Garland C. Peterson

1927 - 2014

Garland Peterson, a singer and clarinetist, taught music in the Seventh-day Adventist school system for over twenty years, at five academies and two SDA colleges.

Peterson was born and raised in Canton, New York. His first music study began when he was attending high school in Canton and the music teacher lent him a clarinet. At the end of his second year in high school, he transferred to South Lancaster Academy in Massachusetts, where he graduated a year later, in 1944.

Peterson enrolled at Southern Junior College, now Southern Adventist University, as a music major with voice as his performance area, since there wasn't a functional instrumental program at that time. Two years after he enrolled, the college became Southern Missionary College and started offering four-year degrees.

In his fourth year, 1948-1949, while still a student, he directed a band at the college for a year. Also in 1948, he met and dated Betty Lou Hardy, whom he married in 1949. Garland graduated the following year, the first person to receive a four-year music degree at SMC.

He was hired to teach music at Auburn Academy in Washington state, where he directed both the band and choir for four years. Following an interim year at Pacific Union College, he moved to Florida, where he taught for one year at Forest Lake Academy and then at four Catholic schools in Jacksonville for the next four years.

In 1960 he returned to teach at Forest Lake Academy for a year and then accepted a position at Mount Vernon Academy in Ohio, where he taught for the next seven years. He completed an M.S. in music education at The State University of New York at Potsdam a year after going to MVA.

In 1968 Peterson accepted a position at Atlantic Union College, to direct the band at nearby South Lancaster Academy and teach music education classes in the college program. In 1971 he took a leave of absence for a year to help his parents.

The following year he accepted a position at Chisholm Trail Academy, near the campus of Southwestern College, now Southwestern Adventist University, where he directed the academy instrumental and band program from 1972 to 1976 and from 1972 to 1975 also directed the college band. He taught in the public school in Venus, Texas, from 1976 to 1979, where he started a band program.

In 1979 he moved to Orlando, Florida, where he directed a church choir at a Presbyterian Church for seven years and a Methodist Church for ten years. Beginning in 2004, he established a business, Granite Cabinets, Inc., which he owned and operated until his death in 2014 at age 86.


Source: Interview, 2008; Obituary, Orlando Sentinel, July 4-6, 2014.