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 Ray Wayne Hugoboom (1907-1977) 

Hugoboom_University of Wisconsin-Madison

Ray Wayne Hugoboom was an influential music educator, choir director, and pianist. Born in Medford, Wisconsin on April 13, 1907, he began his formal training in music at the MacPhail School of Music (today, The MacPhail Center for Music) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He enrolled at the University of Wisconsin in 1933, but was forced to return home to manage the family printing business following his mother’s death. Three years later, he resumed his studies, ultimately completing two degrees in music in 1940 and 1941. Hugoboom also taught piano classes to undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin School of Music.


After enlisting in the U.S. Army in September 1942, Hugoboom was assigned as the conductor of a succession of military choirs in Georgia, Alabama, Indiana, England, France, and Germany. In April 1946 he was transferred to the Office of Military Government for Bavaria as the MFAA Officer in charge of the administrative districts of Oberbayern and Schwaben, near Munich, Germany. Hugoboom played an integral part in the postwar reorganization of artistic and cultural groups in the city of Munich, Germany. He organized meetings with the three main civilian groups: Trades and Industries, the City Culture Department, and the City Licensing Bureau of Munich, forming a standardized procedure for the licensing of denazified cultural groups. As part of this new plan, dozens of independent organizations were united under the supervision of the new City Culture Section. The MFAA was thus able to monitor each group’s progress through monthly reports submitted to the Office of Military Government, another important example of how the MFAA helped jumpstart cultural activities in Munich.


Following his return to the United States, Hugoboom became Assistant Professor of Choral Music at Indiana University. In 1948 he travelled to France, where he spent two years at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau and the Conservatoire de Paris training under such notable musicians as Nadia Boulanger, Jean Batalla, and Annette Dieudonne. Hugoboom resumed his career as an instructor in 1950 as Professor of Choral Music at Marshall College (today, Marshall University) in Huntington, West Virginia. At Marshall, he developed two touring choirs, a Symphonic Choir, the Men’s Concert Choir, and the A Cappella Choir. In addition, Hugoboom was a guest conductor and judge at music festivals and student workshops across the country, including West Virginia, Indiana, Florida, New York, and Tennessee. He remained at Marshall until 1958, when he was named head of the music department at Manatee Junior College (today, State College of Florida) in Bradenton, Florida.


In 1959 Hugoboom helped found the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). He served as the Association’s first executive secretary, edited Choral Journal, and planned the first national convention of choir directors in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1960.That same year, his entry was selected as the winner of a contest to compose a new alma mater for the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. Hugoboom also served as Lieutenant Governor for the Virginia and West Virginia chapters of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Chairman of the planning committee of the Music Educators National Conference, and as a member of the Music Teachers National Association and the American Association of University Professors.


R. Wayne Hugoboom died in Tampa, Florida on April 2, 1977. In recognition of his outstanding contributions to music education, the Florida chapter of the ACDA annually awards The R. Wayne Hugoboom Distinguished Service Award for "dedicated service, leadership and consistent examples of excellence in choral music in Florida.”


Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives.

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