David Lee Grams

1945 -

David Grams, a versatile musician, has taught both music and Bible in a number of schools in the Seventh-day Adventist parochial educational system and its related self-supporting institutions.  Two of the present-day Adventist college band directors were students of his when he was teaching in the Northwest.

David was born in Spokane, Washington, and raised in both Washington state and Michigan, the older of two children of Adolph G. and W. Jean Grams. Music was a very important part of life in the home, his mother being a pianist and his father a guitarist and accordionist.

His parents became Seventh-day Adventists when he was six, and his father, who had been farming south of Spokane, was hired to be farm manager at Upper Columbia Academy, located near Spokane in February 1954.  Although David had started piano lessons at an early age, it wasn’t until he was in the grade school associated with the academy and started taking trombone lessons from Dan Latsha, who had just arrived at UCA as band director, that he became seriously interested in music. The family left in the summer of 1957, when his father decided to go to Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, in Michigan to get a college degree.

During this time David continued his trombone lessons at the grade school and academy associated with the college. His father completed four years at EMC and then returned to the Northwest to teach at Columbia Academy, now Columbia Adventist Academy.  David graduated from CA in 1963 and briefly attended Walla Walla College, now University. In February 1965 he began teaching music at a series of schools in the Northwest, during that time completing the equivalent of a full year of college.

In 1968 he was hired to teach at the Preparatory School at Pacific Union College, where his father was then serving as associate dean of men. He completed a B.Mus. at PUC in 1971 and then returned to the Northwest to teach music at Laurelwood Academy for two years and Columbia Academy for two years.

In 1975 he accepted a music position at San Pasqual Academy and then at San Diego Academy, teaching at each school for three years. When he left SPA, he intended to teach only Bible classes, but by the time he left SDA he was also teaching music.  During this time Grams completed an M.Mus. at PUC in 1980.

In 1981 he worked for a year at Weimar, a self-supporting school, and then for a year at Indiana Academy before going to Virginia to help start a new self-supporting college, Hartland Institute.  After two years he left to teach at Adelphian Academy in Michigan for a year and then returned to Hartland for two more years.

From then until he retired in 2008, Grams served as a pastor in the Michigan Conference at two different times and in the Ohio and Minnesota Conferences. He also twice returned (1991 and 2003) as a teacher at Weimar, the first of those times to enable his children to continue their college education. During the first return he served in the academy and later at the college in the outreach, music and religion departments as well as simultaneously pastoring for the Northern California Conference. In his retirement he has been extensively involved in Minnesota Adventist Prison Ministries (MAPM) and has also done substitute teaching in public school music programs.

While his primary instruments are trombone and euphonium, Grams is also a capable percussionist and able to play flute, clarinet, and saxophone. He presently resides in Appleton, Minnesota, with his wife, Cheryl Lund.

They have three children, a son, Kevin and twins Lynn and Lori. All of them have been involved in music throughout their school years.


Sources: Interview, 2014; 2007 resume