David R. Bell
David Bell, a gifted bass singer and accomplished cellist and percussionist, is an associate professor at Pacific Union College, where he teaches business and engineering classes. He is best known for his musical contribution to the Heritage Singers, a group he has sung with for over thirty years.
David was raised in a musical family. His father and mother, Charles and Margaret (Peggy) Reynolds Bell, were both accomplished musicians who provided opportunities for him to pursue his interests in music from his earliest years. He was active in music while attending Walla Walla Valley Academy, near Walla Walla College, now University, playing in school ensembles at both the academy and college and also in the local symphony. He joined the WWC Messengers Quartet in 1980, while still a senior in academy, and traveled extensively throughout the Northwest on promotional trips for the college.
This exposure led to an invitation for him to join the Heritage Singers, a pioneering self-supporting Seventh-day Adventist gospel music ensemble run by Max Mace, in the autumn of 1982, two weeks after he had started his sophomore year at WWC. He dropped his classes and for the next two years traveled with the group, keeping the rigorous year-round schedule it had at that time.
Bell returned to WWC in 1984, where he completed a degree in electrical engineering three years later. He continued his studies at Cal State in Sacramento, earning a master's degree in Management Information Systems at CSUS in 1999. Throughout those years he also continued to sing with the Heritage Singers when possible and continues to do so today while pursuing a Ph.D. and teaching full-time at Pacific Union College.
This dual commitment is possible with the reduced schedule the HS now keeps, with weekend trips and more extended national and international trips occurring in the summer. Even so, there are times when he might fly to London on a Friday afternoon, perform, and then return in time for classes on Monday.
With his range and resonant bass voice, he is a key person in the ensemble's overall sound and a vital part of its programs with his solos. While his singing with the HS has enabled him to travel throughout the U.S. and in numerous countries worldwide, he mostly enjoys the relationships that are built through a common love of gospel music.
In a recent article about him he observed, "One of my real joys in life is to sing. Music can reach people in ways preaching can't." He particularly enjoys the contact with those who respond to the invitations to come forward at the end of their concerts (a tradition at HS concerts). "People come forward with all sorts of burdens on their hearts - individually, we pray with them. Making those connections is the most special part to me."
Sources: Some of the biographical detail about Bell and the quotes by him are from an article by Lainey S. Cronk, "Angwin, London, Bucharest, and So On," Pacific Union College Progress, March 2009; biography at the Heritage Singers website; my attendance at a concert in College Place, Washington, June 2009; personal knowledge.