Carl William Anderson

1939 -

Carl Anderson, tenor soloist, choir conductor, and brass player, taught music in public school and two Seventh-day Adventist colleges for sixteen years. He also served as an administrator overseeing recruitment and development at two Adventist schools.

Anderson was born in Cadillac, Michigan, the son of Carl E. and Eleanor M. Smith Anderson. His father was a longtime Worthington Food salesman and his mother a soprano and pianist. He took piano lessons from her as a child and then started voice study at age fourteen while attending Cedar Lake academy, now Great Lakes Academy, in Michigan. His academy voice teacher and choir director, James Mercer, inspired him, and upon graduating from CLA in 1958, he entered Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, as a music major.

After two years, during which he completed basic theory classes, Anderson withdrew from full-time study. He tried working as a singer in evangelism and as an orderly in a nearby hospital for a short while and then worked in a hospital in the Chicago area for two years before returning to AU in 1964. While living in the Chicago area, he had married Ann Wilson in 1962.

Norman Krogstad, who came to AU the year Anderson returned to school, proved to be an inspiring teacher who encouraged him as he resumed his studies. When his first child, Carl Michael, was born in 1966, he had to drop out for a year because of expenses, but then resumed study, completing a B.Mus. Ed in 1968. He received an M.Mus. in vocal performance a year later, completing final credits and comprehensive examinations for it while on a study tour in Vienna in the summer of 1969.

His voice teachers at AU included Minnie Iverson Wood, Gerald Ferguson, and Krogstad. Krogstad also started and nurtured him in the playing of brass instruments.

Following two years of teaching vocal music in the Benton Harbor, Michigan, high school, Anderson entered the University of Arizona in 1971, where he worked on a doctorate and studied voice with baritone Igor Gorin for four years. During that time, he sang with the Tucson Opera Company and directed choirs at the First Christian and Desert Valley SDA churches in Tucson.

In those years he made several trips to Glendale, California, for vocal lessons with Joseph Klein and twice attended choral workshops given by David Wilcox at La Sierra College, now University. He also served as superintendent of Special Needs Transportation, a service for the handicapped in Tucson and Pima counties, where he worked until 1976.

The Andersons divorced in 1971, and he married Debra Ann Skinner in 1975. In 1976 he accepted a position at Kingsway College in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, where he taught voice, conducted the Ladies' Chorus for his first four years and then the symphonic choir when James Bingham took leave to attend AU.

He was a frequent soloist. Of particular interest in his early years at KC was a successful summer tour he took in 1978 with Leslie W. Mackett, a gifted pianist and teaching colleague at KC. They presented more than thirty concerts as they toured to most of the Adventist colleges and many churches in the U.S. and Canada.

In 1980 the KC yearbook, Cedar Trails, was dedicated to Anderson, the students expressing appreciation for the inspiration that his commitment to excellence, understanding nature, exemplary life, and singing had provided during his first four years at the school. The dedication closed with a quotation from Alexander Pope, "Music resembles Poetry; in each are nameless graces which no methods teach, and which a master hand alone can reach."

In 1983 Anderson and the KC Symphonic Choir joined forces with the Canadian Union College, now Canadian University College, Singers and its director, Wendolin Pazitka-Munroe to present programs during youth rallies in Kelowna, British Columbia, and Calgary, Alberta. That spring when Anderson conducted the KC Symphonic Choir in the Kiwanis Music Festival in Kingsway, it received two first-place awards. On that occasion Anderson received the Lieutenant Governor's Award, the highest recognition for vocal expertise.

He toured frequently with his groups and joined with other choirs in the area in working with the Oshawa Symphony. A highlight of these collaborations occurred in 1986, his final year at KC, when the Symphonic Choir joined with the choir at Crawford Academy and other choirs in the area to present Handel's Messiah. Following the presentation in Oshawa, the choirs from the two schools presented three more joint performances in Ontario and Quebec, with Anderson conducting and singing the tenor solos and Sharon Foreman, CA director, sharing in the conducting and singing the contralto solos.

In 1983 a daughter, Cara Rose, was born and his son Michael was singing in the Symphonic Choir under his father and duets with him on tours and for special occasions. When the Andersons left KC in 1986, Michael entered AU to pursue a major in architecture.

Near the end of his last year at KC, where he had also been serving as a recruiter for the school, he was invited by H. Lloyd Leno, music department chair at Antillean Union College, now Antillean Adventist University, in Puerto Rico, to join him in building the music program. For the next four years he gave voice lessons, directed two choirs, and taught music classes. He enjoyed the work, and his efforts strengthened the choral program as he and his choirs participated in high profile music activities and festivals. He later recalled,

We were able to do some very rewarding things. I had the choirs join with Coro Symphonica de Puerto Rico, a fine choral group conducted by James Rawie. Combined we had a group of ninety to one hundred singers and we did quite a few choral masterpieces, including Gounod's Mass, the Brahms' Requiem, Handel's Messiah, and others. On one occasion we sang in Bellas Artes of San Juan as part of a program given by tenor Placido Domingo. I didnít conduct in those joint appearances but sang some of the tenor solos and usually sang with the tenors in the presentation.

Anderson toured with the Antillian choir, Coro-Pro Musica, in the U.S. and Canada on two separate occasions, using New York as a starting point on the first trip for a little over a weeklong excursion on the East Coast and into Ontario and Quebec, Canada. A second tour of the same length included concerts and activities in Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Canada. During this trip the choir performed at the 1990 General Conference Session in Indianapolis. He would later comment about his years at AC,

One of the exciting aspects about touring in Puerto Rico itself was the honor of the conductor driving the bus. Just a reminder of who is the missionary? It was during our stay there that our second son, Matthew, was born in 1987.

In 1990 Anderson was hired by Georgia-Cumberland Academy to recruit students. After the first year, he also acted as financial aid officer, a natural tie-in to successful recruitment. He continued at GCA for the next twelve years and, in the final three years before his retirement in 2006, served as Industrial Development Director, overseeing student labor at the school. His wife, who has worked since 1992 in the education department in the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, now serves as administrative assistant to the vice-president for education.

During his time at GCA, Anderson also continued to sing as a soloist and on occasion with his daughter Cara, a singer and flutist, and to give private voice lessons. He also played euphonium or tuba in the academy band as needed and, starting in his second year, directed the Calhoun Civic Chorus, a position he held for seven years. He led the group in two performances of the Messiah with orchestra and in a number of other choral masterworks. Both the choir and Anderson were honored several times for their contributions to life in the community.

Now retired, Anderson sings when requested and often attends concerts at nearby Southern Adventist University, where he enjoys choral concerts conducted by one of his Canadian voice students from his first year at KC, Gennevieve Brown-Kibble. He recently reflected on his career, the musical opportunities his children have had, and the pleasure that created for him:

One of the greatest blessings of working in our Adventist schools is the education and musical development of oneís own children. Michael studied violin and voice and sang under his dadís baton in Canada. Cara studied flute, played in the band conducted by Charles Zacharias, and sang in choirs conducted by Candace Myers-Nesmith. Matthew studied clarinet and played in the GCA Band for six years, grades 7-12. He was first chair clarinet and received the John Phillip Sousa award. And all the while I was close by playing the tuba. Such fun!



Sources: Interview with and emails from Carl Anderson, February 2011; Printed Program Notes from 1978 tour taken by Leslie W. Mackett and Carl William Anderson; Canadian Union College Messenger, 1 January 1977, 16; 5 May 1983, 8, July 1985, 21; February and May 1986; Adventist Review, 16 June 1983, 22; 1980 KC yearbook, Cedar Trails.