Harry and Ruth Houdeshel Memorial Flute Scholarship

Harry Houdeshel served as Professor of Flute at the Jacobs School of Music at IU from 1960 to 1985.

Houdeshel became the youngest musician, at age 12, to become a member of the musician's union while he lived in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. During the Depression, he was able to earn money for his family by playing flute in silent movie theaters and jazz saxophone in nightclubs (with his father as a chaperone).

Houdeshel graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, where he also met his future wife, Ruth Donahue. While at Dickinson, he played Principal Flute with the Harrisburg Symphony, which he continued after graduating. He furthered his skills on the flute by studying with William Kincaid, a celebrated pedagogue and flutist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. He earned his master's degree from the Washington Musical Institute in D.C.

In 1941, Houdeshel won a position with the U.S. Navy Band/Symphony Orchestra, and enlisted in the Navy. During the war years, he maintained a busy schedule, and performed frequently as a soloist at band and orchestra concerts, war bond drives, and many Voice of America broadcasts. With the Navy Band, Houdeshel toured nationally more than 28 times, and was a soloist with the Navy Band while thye accompanied President Eisenhower on his Good Will Tour through South America in 1960. This experience, filled with success, but also tragedy, cemented his belief that music has the power to unite people more so than diplomacy.

In the fall of 1960, Houdeshel was appointed to the faculty at the Jacobs School to teach students as well as perform in the American Woodwind Quintet. As a representative of IU in Europe, Houdeshel performed recitals in Spain, France, Germany, and Italy. The fruits of his teaching are obvious with his former students teaching in various public schools, colleges, and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada, and performing in major symphony orchestras in Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas-Fort Worth, Tulsa, Edmonton, and Winnipeg.

As part of his teaching, Houdeshel maintained his position of the importance of summer music schools in which he participated for nearly 20 years. These summer experiences led him to establish a woodwind department at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada.

Ruth Donahue Houdeshel met Harry Houdeshel at Dickinson College whom she later married. Ruth Houdeshel was also musical, playing classical piano and harp. During the war, she worked in the personnel department at the U.S. Navy Yard, then taught in the D.C. public school system before earning her master's in education from IU. In Bloomington, she taught at the IU Speech and Hearing Center, and worked as a reader for the blind for 18 years, recording more than 30 books for the Indiana State Library Talking Program. She was also a dedicated volunteer for the IU Eskenazi Art Museum.

The Harry and Ruth Houdeshel Memorial Flute Scholarship is awarded to deserving undergraduate or graduate students at the Jacobs School whose major is in Flute. The recipients should be in either their junior year or higher.