david wood

ArtsWatch guest post: Pavane for a dead prince

Remembering Portland classical music store owner David Wood

by MARIA CHOBAN

David Wood 1954-2012. Photo: Novie Beth Ragan Gad.

Sheet music store owner David Wood, well-known on the Oregon classical music scene, died last week. Friends will hold a wake in his memory this Saturday. Portland pianist Maria Choban knew Wood for almost three decades and wrote this remembrance. The title refers to a work by one of Wood’s favorite composers, Maurice Ravel.

We’re sitting side by side on David’s couch, I’m belting out the Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun” and David is screaming and giggling “STOP!!!!”  Apparently we’re in the middle of playing a game of who can out-gross the other more with the vilest song ever written.  We’ve just returned from dinner so we’re very tanked, and we’ve had our after-dinner cigarette – David being very generous with his stash because I’m in a perennial state of quitting.  To hear David’s giggle is one of the most joyful experiences on this planet. To never hear it again brings tears to my eyes. David doesn’t laugh heartily; he giggles unabashedly like a doll whose stomach you press and it emits a series of rhythmic happy baby gurgles. His giggle makes me laugh harder and pretty soon we’re unable to breathe, doubled over on the couch, slapping each other to make us STOP!!!  I’m not sure what started it. Often we go from the sublime to the ridiculous. We may have been talking about tragic lives – Karen Carpenter’s certainly qualifies – when one of us breaks out into a totally inappropriate tangent.

David Wood died Monday, August 13. He was 57 years old.  (“Too fast to live, too young to die, Bye-Bye” — Eagles, “James Dean.”)  With Michael Sagun, he co-owned Sheet Music Service long located on Portland’s North Park Blocks, and was in charge of the instrumental department, housing one of the greatest collections of trumpet literature (because David played professionally and taught), brass quintet literature (because David played in Metropolitan and Pioneer Brass Quintets), concert band scores (because David believed in supporting music in public education and having scores available for perusal was essential to band directors).

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