Charles V. Bell

 1934 -

Charles Bell, now retired and residing in Calistoga, California, is an accomplished performer on oboe, English horn, and clarinet. Although by training and education an electrical engineer with a master's degree and doctorate in that area from Stanford University, he has always been active as a woodwind performer.

Bell was born in Starkville, Mississippi. His interest in music began in 7th grade when he was introduced to the clarinet. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in engineering at Mississippi State University, he was solo clarinetist with the MSU band.

In 1954 he married Margaret (Peggy) Reynolds, an accomplished flutist and recent graduate in secretarial science from Pacific Union College. In subsequent years they performed duets on numerous occasions.

At Walla Walla College, now University, from 1960-1962 and 1972-1984, first as teacher and eventually as dean of the school of engineering, his interest in music continued as he played in its music ensembles. It was during this time that Bell began playing the oboe. He subsequently studied with Donald Muggeridge of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Roger Garside. He was principal oboist with the Walla Walla Symphony from 1972-1984 and English horn soloist with the orchestra.

In 1984 he accepted the position of Vice-President for Academic Administration at Pacific Union College, a position he held until his retirement. His interest in the English horn increased when he participated during those years in a master class with Thomas Stacey of the New York Philharmonic. As at WWC, the Bells continued to play as soloists and in duets until her death in 2005. He continues to be active as a member in PUC ensembles and other area ensembles and as a soloist on and teacher of oboe and English horn.


Sources: Conversation with Charles Bell, 2009; Website biography, Pacific Union College Paulin Center for the Performing Arts (2012); Vita on file in the music department at Walla Walla University; Walla Walla Symphony Archives; personal knowledge.