LONDON (CelebrityAccess) — Ward Swingle, founder of the internationally renowned vocal group The Swingle Singers, died in England on Monday. He was 87 at the time of his death.
A native of Mobile Alabama, Swingle started playing with local big band groups before he graduated from high school. After graduating from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, he spent some time in Paris, where he devised the idea for the Swingle Singers, whose early work would go on to win multiple Grammy awards.
After the first group disbanded, he re-launched the Swingle Singers in London and then, a decade later, returned to the U.S., serving as a music advisor to the group.
The second incarnation of the Swingle Singers remains active, producing dozens of albums over the past decades. In a memorial post on the group's website, a spokesperson for the group wrote:
"Yesterday was a very sad day for all of us in The Swingles, and everyone who has been part of the group's story over the last 52 years, as we lost our founder, friend and mentor Ward Swingle at the age of 87. Ward was a huge musical inspiration to us as well as a wise and kind grandfather to the group that carries his name. We look forward to celebrating the great man's life and work with fans, former Swingles and friends throughout the year, and we'll be announcing some special events and material soon."
According to Alabama Press, Swingle's survivors include his wife, Francoise; three daughters; and a number of nieces and nephews. – Staff Writers