#WHM – Edwyl Reddings, Musician, Dean, and Tri Sigma

Edwyl Reddings, by all accounts, was a fine musician. Born in Colorado, she traveled to Granville, Ohio, to attend Denison University. She graduated in 1911 before the institution’s National Panhellenic Conference organizations were founded there.

“Miss Edwyl Redding to repeat recital,” was the headline in the June 20, 1911 Montrose Daily Press. The article read:

At the earnest solicitation of many friends Miss Edwyl Redding, who recently graduated from the Dennison (sic) Conservatory of Music with high honors on the piano, will repeat the recital that she gave there following the graduation, for the benefit of Montrose people on Thursday evening at 8:15 o’clock at the opera house. There will be no admission charged and Miss Redding cordially invites all her friends to be her guests on this occasion. Miss Redding is a Montrose girl, having been born here. We have spoken of her great ability as a pianist many times in these columns, and it will be a great pleasure to hear her in this classical recital. She will use a Baldwin piano, the use of which was donated by A. E. Smith.

The October 13, 1911, issue of the same newspaper reported, “Edwyl Redding will play the big pipe organ.” According to the report:

Friday Miss Edwyl Redding, the accomplished daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. O. Redding, received an offer over the telephone to take the position as pipe organist in the Congregational church at Grand Junction, and she has accepted the same. She receives a good salary for handling the organ and will engage in teaching both on the pipe organ and piano. Miss Edwyl is a very talented young musician graduated in music last spring from one of the large conservatories in Ohio. She will take up her new work soon. 

In 1918, she joined the faculty of the Western State University of Colorado (now  Western State Colorado University) in Gunnison, Colorado. She spent the next 42 years at the institution, teaching and mentoring. In addition to her academic responsibilities, she served as Dean of Women during part of that time.

Edwyl Reddings, 1920s

Edwyl Reddings, 1920s

The Sigma Chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma was installed on February 21, 1925 with 10 charter members. A sponsor was also initiated at the time. I wonder if the sponsor was Edwyl Reddings. She is on the Sigma Chapter roll and she must have been an alumna initiate.

In the 1930s, she earned a Master’s Degree from Western State University and another from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in New York.  She studied piano and organ in Europe and the United States. She was a concert pianist, accompanist, church organist and, in the 1920s, she provided music for radio station KFHA in Gunnison. She won many awards for her performances.

In 1941 she was recognized by Tri Sigma with the Emily Gates Alumnae Award for the “soul stirring music she had written for Sigma Sigma Sigma’s hymn, ‘Stately and Royal.’

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Redding was also a member of P.E.O. and A.A.U.W. She died in 1987 at the age of 95. Her legacy lives on at Western State Colorado University through the Edwyl Redding Memorial Piano and Organ Scholarship for full-time students pursuing instruction in piano and organ. The funding for the scholarship came from a bequest from Redding’s estate as well as from gifts from former students, colleagues, and friends. Two of Redding’s compositions, “Alma Mater- Western State Colorado University of Colorado” and “Ode To Western,” the official hymn of the University, are another legacy which lives on at the University.

Edwyl Reddings, 1940s

Edwyl Reddings, 1940s

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory.

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