and an enrollment of 300. In addition to his strong academic leadership, he was an outstanding teacher, a noted composer and arranger, a widely-recognized pianist, and a well-known choral conductor. In 1938 he founded the Bison Glee Club and directed this well-traveled organization until his retirement in 1973. He also founded the Bisonette Glee Club in 1954 and the Tuneclippers in 1962.
Angell was granted a leave of absence from OBU from 1942 to 1944 to earn a doctorate at Columbia University. During this time in New York City, he sang top tenor with Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians and was a member of the Robert Shaw Collegiate Chorale, often singing solos.
He became the school’s key public relations representative and student recruiter by virtue of travel with his music groups and his leadership of choral workshops throughout the country. In 1956 the OBU Board of Trustees named the College of Fine Arts in his honor. After his retirement, the dean emeritus taught part-time at OBU for several years and also traveled throughout the country holding choir clinics and giving piano concerts.
Angell was married to the Evalyn Wells Angell from 1934 until her death in 1984. In 1987 he married Twyla Carothers, and they live in Black Mountain, N.C. Angell has three children, Richard Angell, Sally Moore, and Julie Nadeau; three step-children, Twyla Boyer, Robert Boyer, and Holly Hudgins; seven grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. At age 98, he continues to play the piano and compose.
Other inductees selected include Dean John Bedford (Oklahoma City University), Dr. Jack Dobbins (Northeastern State University), Dr. Earl D. Mitchell (Oklahoma State University), Dr. Francine Ringold (University of Tulsa), Dr. Dean P. VanTrease (Tulsa Community College), Dr. Larkin Warner (Oklahoma State University), Dr. Jerome C. Weber (University of Oklahoma), Dr. Larry B. Williams (Northeastern State University and Southeastern Oklahoma State University), Dr. Lloyd P. Williams (University of Oklahoma) and Melvin Moran (Seminole State College and Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Assocation).
The Higher Education Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner begins at 5 p.m. Individuals interested in being part of the OBU contingent at the event can order tickets, which are $50 each, through the OBU Alumni Office at 405-878-2706. Information regarding the event and tickets also may be obtained by calling the Heritage Society at 405-522-5248, extension 222.