Remembering Wayne Wadhams

November 12, 1946-August 19, 2008

The Berklee Music Production and Engineering (MP&E) Department is saddened by the loss of faculty member Wayne Wadhams. Wayne was instrumental in developing the studios and curriculum of the MP&E program, starting in 1983.

*Special note: In his earlier career, Wayne wrote and performed with the band the Fifth Estate. The band recorded international release versions of “Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead” and “Hi-Ho” with Wayne singing in multiple languages. Wayne always wanted to find copies of these versions but never tracked them down. If you have any information about these versions, please let us know!

From "Berklee Today’s" Final Cadence

Berklee faculty member Wayne Wadhams of Boston, MA, died August 19 after a long illness. He was 61. Wadhams leaves life partner, David Drummond, and longtime friend Arlene Ash. 

A musician, composer, producer, artist, entrepreneur, author, educator, and innovator, Wadhams was one of Berklee's quiet legends. As a child, he played the organ and piano and appeared as a "child prodigy" at Hammond Organ Society meetings and played for silent movies at the New Haven Paramount Theater. Among his many early accomplishments, he arranged and sang the main theme of the Candid Camera TV show and did several NBC sports specials. After taking a year off to tour with his band the Fifth Estate, Wadhams graduated from Dartmouth College in 1969. The group had a top 15 hit titled "Ding Dong! the Witch Is Dead." He also worked with filmmaker John Sayles recording and mixing audio for Return of the Secaucus Seven in 1979 and Lianna in 1982. 

Asked in 1983 by Lawrence Berk and Bob Share to assess whether expanding Berklee's recording program was a good idea, Wadhams seized the opportunity to transform Berklee's offerings from a few audio recording courses to a major in music production and engineering. Six months later, working with Bill Gitt (currently Berklee's chief engineer), he designed and delivered six studios, several faculty members, and industry-veteran recording engineer Don Puluse to oversee the program. 

In 1985, the MP&E Department won its first of four TEC Awards. "Wayne led our division and the college to the idea that technology can be an artistic tool for powerful expression," says Technology Division Dean Stephen Croes. "The program and concept that he articulated has been emulated and imitated all over the world."