R. Wayne Woodhams
Wayne Woodhams was born in Ukiah, California, on October 8, 1948, the younger son of Wilbur Frances Woodhams, a Seventh-day Adventist minister and singer who would write about 150 Christian songs, and Elizabeth (Bettie) Jean White, an accomplished pianist and church service organist. An older brother, Daniel Duane had been born a year earlier in 1947.
The two boys started singing together in simple harmony from the ages of 3 and 5. In 1952 they moved back to the family\'s hometown of Sonora, California, where Wilbur accepted the ownership and work of the family\'s large dairy farm. Years earlier Wilbur had promised God to serve as a minister, the result of events that had happened to the family during World War II. Finally, four years later, in 1956, he made the decision to step forward in faith, and begin his training for the ministry.
The family moved to Angwin and Pacific Union College, where their musical interests advanced. Wilbur continued to write songs, and Bettie began organ lessons with C. Warren Becker, PUC organ teacher. After the family attended a concert by the world-renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin, Dan pursued a lifelong interest in playing violin. Wayne acquired a cornet, and started lessons with Melvin Hill, who was just starting his career in the PUC music department. The family continued their music study throughout the boys’ grade school and early academy years.
Dan graduated from Monterey Bay Academy in 1965 and enrolled at PUC as a music major. Wayne was ready to go to MBA for his junior and senior years but two weeks before the start of the school year, his father, who had been pastor of the nearby Watsonville SDA Church, accepted the pastoral position at Tulare Church in the southern San Jacquin Valley, which meant that Wayne\'s hope of attending MBA changed.
The thought of going to Armona Academy, a smaller school near Hanford was not appealing, and his disappointment was intense, but he had no choice. However, Armona did become a major influence that shaped his life for the next 60 years.
Wayne was immediately impressed with Armona’s music teacher, Max Qualley, and his love of music. During his junior year the Academy male quartet (that didn\'t include Wayne) sang a song during the week of prayer, that caused Wayne to fall in love with the idea of singing in male quartets. It was the beginning of a career in quartet singing and the forming of many lifelong friendships. He changed his life choices to pursuing a career in music and, upon graduation in 1967, enrolled at PUC as a music major in voice.
In early September 1967, Wayne\'s folks took him to PUC, for college registration and the beginning of college studies. After they left, Wayne noticed a note on the dormitory bulletin board asking if anyone was interested in forming a quartet to show up at a certain dorm room that evening. Wayne responded to the posting and met Don Kellar. They were joined by Jesse Guzman, a great bass singer and a couple of weeks later, by Gerry Otterstrom, a baritone. They were all surprised by how well they sounded together. In less than one month, they had stabilized their sound and blend and named themselves "The Watchman Quartet.” This group became popular on campus and suddenly their weekend schedule was full with concertsand weekend specials all over northern California.
During that first year, PUC finished building their new church and planned a music filled transition from the old meeting place, to the new church. Following a first service in the old Irwin Hall Chapel, which ended with their quartet singing “The Church in the Wildwood,” the congregation walked across the campus to the new church, where the quartet opened the service with “Make a Joyful Sound” sung from the unfinished balcony. The quartet was thrilled to be part of this historic transition.
In 1968, two quartet members left PUC, and the Watchman Quartet (version 2) was formed by adding Ted Cheek as the new baritone, and Ron Ridgely as the new bass. This group sang together for 2 years, and was one of the featured quartets at the 1970 Male Voice Festival at Loma Linda University.
In 1970 Wayne started a student based male chorus, called "The Fellowship.” This was a successor group to a group called "The Fellowmen" which Buzz Starrett had organized 2 years earlier. Several years later, Calvin Knipschild started a group called "Christian Edition". All three groups had a fairly similar sound, were somewhat rooted at or from PUC, and had PUC students or alumni as directors. Both Buzz\'s and Wayne\'s groups were based at PUC, and were fairly short term. Calvin\'s group came several years later, and was based in Southern California. All three directors were friends and classmates at PUC, but Calvin\'s group really achieved new levels in range of music, influence and travel that were not experienced by
the first two groups.
As a person of great musical interest and involvement, Wayne associated mostly with friends at PUC who had like interests, and this included people like Jeff Wood, Bonnie Letcher, Steve Wallace, Buzz Starrett, Keith Knoche, Calvin, and others.
In 1971, Wayne changed his major to Broadcast Communications, even though he was just a class short of a dual major, and instead finished with a minor in music. As a student, he played a leadership role in the operation of the college\'s radio station, KANG, and this influenced his employment and work as General Manager of WAUS, Andrew University’s radio station from 1974 to 1978.
Just prior to going to AU, he married Charmaigne Haunani Dudoit in 1973. They would have two sons, Lauren Kawika (1973). and Ryan Keoki (1976). After a divorce in 1980, Wayne married Linda Gail Simons in 1981. She had two daughters from a previous marriage, Shannon Leigh, and Erin Leigh. The merger of the two families was successful and now includes ten grandchildren.
