C. Wesley Andersen

1977 F. Melius Christiansen Lifetime Achievement Award
C. Wesley Andersen (
1907-1998)

C. Wesley Andersen was best known as the Music Consultant for the Minneapolis Schools, 1957-1972. As a choral teacher he taught at Edison High School until 1933, then went to Roosevelt High School where he led the choral activities from 1933-1957. One of the highlights of his career was taking the school’s a cappella choir to Cleveland in 1955 to perform at the MENC national convention. During his career he inspired thousands of students to not only love music, but also to challenge themselves. He thoroughly loved teaching and he loved his students, so the decision to leave the classroom and take an administrative position with the Minneapolis Schools was a difficult one, but he did so because it was an opportunity to shape the entire music education program.

Andersen began playing piano and organ as a young child, and obtained his first position as a church organist at age 15. He served as organist at various Twin Cities churches for over 50 years, including 29 at St. John the Evangelist Church in St. Paul.

After graduating from South High School in Minneapolis, he attended Macalester College in St. Paul for his undergraduate work, and received his master’s degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

At the age of 75, C. Wesley Andersen completed the requirements for a PhD in musicology and organ at the University of Minnesota, an accomplishment that gave him much pride and satisfaction.

Mr. Andersen wrote his memoirs, which has the intriguing title of From Kitchen Table to Organ Bench. He and his wife, Lillian, spent several months each winter in Arizona where he could be found playing a theater organ for a sing-along each night after dinner.