Lois Coleman Hall

1923 -

Lois Coleman Hall, now living in Portland, Oregon, retired from teaching in 1988. Even in retirement, she has continued to accompany in her church and to serve as organist for the Parkrose United Church, a position she has held continuously, except for five years, since 1967. She plans to retire fully in June 2005.

Hall was born in Forest Grove, Oregon. Both she and her brother, Paul, showed early promise and began study in music at an early age. She was taught to read music at age four, but her music education was interrupted by the Great Depression. Even so, by age 10, she joined the McMinnville, Oregon, community band, playing in the mellophone section. Hall taught herself saxophone and started composing music when she was 12. By age 16, she was writing and arranging for symphonic band and orchestra.

In her senior year of high school, she was chosen to play an oboe donated by the Rotary Club, where she had often entertained its members by demonstrating perfect pitch and improvising on the saxophone and piano. She was largely self-taught, except for lessons given to her in her junior and senior years by an elderly music teacher in her 70's, who had studied at Northwestern University and accompanied Anton Dvorak during his stay in America. The teacher refused to accept payment for her two-hour sessions in piano technique, theory, music history and appreciation.

Hall entered Walla Walla College at age 17 as a piano major. She studied with Sterling Gernet for the next three years and gave a junior recital at age 20. During those three years, she also played oboe in the college band and orchestra and in the Walla Walla Symphony. The symphony gave her six free lessons with Herbert Tanhauser, a Jewish refugee from Germany, who was playing first oboe and English horn.

When she had to drop out of school for financial reasons, she spent a year in evangelism in Montana, then taught music for a year at Yakima Valley Academy and then piano at Laurelwood Academy. While there, she continued her music study at Pacific University. Although she returned to WWC in 1946, hoping to finish, her mother became terminally ill and Hall had to drop out in the spring quarter.

She taught at Laurelwood Academy again in 1947-48 and studied piano with Lillian Pettibone, who had taught Stanley Walker years earlier. She married Donald Hall in August 1948 and returned to WWC for her senior year. She studied with Walker during that year and was a prize winner in the Spokane Music Festival Competition the following spring.

She and her husbandThey moved to Berkeley, California, following graduation, where she was organist for the Quiet Hour. The QH had a daily radio broadcast in Oakland and presented a half-hour television program at 7:00 pm Saturday evenings on an NBC network station which charged them $200 for each show. The first SDA television program, produced by LaVerne Tucker, it was well-received and self-supporting. When the General Conference started Faith for Today, they took the QH off the air, feeling the denomination could not afford two TV broadcasts.

In 1950, Hall taught piano and organ at Upper Columbia Academy. When her first child was born in 1952, the family moved to Los Angeles, where she taught privately for ten years. Even with the birth of two more children, she continued to work as a church organist and in TV evangelism as her schedule permitted.

She and her family returned to UCA in 1962, staying for two years. Although they returned to WWC so that her husband could complete his degree, his health deteriorated and they moved to Portland in 1965, where there was an opening in music at Portland Adventist Elementary School. Hall taught piano and organ there until her retirement 23 years later. During that time she completed a M.Mus.Ed. degree with an emphasis in Theory and Composition at Lewis and Clark College In 1974.

In 1989 she mastered music notation by computer and, for the next ten years, arranged music for Noelene Johnsson of the North American Division's children’s ministries. Hall was able to publish a book of children’s songs and choruses for easy piano with instrument parts in 1994. Ann Erlandson, a 1950 WWC graduate, prepared a water-color cover and ink drawing illustratations.

During retirement, Hall has done a number of frequently performed arrangements for brass groups and SATB and SSA choir. She enjoys writing and spent three years exploring the subject of "What God Is Like." She is presently writing a commentary on the Bible for readers with little background in religion and has written an autobiography of her life through her high school years, as a gift to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.


Sources; Information provided by Lois Coleman Hall, 2002 and 2005; Personal Knowledge. See biographies for Paul Coleman, Ronald Coleman, and Donald Coleman for more information about the Coleman family.