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Rodney Webster

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Rodney Roland Adey Webster

August 4, 1928 - February 9, 2016


On the evening of February 9, Rod Webster died peacefully in his sleep, after having lived a rich 87 years.  He is survived and missed by his wife, Laura; his sister, Edith Stiles; his children, Bob, Tim, Matthew, Becky, Sarah, and Chris; grandchildren and great-grandchildren; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.  He is also predeceased by his first wife, Faith (with whom he raised his family and shared a musical life), and his sister, Dorothy Befus.

From his childhood at a small farmhouse in Westcott, Alberta, to his job delivering telegrams during WWII, Rod gained the tenacity and compassion that would guide his personal life.  His ear was as equally attuned to socio-political nuance as it was to music, and he pursued a knowledge and understanding of both with equal vigour, caring deeply for his fellow humans, especially the disadvantaged.  He passionately believed and practiced the message of Schiller’s “To Joy”: “All men become brothers.”  (Although Rod would have resisted this gendered language in favour of human equality.)

Professionally, Rod had a long and distinguished career:

*Public school teacher in Saanich for 10 years

*Music Director at Fairfield United Church for 10 years

*Director and arranger for the Varsity Singers (later named the Amity Singers) for 7 years

*Director of the Victoria Choral Society for 17 years

During his 21 years as Head of the Ear Training and Theory department at the Victoria School of Music, and the subsequent Conservatory, Rod developed a music pedagogy that went beyond theory as it was then taught, recognizing music as a language, a way of being rather than just a mental concept.  The result was a program called Music Language, which became his life work, continued now by Laura.

As a music teacher for over sixty years, Rod has nurtured the development of many teachers, performing musicians, and lovers of music.  Through them, his musical legacy lives on.

Rod requested no service to be held, but that his ashes be spread at Brotchie Ledge in the Juan de Fuca Strait, between James Bay and South Fairfield, where he lived much of his life, and overlooking Dallas Road, where he loved to walk.



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Pages: 12

From: Bakerview Community Crematorium & Celebration Centre Staff

Bakerview Community Crematorium & Celebration Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Don and Eileen Gordon

So sorry to heard of Rod’s passing, we send along our sincere sympathy to Laura and all the family and our special thoughts to Matthew, our son-in-law. Rod was a wonderful person and we always enjoyed his company.

From: Luis Letelier

Thank you for the best pancakes ever. And my favourite person to play crokinole with.
Love always Luis, Alana , Naomi and Sebastian.

From: Carah & Kaden Webster

Thank you Grandpa for all the fun times we had when visiting you in Mission.

Love Carah & Kaden

From: Bonita (Bonnie) Smith

Laura, I am so sorry to hear of Rod’s passing. Remembering the good times we shared in Victoria and at workshops assures me that his contributions to music education will live on for many generations. I know, too, that your music will help to heal the pain. With sympathy to you and your family. Bonnie

From: Madeleine (Groos) Humer

What a wonderful and inspiring teacher we had in “Mr Webster”! He started me on my life long love of harmony, counterpoint, ear-training and musical form…sometimes thought of as dry subject matter for a busy music student, but not under Mr. Webster! Being able to pass on this passion to many singers through the Victoria Children’s Choir is a testament to his excellent teaching and love of young musicians who want to learn. I had such fun learning from him!

From: Karen McIvor

I have such happy memories of Junior Choir at Fairfield United. Mr. Webster had high expectations of us and encouraged us to achieve those standards. He also knew how to make us laugh. It was a happy time. My sympathy to his family.

From: Jenny Coy

I am one of many whose musical life was enriched by Rodney Webster, first as a chorister in the Victoria Choral Society and then as a music teacher. He introduced many teachers to his innovative
‘Music Language’ programme and I used the ‘Adventuring with Music’ series in my home studio for many years. My students learned so much more than theory and seemed to enjoy it, as did I.
My condolences to the family and thank you Rod.

From: eileen roberts

Dear Laura and family, so sorry for your loss. know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. from eileen, maddison and family.

From: President, Victoria Choral Society

The 110 singers of the Victoria Choral Society took a moment in rehearsal on Tue., Feb 23 to consider the impact that dedicated music directors have made on our lives. Rodney was the director of the VCS for 17 years, and ensured that the choir continued to sing strongly!

Pages: 12

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