Wayne’s older brother, Dan, left PUC after his first year, and moved to Southern California, where at school he met and joined with a brother-sister music group, who later became the Carpenters. Dan spent the next eleven years on the road with them, playing bass guitar and singing background vocals.
In 1975 Wayne worked with George Gibbs, Mark Dalton, and Chuck Williams to form the Andrews University Quartet, regarded at that time by many AU faculty and staff as one of the best sounding quartets Andrews had ever had. In 1977 and 1978 this group, along with Carolyn Rhodes Bisel (soprano), and Don Scroggs (later King’s Heralds first tenor) toured extensively in the region. While at WAUS, Wayne and Stan Bisel established a highly successful business specializing in high-quality cassette duplication.
In 1978 Wayne was invited by the General Conference to move back to California, and be responsible for the Audio Division at the newly formed Adventist Media Center in Thousand Oaks. In this position Wayne got acquainted and participated with the great musical talent that lived in that area. His quartet involvement here was on a casual, ad-hoc basis, as opposed to previous established groups. He would later write:
Some of the most unusual ad-hoc quartets were formed in the hallways of the Media Center. Harold Richards, Jr., an excellent bass singer, his brother Kenneth, a great baritone singer, would be in the hallways outside the VOP studios, getting ready for recording. Often members of the broadcasting team had to wait some time for the whole crew to come together to start the recording.
Often present was Pastor Phil Knoche, pastor of the nearby Camarillo Church, (an excellent second tenor and father of Keith Knoche), who would be at the Media Center working on church service broadcast material. So, with three potential quartet voices in waiting mode, all that was needed was a first tenor. I would be "invited" to join the group, and this "on the spot" group would break into singing together without printed music in the hallway.
Music selections could be folk, country, gospel, barbershop, or what anyone started to sing. Visitors to the Media Center, and others far down the hall from this group would ask "why are the King\'s Heralds singing barbershop music?” That question never got answered! However, this group also sang special music in surrounding churches about a dozen times. One other ad hoc group involved Jerry Patton’s son, Scott, Giggs Galagher, and Gary Peterson.
In 1981, the Thousand Oaks Media Center drastically reduced its operations, going from nearly 600 employees to 150 overnight. The unemployed included the King\'s Heralds Quartet, who then became independent and renamed themselves "The Heralds.". Wayne was gone as well. He then accepted a senior management position, first with Agfa-Gevaert and then TDK tape companies in the Chicago area. He moved to the western suburbs of Chicago, living close to Hinsdale and got involved directing the Hinsdale Church choir, a Baroque brass group (the Hinsdale Brass), and substituted often as director of the Hinsdale Men\'s Chorus.
In 1983, Wayne and three others formed a professional, southern gospel quartet, "The Crossroads" Quartet, a major change in sound and venue from his previous quartets, and performed in other churches, coffee houses, and Christian gatherings in the States around Chicago.
In 1986 Wayne and his wife accepted positions in Hong Kong, with both being part of the senior administration of the Stubbs Road Adventist (American style) Hospital. Frustrated with not having a quartet there, he invested in multi-track recording equipment and created his own quartet, by singing all four parts.
Upon returning to the States in 1993, Wayne developed a full professional recording studio. The primary purpose of this studio was for his own interests, but also to do CD mastering for Christian artists he had known through the years. The results of this effort led to about 75 CD masters for musicians like Jim McClintock, Jack Veasey, Del Delker, and older King\'s Heralds re-releases. He worked with Wayne Hooper, helping him learn digital editing, so that Hooper cold save the old tape-based King\'s Heralds recordings before they were lost due to age.
Wayne\'s last employment work (prior to an early medical retirement in 2005) was working with the world\'s leading dental and dental imaging software company.
In retirement, Wayne became more involved with a long-time hobby of Amateur Radio. He worked with emergency communications for Ventura County, and accepted the top position of "Radio Officer" for the County. Because of his intense involvement and contributions in this involvement, when he stepped down from those responsibilities in 2012, he was awarded 45 public awards, which likely is a record number for any operator in the Western U.S. These included a tribute from the Reagan Family and U.S. Secret Service, and the top individual award from the radio organization for the southwestern Division of Amateur Radio.
In recent years he became involved in the Section level radio leadership, and for many years, the California State Governor’s office of emergency communications efforts. His current involvement requires less time and effort than being in charge of 450 members, but still makes a worthwhile contribution. In his home today, Wayne has dedicated two rooms in his house to pursue his commitments... Music and emergency communications.
Wayne is absolutely grateful for the wonderful life experience he has enjoyed, one that met his goals in life, and one he certainly feels demonstrates God\'s leading at every step. He looks forward to Heaven with increasing passion, and singing again with those he was privileged to sing with here.
Sources and contact information: This biography is based on materials provided by Wayne Woodhams (at the suggestion of a close friend) during late December, 2022. He has a significant amount of audio related material for those interested, and can be reached via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, by regular mail at: 1384 Owens Avenue, Ventura, CA 93004, or by cell phone at: 805-701-4103.