Carolyn Boyer McHan

1932 -

Carolyn McHan, a pianist and organist, is active as a studio teacher and church organist. She has been a member of the Eugene, Oregon, chapter of the Oregon Music Teachers Association for many years, serving as secretary, vice-president, and, on two occasions, president.

Carolyn was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. She started piano lessons at age six and continued study on both organ and piano into her college years. Her early piano teachers included Ruth Hurst Arcand and Lillian Pettibone; her organ teacher was Margaret Holden Rippey.

She took lessons on clarinet and played in the Portland Union Academy, now Portland Adventist Academy, band under the direction of H. Lloyd Leno and served as accompanist for many girls' singing groups organized by English teacher May Machlan Lay. She found working with both Leno and Lay particularly inspiring experiences.

Following graduation from academy in 1950, Carolyn enrolled as a music major at Walla Walla College, now University, where she studied piano with Thelma Johnson McCoy, Stanley Walker, and Sterling Gernet. She also studied organ for two years under Walker, accompanied the college A Cappella choir under the direction of Clarence Dortch, and played in the college band. She gave a recital in her freshman year, assisted by fellow music major Jim McHan, a singer and trumpet player. They married in 1952.

Following their marriage, they changed their majors, with Carolyn majoring in home economics and minoring in music and Jim pursuing pre-medicine as a biology major. Both continued their music activities in college and in subsequent years.

While a student at Loma Linda, Jim conducted the College of Medical Evangelists, now Loma Linda University School of Medicine, male chorus from 1954 to 1956, with Carolyn serving as accompanist. She also played as church organist at the Loma Linda Church during that time. When he established his medical practice in Springfield, Oregon, he conducted the Willamalane Chorale, with Carolyn again serving as accompanist. Starting in 1960, she became organist for the Springfield church, a position she still holds.

When their family was growing up, the McHans gave musical programs in churches and lyceum programs at academies. Beginning in 1991, Carolyn established a private studio and began teaching students again. Also, in the 1990s, they did three separate recording sessions at 3ABN.

All of the McHan children were involved in music while growing up and continue today as active musicians. Their son, Steve, a pastor in the Northern California Conference of SDA's, directs the Sonoma Valley Chorale, a community group that performs at Christmas and Easter. Daughter Kathy McMillan is a soprano soloist and a worship leader at the Calimesa, California, Adventist church, and daughter Nancy Wolfe is a harpist and pianist.


Sources: Information provided by Carolyn McHan, 2008; personal knowledge.