WINDSOR, N.S. — Ted Woundy had a gift for bringing out the music in everyone.
The 43-year-old Mount Denson resident was a mentor, a dedicated music educator who inspired countless students to pursue their dreams.
And this week, the community is in mourning as news spread about his death on Nov. 7.
“The legacy that he’s left, the gift that he’s left our area, is immeasurable,” said Josh Noiles, a former student of Woundy’s.
Noiles, a Brooklyn resident and local funeral director who is a member of the Tony Wood Trio, credits Woundy with not only encouraging him to play music, but for discovering his passion for percussion.
“I wanted to join the school jazz band,” recalled Noiles of his high school years in Windsor.
Since he played the trombone in the school band, he assumed that would be the instrument of choice when he performed with the jazz band.
However, there was an opening for a drummer — and Woundy, who heard Noiles had a second-hand kit at home, encouraged him to try out. At the time, Noiles was unsure as he had never even sat behind the drum kit before.
“He said ‘Josh, you’ve got the rhythm; I think you could pick it up and I’ll help you.’ For whatever reason, he believed in me and encouraged me,” said Noiles.
“He never even batted an eye. He was confident right from the get-go. He said ‘you’ll be the drummer for the jazz band, I know it.’ And I had no training at all — I’d never taken a drum lesson in my life,” Noiles said.
But Woundy gave him some pointers and over the course of the year, Noiles was comfortable and confident behind the drums. He played with multiple bands since graduating from high school in 2005 — and says drums are now his preferred instrument of choice.
“To whom do I owe what I have now? I think looking back, Mr. Woundy would be at the top of the list,” said Noiles.
A life of giving
Edward William ‘Ted' Woundy’s obituary indicated he loved music — both playing and listening — and he had a “terrible affliction with Bon Jovi,” but friends and family loved to hear him sing Bed of Roses.
Woundy was a former vocalist for Short Notice, and in recent years, performed at many local venues. He leaves behind his wife, Sonja, and daughter, Carmen.
Woundy taught at Avon View High School in Windsor and over the years, inspired countless people to pick up an instrument.
Ryan McGinn, of Windsor, counts himself lucky to have known — and to have been mentored by — Woundy.
McGinn attended Avon View High School for Grades 10-12 and spent much time with Woundy, whether during regular band class, during guitar class or visiting the music room over the lunch-hour.
“He really, really encouraged me to take on other instruments, to be the best musician I could possibly be. When I was first starting to play music seriously in a band, he was very encouraging of it, very supportive of it and he really did what he could as a teacher to help me learn more,” said McGinn.
“I play saxophone, which is what I took in music, but I also play guitar, drums and piano. A lot of that I would not know how to play if he didn’t let me borrow instruments or go in the music room during lunch to play music,” he continued.
“He really saw how dedicated I was and he really tried to do what he could with that.”
McGinn said Woundy radiated a positive attitude. He treated his students with respect and genuinely wanted to see them succeed.
“He was just an awesome guy to be around. It was never dull to be in his class. He always made it entertaining. He was always upbeat and cracking jokes,” said McGinn.
And he was always pushing them to learn more by giving them challenging assignments.
“I listened to a lot of heavy metal and punk rock and I wouldn’t really listen to some other genres… he pushed that onto us and it really broadened my horizon of music growing up.”
McGinn, who played with Generation Idiot throughout high school and college, continues to perform and be involved in the music scene.
“I would not be the musician I am today without Mr. Woundy.”
Jake Smith, owner of Moe’s Music School, said Woundy’s passing has impacted countless students and musicians.
“When you first saw Ted, he looked like a rock star. I think that was inspirational to a lot of up-and-coming musicians,’ said Smith, sitting on a stool inside one of the private lesson rooms at the music school.
“He just inspired students. He was so supportive of everything that students were doing musically in school and out of school, whether they were out playing shows or coming here for lessons and recording.”
He said a number of current and former students were heartbroken upon hearing the news of Woundy’s death.
One of Smith’s fondest memories of Woundy perhaps best sums up what he was all about. One night, during rock and roll boot camp at the school, Woundy was passing by and decided to pop in.
“He came in and sang a couple of songs with the band that was playing. What was really cool was some of the students were going to have him the following year,” said Smith. “It was such a great way for new students to meet their new music teacher. It was awesome. He was so great with the kids and the kids loved it. They had a good time.”
A celebration of Woundy’s life will be held Nov. 16 from 4-8 p.m. in the upper level of the Royal Canadian Legion, Hants County branch 009, 35 Empire Lane, in Windsor. Guests are invited to bring an acoustic guitar for the celebration.
To express condolences to the family, visit: www.demontfamilyfuneralhome.ca.