You are here

Michael and Rebecca McGoodwin Endowed Fund in Music

Michael and Rebecca McGoodwin
Michael and Rebecca McGoodwin

In 2017, Dr. Michael McGoodwin and his late wife, Rebecca, established the Michael and Rebecca McGoodwin Endowed Scholarship in Music Performance at the School of Music, creating a source of enduring support for music performance majors at the University of Washington. The scholarship stands as a meaningful tribute to the couple's shared lives in music, which included their attendance at many School of Music performances and classes. 

“With great appreciation and gratitude for all of the benefits we have received from the UW School of Music, we are pleased to endow this fund. We hope our modest contribution will be of assistance to aspiring students of music performance, and we wish them all great success.—Michael and Rebecca McGoodwin

Why We Give

Rebecca: I was exposed in childhood to the joyful piano renditions of my grandmother Florence Cardiff, who played many popular old-time songs, ragtimes, and classical works from memory.  I especially enjoyed accompanying her in piano duets.  I had six years of piano lessons in childhood and acquired good skills, preferring the classics (Chopin, Beethoven) over popular music. 

Michael: My mother was quite musical, sang as an alto in the Episcopal church choir (and her brother Russ Wait strummed a hot Dixieland banjo).  I had two years of piano with modest effect, and also sang some in the church youth choir.  My mother loved classical music, and filled the house with music with her extensive LP collection.  This got me hooked at an early age on many of the great orchestral standards: symphonies of Brahms, Mozart, Berlioz, Beethoven, and Sibelius; colorful works by Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Smetana, and Respighi; ballets by Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, and Adam.

In junior high, I took up the cornet in wind band.  Eventually I attained first chair in our high school band, and also played in the swing band.  The director called me “Iron Mike” (more for endurance and volume than finesse).  We of course performed traditional marches (Barnum and Bailey’s Favorite, Honey Boys on Parade).  But I was more taken by our concert repertoire, which included many fine orchestral transcriptions: Beethoven’s Overture to Egmont, Tchaikovsky, Rossini, Kalinnikov, Gluck, and Bellini.  For ten years or so after high school, I joined in occasional concerts (most memorably, The Mikado with the Rice U Orchestra) and various smaller groups.  After moving to Seattle in 1972 for medical residencies at the UW, time was short, and with regret I conceded performance to those with more time, training and skills.  But I have always had a special place in my heart for brass and trumpets in particular (Messiah: “The Trumpet Shall Sound”; Trumpet Concertos of Telemann and Tartini, etc.)  A favorite jest: “I’ve never heard a string quartet that couldn’t be improved with a little brass.”)

In college, I attended the Houston Symphony regularly, and worked as a sound technician for their summer concerts.  Working so close to these fine performing musicians was truly thrilling.  Music became one of my greatest passions, exceeded only by that for my wife and family. 

Duo: Rebecca and Michael began dating at Rice U in 1964, and soon began concertgoing as a couple: the Houston Symphony (Maurice André, Rampal, Francescatti), sacred choral music (A German Requiem, B minor Mass, Vivaldi Gloria); and organ recitals.  Old family friends and mentors in Houston, the Gonzalezes, kindly introduced Michael or both of us to great operas (Boris Godunov, The Magic Flute), to Poulenc’s Gloria, and to the popular Brahms Piano Quintet in F min.  Attending a riveting 1962 performance of Don Giovanni at the old Met ensured Michael’s lifelong love of opera.  Opera became a major pursuit in our married lives (now 50 years and counting).  For decades we attended the Seattle Opera (the Ring, Der Meistersinger, Pelléas et Mélisande, etc.), and more recently with the Met’s Live in HD broadcasts (Così fan tutte, Madama Butterfly, Prince Igor). 

We have benefitted greatly from the rich musical life at the UW, not only through the great variety of performances offered but from music courses as well.  In the mid-1970’s, we attended several excellent evening courses on upcoming operas given by UW music professor Charles Troy (Thaïs, Aida, Eugene Onegin).  Since 2006, we have enjoyed auditing many regular daytime UW music courses.  Our understanding of tonal music was greatly enhanced by Áine Heneghan’s course in Music Theory.  In music history, we have much appreciated the superb teaching of professors George Bozarth (lieder; sacred choral music; chamber music), Larry Starr (Americana:  Popular Music; American Voice; Musical Theater), and Stephen Rumph (Opera and Politics; Mélodies of Fauré). 

We try to expand our horizons in music.  Though we will always favor the Western art repertoire, we have found much of interest in a broader range of musical genres: pop (Beach Boys), folk (Baez, Collins, Dylan), jazz (Armstrong), gospel and soul (Aretha Franklin), blues (Ray Charles), rock (Beatles, Sting, “Stairway to Heaven”), country and bluegrass (Alison Krauss, Cash), staged musicals (Show Boat, My Fair Lady, Anything Goes), film scores (Kundun, The Mission, Predator 2), tango (Piazzolla), and other ethnic and “world” genres.  Generally, we seek harmonies that enrich (“Hagen’s Watch”), rhythms that get us moving (“The Adoration of the Earth”), melodies and poetic lyrics that reach into our souls ( “A Change Is Gonna Come”), and colors and textures that diversify the musical experience.  But above all , we seek performances by dedicated, well-trained, and skilled professional musicians. 

With great appreciation and gratitude for all of the benefits we have received from the UW School of Music, we are pleased to endow this fund.  We hope our modest contribution will be of assistance to aspiring students of musical performance and music history, and we wish them all great success.

Read more about Michael and Rebecca McGoodwin

Support this Scholarship