Woodward, (Anna) Agnes
- J.M. Schlitz
(b Waterloo, NY, Jan 1872; d Los Angeles, CA, 1938). American Whistler and founder of a school of whistling. She grew up in Tecumseh, Michigan, and studied voice at the Detroit Conservatory. She later sang and taught locally until overstraining her voice. At age 30 she, her mother, and her aunts moved to California, where, after modeling certain bird species in the Sierras, Woodward began performing as a whistler. With the earlier successes of alice j. Shaw still fresh in the public’s mind, Woodward attracted many female students, and in 1909 she opened her California School of Artistic Whistling in Los Angeles.
Woodward’s “Bird Method” of whistling combined popular parlor tunes with chirped ornaments, each associated with a specific bird species and musical symbol. Her school was known for its touring Women’s Whistling Chorus of 30–50 members, which Woodward also directed. Noted students included Margaret McKee, who performed and recorded extensively, and Marion Darlington, who provided the whistling talent for early Disney films (...