William Robert Chunestudy


William Chunestudy, a multi-talented musician, taught music in three academies and a university in the Seventh-day Adventist educational system. Even after becoming an administrator in higher education, he has continued to be active in music.

A Native American Cherokee Indian, Chunestudy was born in Muskogee, Oklahoma, and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. Following graduation from College View Academy in 1968, he enrolled at Union College, where he was active as a percussionist in the band and a singer in the choirs. In his senior year he was voted Music Major of the Year and in 1972 completed a B.S. in music education with voice and percussion as his major and minor performance areas, respectively.

He started his music teaching career at Sheyenne River Academy, later moved and renamed Dakota Adventist Academy, where he taught for two years. He then took a study leave and completed an M.Mus. in music education at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, in 1975, again pursuing voice and percussion as his performance areas.

In 1975 Chunestudy accepted a position at Georgia-Cumberland Academy, where he served as band director and taught instrumental lessons for the next six years. He returned to the Midwest in 1981 to be the band director at Maplewood Academy in Minnesota. At the end of his second year he also assumed leadership of the choral program.

In 1984 he accepted a position at La Sierra University, where for the next fourteen years he cared for a number of responsibilities, including directing vocal studies, assisting in choral activities, founding a vocal octet in 1988, and, during his first six years at LSU, conducting the band. In addition to his work with the LSU Vocal Octet, an ensemble noted for its professional quality and diverse repertoire, Chunestudy served as Associate Director of Enrollment Services and then Director of Student Financial Services.

He also served as Minister of Music and Worship at the LSU Church, a senator in the LSU Faculty Senate, and a member of several committees.

While at LSU, Chunestudy completed a D.M.A. in conducting at Claremont Graduate School, now Claremont Graduate University, in 1994. Because of his heritage and related interests, he also pursued studies and research in ethnomusicology. His work in this area resulted in his giving several presentations in the 1990s about Cherokee values, culture, and music and writing a 1997 publication titled The Stomp Dance of the Western Cherokees, Ceremony and Context.

In 2000 he was offered the chairmanship of and a full professorship in the music department of Walla Walla College, now University, but was unable to accept the offer for personal reasons. He continued his work at LSU in enrollment services until 2003 and then served as Director of Student Financial Services until 2007.

At that time he helped establish California Preparatory College, a private, Christian non-denominational two-year community college and served for nearly four years as its president. He also founded the William Chunestudy Men's Chorus, whose members live in the Inland Empire of Southern California. The group performs in churches and schools and for civic occasions. In December 2010 they released a CD of spirituals, We Have this Hope, to honor the memory and work of Wayne Hooper. Chunestudy also conducted the church choir at Azure Hills SDA Church from 2008 to 2010.

He returned to denominational employment as a pastor for music and young adult ministries in South Orange County in November 2010 and in the summer of 2011 accepted a position as Resource Education Specialist with Adventist Risk Management in Maryland. Even though he now resides on the East Coast, he commutes to California about once a month to conduct the WCMC.

Throughout his career, Chunestudy was a frequent guest conductor and conducted numerous festival groups and clinics in over 25 states and four foreign countries. His octet and other ensembles under his direction have performed countless times for audiences and congregations throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries.

Chunestudy married Juliann Schander while attending Union College. They have three children, Trevor William, Nicole Danielle, and Trisha Noelle.


Sources: Interview with William Chunestudy; 21 March 2012; Curriculum Vita, February 2000; "Faculty Profile: "William Chunestudy adds 'Doctor' to his name," LSU music department Hole Notes, fall 1994; CD Liners, La Sierra University Vocal Octet, Witness and I'm Gonna Sing; personal knowledge.