Wayne Hertz remembered
Wayne Snyder Hertz – 1908-1996
Dr. Wayne Hertz, best known in this state for his work at Central Washington University, was an active ACDA member who had a tremendous impact on choral music in this state. It may be impossible to name all the choral directors who "came to be" as a result of Wayne's leadership.
Wayne Snyder Hertz was born in 1908 in Kankakee County, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1932 and received a Doctor of Music in Education from New York University in 1959.
He taught first in the West Aurora, Illinois public schools, moving to Central Washington State College in Ellensburg in 1937.
One of the "family legacies" of choral music which began with Wayne, was the Mitchell family of choral directors. Lloyd Mitchell, who died just a few years ago, was one of Wayne's first students. Lloyd, after a couple of years of teaching music in Burlington, went into the service, then for several years operated a family owned hardware store in Castle Rock. He couldn't get the choral bug out of his system and in the mid-sixties got re-licensed for teaching and took over the choral job at Castle Rock, holding that position until his retirement.
Lloyd's son, Jeff graduated from Castle Rock High School and sang for Unison Editor, Howard Meharg while in school. Jeff attended Central and credits Wayne for turning him into a serious student of the art. "Wayne . . .was an inspirational person, someone you believed in 100%," says Jeff.
Jeff's son, Brian, also attended Central. Wayne had retired by the time Brian got there, but the Mitchell tradition continues. Brian teaches choral music at Mark Morris High School in Longview, Washington. Brian offered some further insight into the Mitchell/Hertz connection. He says that his great-grandfather, Harry Mitchell, was a businessman in Ellensburg in the 30's. Harry Mitchell, who owned the "Tum-a-Lum" Lumber Company, got acquainted with Wayne and introduced him to the business community of Ellensburg.
Brian goes on to say that Wayne was always a part of the Mitchell family reunions.
Many choral directors who didn't attend Central can cite his considerable influence on them for their love of the art. For many years, one of the best attended summer reading sessions in the state was held at Central under Wayne's leadership.
He was a one-man clinic, leading with his wonderful sense of humor and his dry wit, as well as some fine treasures of choral know-how. Those sessions were often the highlight of the summer and many directors returned again and again, to the point where some non-Wildcats claimed to be virtual alumni of CWU's choral program.
Upon his retirement from Central, Governor Daniel J. Evans proclaimed Wayne S. Hertz Day in the State of Washington, May 25, 1974.
Wayne Hertz's membership in ACDA goes back to 1962, making him one of the founding members of the organization in this state.
Some of his students recall Wayne fondly as "Pappy Hertz." Roger Stansbury, Yakima, says, "He was a father away from home to so many of us. He. . .was a significant adult who influenced so many kids."
That influence lives on in a choral legacy which keeps the Hertz name alive perhaps as much as Hertz Auditorium in the music building at Central.
Wayne is survived by his wife, Marion, two daughters, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
A musical celebration honoring his memory was held October 23, in Hertz Auditorium. Remembrances may still be sent to the Wayne S. Hertz Scholarship Fund at CWU.