Allen William Foster
Allen William Foster, pianist, organist, composer, teacher, and church musician, was born in New Jersey. He started piano lessons at an early age and later studied it at the Philadelphia Conservatory of Music with Jon Carlin. He also studied organ with W. Franklin Hoxter.
Foster completed a B.A. at Temple University and a master's degree at Rutgers University. While working for the Philadelphia school district as coordinator of social services, early childhood division, he was organist at the Ebenezer Seventh-day Adventist and the Pinn Memorial Baptist churches in Philadelphia.
Beginning in 1981, Foster and his wife, Gwendolyn, led a choir at Pine Forge Academy which was chosen as the official choir for the Pan American Youth Congress in 1984. During his career, he worked with leading Adventist evangelists, including E. E. Cleveland, Charles D. Brooks, and Neal C. Wilson.
Many of his compositions and arrangements have been sung and recorded by several well known choirs and artists. The Ebenezer Church Choir included some of his works on a recording they made for Chapel Records.
Foster was a member of the 1985 SDA Church Hymnal Committee, also serving on the tunes subcommittee. Three of his tunes, #203, Challenge; #298, Bradley; and #417, Finally, as well as his arrangement of #151, Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley, are in the hymnal.
He and his wife were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 by the Guild of Adventist Musicians.
Sources: Wayne H. Hooper and Edward E. White, Companion to the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal, 1988, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 393-94; "Master Musicians (Allen and Gwen Foster)," Regina Reid Clairmont, Columbia Union Visitor, August 2009, 11,12.