Kenneth Bruce Woods

Ken Woods, a physician, is also a bass soloist and multi-talented performer on trumpet, cello, piano, and baritone ukulele. A 1974 biology graduate of Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, he completed an M.D. at Loma Linda University in 1978 and later completed music coursework at American River College in the early 2000s.

Woods was born in Takoma Park, Maryland, one of two children born to Leonard Ira and Frances Summerton Woods. Both Ken and his sister, Kathleen (Ojala), were raised in a home where their interest in music was encouraged. Their mother was a teacher and their father, a bass soloist, had been a drummer earlier in his life and had limited ability as a pianist.

Ken started piano lessons at age five and then played trumpet and cello in school, playing the latter in the Columbia Union College orchestra beginning at age thirteen. He studied trumpet for eight years and cello for three, and has tested at level three in piano.

He began voice lessons with Leland Tetz while attending Takoma Academy, now Takoma Adventist Academy, and sang in the TA Chorale. In the last half of his senior year, he studied voice under Paul Hill, who at that time was teaching at CUC.

Although he wanted to major in music at CUC, he was persuaded to pursue a pre-medicine program and graduated with a biology major. While at CUC, he continued voice study with Lyle Jewell, voice teacher and choir director. Following graduation from LLU, he established a practice in urology.

Wood's interest in music continued, however, and he pursued voice lessons with James Uselman and Joseph Kline in Glendale, California; Richard Harrell, director of the opera training program at American Conservatory of Music in San Francisco; and Robin Fisher at California State University, Saramento. In the early 2000s he joined the Sacramento Opera Chorus and also pursued extensive study in music theory and history.

He has also been coached by and taken additional study in voice and drama with Dan Elias, Andonia Coukouros, Kate Johnson, Joseph Wiggett, and Nico and Carol Castel. Gregory Mason, who has had Broadway experience and is now vocal coach for the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, has most recently worked with him as coach and repetiteur.

Woods most recently was featured as a soloist in multiple roles in the world premiere of Dark River, an opera by Mary Watkins presented at the Oakland Opera Theater in 2009, and as Sarastro in a 2009 production of the Magic Flute in Modesto. He has also been a soloist in productions of La Boheme, Otello, Macbeth, the Messiah, and Amahl and the Night Visitors.

In five seasons with the Sacramento Opera Chorus, he understudied several roles, including the King of Egypt in Aida, Il Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Zuniga in Carmen, and Lodovico in Otello. He also during that time sang with the Sacramento Opera Carolers for four years, helping to raise money for the chorus, work that earned him a personal letter of appreciation from its manager, Rod Gideons.


Sources: Past and current resumes and information provided by Kenneth Woods, 2011; Adventist Review, 18 February 1988, 22 (Frances Woods obituary).