Ted Braun was the oldest member of the Community Orchestra. He joined the orchestra playing second violin in 2009 at the age of 88 after moving to Langley from Orcas Island. Once he joined, his family could say that they now had three generations playing in the orchestra: Ted, his daughter Enid, son-in-law Jean, and granddaughter Ramona. Ted played until his death at the age of 91. At the end he was still making music in the hospital getting some respiratory therapy by playing sprightly tunes on his harmonica that wafted down the hall.
Ted’s minister father was given an old violin by a miner, and young Ted began on that violin and kept it all his life. Everyone in his family played an instrument, with musicians continuing into the next generations. In college Ted sang in a traveling glee club where he met Pete Seeger, Bertrand Russell, Burl Ives, and Eleanor Roosevelt. He received a BA in Philosophy from Elmhurst College, and a Master’s in Divinity from Union Theological Seminary, where he was mentored by Paul Tillich. In 1949 he became the pastor of a small country church in Oregon, then later changing careers to become an English Professor at Lewis and Clark College, with a MA in Education from Reed College, and finally a PhD in English Literature from the University of Washington.
Ted taught at L&C for 30 years and was well-loved as a mentor for many students. His commitment to social justice and community was strong and informed much of what he did. As an adult he took up the trombone and sousaphone, and greatly enjoyed being part of a small band traveling the college campus playing labor songs encouraging faculty to join the union, an oompah band on Orcas Island, and an Orcas Symphonic Band as well. He made a number of instruments himself: wooden flutes, lyres, xylophones and drums. Ted had a life-long love of the arts and of the unfolding of new ideas and experience. Music was integral to his daily life; poetry and ideas from ancient to modern were readily shared with all who shared with him.
We remember and appreciate Ted for the example he set in his joy in music, his open nature, and his acceptance of all players. The orchestra Board of Directors is pleased to be able to keep his spirit alive through the awarding of scholarships in his name to select people who have shown exemplary participation in our orchestra.