In the post-World War II era, Sacramento State College – today’s California State University, Sacramento – became the city’s first, and still only, four-year college. And playing an important role as a member of the school’s original faculty was Dr. Frederick Westphal.
Although Frederick, who served as the college’s first associate professor of music, passed away at the age of 87 on Dec. 23, 2003, his legacy remains strong due to the impact he made while contributing to the success of the school.
Born in the small, northeast Arkansas town of Walnut Ridge, which was founded as a railroad town in 1874 and is located about 75 miles east of Memphis, Tenn., Frederick took an early interest in music.
Frederick’s interest in music led him to study in this field at the University of Illinois – today’s University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – where he received bachelor’s degrees in conducting and arranging (1937) and public school music (1938).
In 1939, Frederick, who played the clarinet, earned a master’s degree in music education at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. This prestigious school, which is within the University of Rochester, was established in 1916 by Eastman Kodak Co. founder, George Eastman.
During the same year, Frederick, at the age of 23 and having completed his master’s degree, was hired to teach music classes at Texas State College for Women – today’s Texas Woman’s University in Denton, Texas, between Dallas and Fort Worth. He continued to work in this role, which by his third year included taking charge of a concert band, until 1946.
Another one of Frederick’s endeavors in music was his summertime employment at the National Music Camp – later Interlochen Arts Camp – where he was responsible for music for the performance groups during the camp’s eight-week sessions.
Additionally, during the annual camp, where he taught from 1935 to 1942 and 1944 to 1945, Frederick instructed clarinet in relief of the famous 20th century clarinetist and clarinet teacher Gustave Langenus, when his schedule was overloaded, conducted bassoon sectional rehearsals for band and orchestra and was a guest conductor of the high school band for a one-week session.
During the latter part of his time at the music camp, Frederick married Traverse City, Mich. native Hinda Cunningham, a violinist, whom he met at the camp. Hinda worked at the camp from 1941 to 1942 and again from 1944 to 1946.
Hinda and Frederick were engaged on Frederick’s birthday (April 25) in 1943 and were married about two months later on Hinda’s birthday (June 22).
Frederick furthered his education in music following his time at the camp, as he once again attended the Eastman School of Music and earned a performers certificate in clarinet in 1947 and a doctorate’s degree in music a year later.
In his memoirs, Frederick explained that the completion date of his doctorate’s degree was very timely.
“When my doctorate was completed, I was recommended for a position at a new California State College at Sacramento, one of several that were created following World War II,” Frederick wrote. “I accepted the position primarily because it was a new institution with no long range traditions and my job would be to create and develop the music department curricula and faculty. While still in Rochester, I provided the architectural specifications for a music facility to be built on a permanent campus in Sacramento.”
During Frederick’s early years with Sacramento State on the old Sacramento Junior College (today’s Sacramento City College) campus, the state college offered junior and senior level classes, while the junior college provided freshman and sophomore level instruction.
Sacramento State relocated to its current, 242-acre campus in 1953, at which time it became a four-year college.
Reflecting upon his introduction to the current Sacramento State campus, Frederick, according to The Sacramento Bee, in 1983, said, “I had to get out my old rubber boots from my days in the East, because there was a lot of mud and there weren’t any sidewalks. We had three little buildings for classrooms, office space, storage and the piano classes. We held a few classes in the administration building, too.”
Among all of Sacramento State’s academic departments, the music department was the first to obtain national accreditation.
Frederick, who served as chairman of the music department for 15 years, was also well known in the community for his work as a member of the Sacramento Symphony Association’s board of directors from 1961 to 1981.
Additionally, he was the principal clarinetist of the Sacramento Municipal Band and the State Fair band, a founding committee member of the Sacramento Youth Orchestra – predecessor to today’s Sacramento Youth Symphony – the first vice president of the Sacramento Community Concerts, a two-term president of the Northern California section of the California Music Educators Association, chairman of the founding committee of the Golden Empire Music Festival, which was originally co-sponsored by California State University.
Hinda, who said that she is not sure if she is 90 or 91, since she spent the early part of her life without a birth certificate, said that she first arrived in Sacramento with Frederick on Aug. 8, 1948.
“When we got to Sacramento, the State Fair was going on, so we couldn’t find lodging,” said Hinda, who earned bachelor’s degrees in music and English and a music teacher’s credential at what is now Northern Michigan State University. “We ended up staying in a hotel on Marconi (Avenue). We later got a duplex at 2100 H St.”
In October 1948, Frederick and Hinda moved into their first Sacramento house at 2130 Stover Way in Hollywood Park, and by about 1953, they permanently moved to River Park, where they raised their sons, Frederick III, who is commonly known as “Rick,” and Carl, who is currently serving as the principal of Crocker/Riverside Elementary School in Land Park.
One of Frederick’s greatest contributions to music was his work as an author and editor of music textbooks for the former Dubuque, Iowa-based William C. Brown Co. Publishers, which was later designated Brown and Benchmark, and even later purchased by another publishing company, McGraw-Hill.
Frederick contributed to 276 music books, including three books, which he authored.
The most notable of these three books was the very popular, “Guide to Teaching Woodwinds,” of which eight editions were published.
Although Frederick resigned as Sacramento State’s music department chairman in 1963, he remained a part of the faculty, teaching one semester per year until 1983.
At the time of his retirement, Frederick had the notoriety of having the longest tenure of any faculty member in the history of the school.
When asked to summarize the time that Frederick spent at Sacramento State, Hinda briefly, yet enthusiastically replied, “He loved every minute of it.”