Earle L. Louder was born in Somerset, Pennsylvania, on July 30, 1932 and passed quickly and peacefully from this life on May 26, 2021. He was known by many names: Doc, Daddy, Uncle Earle, Grampa, and more. He loved them all. He was a consummate professional, but a family man and friend before anything else. He truly cared about people, be it students, colleagues, or family.
Earle was a man with deep faith in God. He attended Clearfield Baptist Church in Clearfield, KY where he was a deacon and Minister of Music. For many years, he served as the Minister of Music for the First Baptist Church in Morehead, KY where he also taught Sunday School. He often sang and played his horn in the church, giving glory to God using the gifts he was given. He shared love and time with everyone he met, quietly demonstrating a life of service to others and to God.
Earle was preceded in death by his parents (Joseph Greenleaf Louder and Mary Eicher Louder), a brother (Glenn), a sister (Martha), his infant son (John Mark), a grandson (Mathew Perry), and a great-grandson (Josh Raftevold). He is survived by his wife (Louise Twiford Louder), two sons (Joseph and Stephen Louder), three daughters (Mary Nixon, Kathy Norman, and Leslie O'Neal), dozens of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
Dr. Louder was a retired Distinguished Professor Emeritus of euphonium and tuba from Morehead State University, Kentucky, where he also served as Resident-Artist for 27 years. Before his tenure at Morehead State, he was for 12 seasons principal and featured euphonium soloist and head of the brass department of United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C., where he also conducted the Navy Band Ceremonial Unit. Before his service with the Navy Band, he was principal euphonium and assistant conductor of the 46th Infantry Division Band of the Michigan State National Guard.
His education includes an undergraduate degree from Michigan State University, studying under the renowned euphonium artist Leonard V. Falcone. His doctoral work was completed at Florida State University from which he holds the distinction of being the first person to complete the Doctor of Music degree in Euphonium Performance. He was a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, Sigma Alpha Iota, and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternities.
Acclaimed as one of the finest euphonium virtuosos of all time, Dr. Louder performed on three low brass instruments -- trombone, tuba and euphonium -- a rare achievement for professional musicians. He was also in great demand as a guest euphonium soloist, clinician, adjudicator, and conductor in the United States and internationally. He was principal and featured euphonium soloist with Keith Brion's "New Sousa Band", Dr. Leonard B. Smith's "Detroit Concert Band" and the Blossom Music Center Festival Band, the Bluegrass Wind Ensemble, and a performer on euphonium with the Grammy-nominated euphonium/tuba ensemble "Symphonia."
He was a permanent faculty member at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan, spending more than 30 summers sharing his knowledge and artistry with staff and campers of all ages, and received Blue Lake’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2013. He performed with Blue Lake’s Festival Band, adjudicated in the Leonard Falcone International Euphonium and Tuba Festival, and completed six tours with Blue Lake’s International Exchange Program throughout Europe.
Those who knew of Dr. Louder will know about his legendary musical skill. However, those who knew him personally will know that he was a legend not only because of his musical skill but because of his humanity and his compassion for others and his incredible faith. He received many accolades and awards during a long and successful career, but that all pales in comparison to what a beautiful human being Dr. Louder really was and how he modeled great integrity on a daily basis. Saying that he will be missed by so many is an understatement. His former students became his extended family. He treated everyone he met with the same respect, be it an esteemed professional colleague or a junior high school student.
Earle was a founding member of the Tubists Universal Brotherhood Association (TUBA) which later became the International Tuba/Euphonium Association (ITEA). Dr. Louder received the ITEA's Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the Kentucky Music Educators Association's Teacher of the Year award.
The last honor that Dr. Louder received was the prestigious Edwin Franko Goldman Citation in 2019, presented by the American Bandmasters Association in March 2020 in Biloxi, Mississippi.
A Celebration of Life service will be announced by the family at a later date.
Arrangements are under the direction of Northcutt & Son Home for Funerals, 400 Fraley Drive, Morehead, KY 40351.
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