Gladys Manchester Walin
1894 - 1946
Gladys Walin, a mezzo soprano, began teaching music and French while still a student at Walla Walla College, now University. Born in Iowa,Gladys was the seventh of nine children of Walter Scott and Minnie M. Rufer Manchester. She married Leroy (Roy) Leslie Walin, an accountant, in the 1920s while at the college. They would later divorce.
Following graduation from WWC in 1921, she continued her study with George Tyler Taglieri, a nationally known voice instructor who lived in Boston. Although she had plans for ongoing study in Boston, she accepted an invitation in late summer of 1923 to be director of the WWC conservatory of music.
In addition to running the music program, Walin also taught 56 students, performed frequently on campus to enthusiastic responses, and founded and conducted a women's chorus of 23 singers named the Cecilian Club, the first music club to be formed at WWC. In 1927, she accepted a position at Washington Missionary College, now Washington Adventist University, to teach voice. While there, she continued her voice study, working with Frank La Forge, another well-known teacher of that era.
In 1937, she accepted an offer from Pacific Union College, where she taught voice and directed The Lyric Club, a woman's chorus of 25. She also briefly directed the prep school choir, before having to take a medical leave because of a continuing illness that led to her premature death at age 51.
From the beginning of her career, Walin was a woman of high ideals. While at WWC, she commented in the 1926 yearbook,
Music is used too much as an amusement, as an exhibition of skill, as a means of attracting attention, and too little as a real educational opportunity. Next to religion, music is one of the greatest civilizing powers. And in its relation to religion, music attains its highest meaning. This fact ought to be recognized more by us than it is . . . .
She also wrote two articles for the church’s primary publication, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald. The first, “God’s Great Purpose in Music,” was printed in July 1938 and the second, “Early Advent Hymns and Songbooks,” was published in July 1946, three months after her death in April.
Her idealism, and courage in the face of a devastating illness at the end of her life, made a lasting impression on her family and many friends, students, and colleagues.
Sources: Obituaries, North Pacific Union Gleaner, 28 May 1946, 6; Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 21 November 1946, 20; Pacific Union Recorder, 8 May 1946; Columbia Union Visitor, 30 May 1946, 6; 1920s Walla Walla College Mountain Ash (yearbook); Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, 7 July 1938, 6,7, and 4 July 1946, 9-11; Lynch family tree, ancestory.com ; 1940 U.S. Federal Census (divorce).