Bruce Charles Kuist
Bruce Kuist, band director of the Oakbow Concert Band in the last 13 years of his career, an elementary school band supported jointly by The Oaks SDA and Bowman Hills Schools located in Ooltewah and Cleveland Tennessee, retired in 2007. Under his leadership, the band traveled to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where for eight years they successfully auditioned to perform a 30-minute concert. In his thirteen years as conductor of the OCB, Kuist also served for eight years as director at the annual conference-wide elementary band festival sponsored by the Georgia-Cumberland Conference.
His band was a highly successful venture involving grades five through eight, some home school students, and adults. They typically learned 30 to 35 compositions a year and performed frequently. The group played at the 2005 General Conference Session in St. Louis. In the 2006-2007 school year, 32 former members of the OCB were in the 75-member Collegedale Academy band.
Kuist started lessons on clarinet at age twelve. While attending Wisconsin Academy, he decided in his junior year to pursue music as a career, inspired by the beauty of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, a work he was preparing for performance under the guidance of music teacher Ellis Olson. He completed a B.Mus. at Andrews University in 1964.
He began teaching at Highland Academy in Tennessee that autumn where he met Irene Cross, the voice, piano, and organ teacher. Following their marriage that year, they accepted an invitation to teach music at Far Eastern Academy in Singapore, positions they held for the next five years. In the year following their return, he completed a master's degree in clarinet, with additional study in double reeds and flute, at the University of South Florida, sponsored by FEA.
Kuist subsequently taught at Cedar Lake, Battle Creek, Enterprise, and Ozark academies; Canadian Union College, now Canadian University College; Napa Junior Academy in California; and Oklahoma Academy, a self-supporting Adventist school, before accepting his last position. For ten years he also served as adjunct instructor in double reeds at nearby Southern Adventist University.
The Kuists now reside in Cleveland, Tennessee.
Sources: Letter with biographical information, 14 December 2006; 2003 Andrews University Alumni Directory, 251; Brief autobiography posted at Bowman Hills School, 2007; U.S. Public Records, Ancestory.com.