Harlan C. Bates

1927 - 2013

Harlan Bates, French horn player, music educator, and school administrator, was active in music from his earliest years. In addition to teaching music and directing music clinics for over three decades, he was active also as a player in and soloist with music ensembles for fifty years.

Harlan was born in Provo, Utah, the younger of two sons of Haskell and Alice Bates. When he was in third grade, the family moved downstate to Cedar City, where he started French horn in fourth grade. Two years later he began playing in the junior high school band and orchestra and then continued to participate in school groups as the family returned to Provo and he later attended Pacific Union College Preparatory School in Angwin, California, where he played in the college band and orchestra.

Harlan again played in both groups while he spent a year completing twelfth grade and starting his first year of college studies at La Sierra College, now University. After that year, he continued to play in both ensembles at LSC and also in the San Bernardino Symphony Orchestra while working fulltime in the College Print Shop.

From 1950 until 1953 Bates worked at the University of Utah Press, at which time he was drafted into the Army and served for two years in the Medical Corps. During this time he played first horn in the 323rd Army Band in San Antonio, Texas.

Following his service, he returned to Utah, where he played in the Salt Lake Community Symphony Orchestra while taking lessons from Don Peterson, principal chair of the horn section in the Utah Symphony Orchestra. In 1959 Bates and his family moved to Hawaii, where he played for a season with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra.

In 1963 he taught the band programs at Hawaiian Mission Academy, Hawaiian Mission Elementary School, and Kailua Mission Elementary School while also teaching classroom music in the latter school. The following year, the family moved to College Place, Washington, where Bates taught all aspects of the music program at nearby Milton Stateline Elementary School in Oregon.

He also enrolled at Walla Walla College, now University, as a music major that year and completed a B.Mus. in horn performance with a minor in music education eleven years later, in 1975. During that time he played in both the college band and orchestra at differing times.

In 1966 Bates became a member of the Walla Walla Symphony in which he would play for the next twenty years, eventually serving as principal chair of the horn section. During that time he was a member of the WWS woodwind quintet and chamber orchestra, playing as a soloist with the latter on two occasions.

Seven years after he started teaching at MSS, he was asked to serve as principal of the school, in addition to continuing to teach music. He would fill that dual role until his retirement 21 years later, in 1992. After retiring, Bates led several band clinics. He and his wife, Coral Gordon Provonsha, who resided in Walla Walla, Washington, were both  active in music activities at the Milton-Freewater, Oregon, Adventist church.


Source: Information provided by Harlan C. Bates, September 2011, personal knowledge.