William James McGee
James McGee, professor of theory and piano at Pacific Union College, retired in 2001 with the rank of Professor Emeritus of Music. Although born in Montana, he grew up in Canada, where he studied piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music at Toronto program and achieved the Associateship in Piano Performance while still in high school.
He finished his high school education at Canadian Union College in 1957 and completed a B.A. degree at Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, and was listed in 1961. While at both schools, he taught piano and, in the year following graduation, taught organ and theory on an interim basis at EMC while Warren Becker was on a study leave at Eastman School of Music.
After completing a masterís degree at Indiana University in 1964, where he was elected a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, McGee began teaching at Southern Missionary College, now Southern Adventist University. He completed a Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in 1982 while teaching at PUC, having joined the faculty there in 1974.
An active composer for many years, McGee has written numerous works for voice and varied groups and instruments. These have been showcased in biannual concerts at PUC featuring his compositions. One particularly satisfying creative project for him was the writing of 100 Bible verse songs for use in Sabbath School classes his children attended in the 1970ís.
In addition to teaching piano and classes in music technology and advanced theory at PUC, McGee was also organist for the nearby Santa Rosa First Church of Christ Scientist for nine years. Though officially retired, he continued to teach in the classroom until his wife, Elaine, an elementary teacher, retired in 2003. McGee observed at the time of his retirement, "I will now hopefully enjoy being known as the composer who teaches, rather than as the teacher who composes." The McGees now reside in the Spokane, Washington, area.
Sources: Information provided by James McGee, 2005; 2003 Andrews University Alumni Directory, 295.