Burrell Charles Van Buren
1884 - 1957
Burrell Van Buren was born in Canton, Illinois, and became widely known in Chicago for his ability to write and arrange popular music, beginning in about 1913 and continuing until 1950. Beginning in the mid-1940s, he also began to write sacred music.
The first major sacred work he wrote was a cantata titled The Coming King, released in 1947. It was described as a musical sermon on the Second Advent and was performed by choirs at Adventist colleges in the late 1940s and early 1950s. A second edition was released in 1948.
Clarence Dortch, director of choirs at Southern Missionary College, now Southern Adventist University, and Walla Walla College, now University, promoted the work, giving its premier performance at SMC in 1947 and a later presentation of it at WWC the following year.
Other works by Van Buren included The Remnant, premiered at WWC in 1949, and The Ten Commandments, also premiered at WWC in 1950. The latter was written at Dortch’s request.
Van Buren and his wife had moved to Oregon in 1949 and were living there when he died eight years later, at age 72.
Sources: Obituary, North Pacific Union Gleaner, 25 February 1957, 7; The Ministry: April 1947, 30, 31; November 1947, 44, 45; December 1948, 37; “Walla Walla Choir to sing Latest Van Buren Song,” Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, 13 March, 3; Walla Walla College paper, The Collegian, 9 and 16 December 1948; 1900 Federal Census Records.