William R. Hoffman
Bill Hoffman, a bass and well-known Seventh-day Adventist singing evangelist in the twentieth century, worked in a number of conferences and with several major SDA evangelists. He was associated with the Voice of Prophecy as a singer and evangelistic speaker for several years.
Hoffman was born in North Dakota. He attended Enterprise Academy in Kansas for his first academy year, where he took his first voice lessons and sang under Harold Lickey.
When his parents moved to teach at a school in Hinsdale, Illinois, he attended Broadview Academy, where he studied under Brad Braley. Braley encouraged him in his music and featured him as a soloist at the academy and, on occasion, had him sing as a soloist on The Voice of Hope, an SDA radio broadcast from Chicago on station WGN.
Following graduation from academy in 1954, Hoffman entered Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University. While there, he continued to sing in quartets as he had in the academy, and studied voice with and sang under Melvin Davis. When Davis left in 1956 to teach at Walla Walla College, now University, Hoffman followed him a year later. During this time he met and married his wife, Karen Merlene Lindsay, a talented artist who would later assist him in evangelism as an extremely effective black-light fast sketch artist, drawing large scale religious drawings as an enhancement in the meetings.
In 1958, Hoffman entered the Army and served for two years. He then returned to EMC, where he graduated with a B.Mus. in 1961. In that last school year, he studied voice with Minnie Iverson Wood and Gerald Ferguson, and sang under Wood. During his college years, he sang the solo bass parts in performances of Handel's Messiah many times.
In his last year at EMC, Hoffman also sang in two evangelistic crusades with Robert L. Boothby, pioneer evangelist. It was at this that he made the decision to use his voice in evangelism.
From 1961 to 1963 he worked as a singer in the Illinois Conference with Boothby and other evangelists. At the end of that time, he was invited to go to Central California, where he served as singing evangelist with Stanley Harris for the next five years. While working with Harris, he was ordained to the ministry in 1965. In 1968, Hoffman traveled with Harris to the Southeastern California Conference to conduct crusades for the next two years. At that end of that time, he was asked to conduct crusades in which he would do both the speaking and singing.
In 1972, he was invited to join the Voice of Prophecy and for the next seven years worked as an evangelistic speaker and singer in VOP evangelism. During that time he worked with H.M.S. Richards, Jr., Fordayce Detamore, and others. From 1975 to 1979, Hoffman also served as Director of the VOP Evangelistic Association, coordinating evangelism efforts across the country, and still participating in crusades, as needed. While associated with the VOP, he recorded an album on the Chapel Records label titled His Eye is on the Sparrow.
From 1979 to 1986, he pursued graduate study at Azusa Pacific University and did an internship, completing a master's degree in counseling psychology and becoming a board certified family psychotherapist. In recent years he has increasingly worked with the California Superior Court, Ventura County family court system, handling mandated counseling in challenging situations.
Since his practice is located in the Thousand Oaks, California, area, Hoffman has been able to interact with those in the Adventist Media Center whom he knew while he worked at the VOP. He is still active in music, singing the solo bass parts in presentations of the Messiah.
Sources: Interview, 2007; Record Liner Biography, Chapel Records, Bill Hoffmn Sings "His Eye is on the Sparrow."