Bruce E. Rasmussen
Bruce Rasmussen, lyric tenor, organist, and choral conductor, has taught at all levels in the Seventh-day Adventist educational system. He is known for the versatility of his voice and for his success as a conductor and builder of accomplished choral groups.
Bruce was born in Janesville, Wisconsin, one of three sons born to Sherrill and Alice Herwick Rasmussen. He grew up in a setting where music was an important activity in both the immediate and extended family. His father was a lyric tenor and trombonist, an aunt was a professional organist, and an uncle was also a tenor.
Rasmussen completed a B.Mus. and an M.Mus. at Andrews University in both voice and organ in 1982 and 1988. He, with his wife, Rosalie, taught music at Wisconsin Academy for twelve years, from 1981 to 1993. At that time he took a study leave to work on a doctorate at MSU. While at WA, Rasmussen received a Zapara Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1990 and a Distinguished Service Award in 1993.
The Rasmussens taught music at Greater Lansing Adventist School while he did graduate work at MSU. They also served as ministers of music at the Lansing Seventh-day Adventist church and the Okemos, Michigan, Community Church during that time.
In 1995 he accepted an invitation from Walla Walla College, now University, where he taught until 2000. While at WWC, Rasmussen's leadership led to significant musical achievement and rapid growth in the vocal/choral program. In 2000 he was invited to direct the choral program at Southern Adventist University, where his leadership again led to increased participation in the choral program.
Following a year at Great Lakes Academy, while he continued to work on his D.M.A., Rasmussen was hired to teach at Pacific Union College, where he has now taught for eight years. In addition to directing the choral program and teaching voice, he also serves as organist for the college church.
A lyric tenor, Rasmussen has soloed extensively, performing the full spectrum of German lieder and a broad sampling of French and Italian art song. He has sung numerous solo parts in Bach’s Cantatas and in other larger well-known works by other composers. He and his groups were featured on several occasions with the Walla Walla Symphony during his time at WWC. He has served as an adjudicator, given workshops, and conducted music festival choirs on a number of occasions.
Sources: Interview, 2011, and numerous contacts from 1995 to the present; Bruce Rasmussen, “My experience with and at Southern Adventist University,” an annotated Timeline, 2004; letter from James D. Hanson to SAU music faculty, 8 February 2004; personal knowledge.