Lyle Maynard Jewell

1924 - 2008

Lyle Jewell, noted singer and choir director, taught in four Seventh-day Adventist colleges between 1954 and 1974 and for several years in public schools. He also was a member of the Roger Wagner Chorale, a nationally noted professional choir, and founded the Bemidji Chorale, a highly praised ongoing choral group in Minnesota.

Lyle was born on a ranch near Broken Bow, Nebraska, on June 24, 1924, the youngest of four sons of Troy Reuben and Stella May Horn Jewell. While very young, his family moved to Weeping Water, Nebraska, where he grew up on a dairy farm. Following graduation form Shelton Academy, now Platte Valley Academy, in 1943, and service in the army, where he served as an x-ray technician, Jewell attended Union College where he completed a B.S. in music education in 1951.

While at SA, he was class president all four years and graduated as valedictorian. At UC he was president of the choir and served as its student conductor during all four years and worked in the music department as an assistant in voice and choir. Jewell completed an M.Mus. in voice and music education at Boston University in 1957 and took additional graduate study at BU, the University of Nebraska, and Loma Linda University.

Upon graduation from UC, he joined the Faith for Today television program where he sang as a soloist and in the quartet associated with the program. Jewell subsequently directed choirs and taught voice at Atlantic Union College (1954-57), UC (1962-65), Pacific Union College (1965-67), and Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, (1970-74). He also taught in the public school system in New York State from 1957-1962.

From 1967 -1970, he was a soloist with, and manager of the Roger Wagner Chorale, an internationally noted professional choir at that time. From 1974 to 1987, he served as an adjunct professor of music in voice and choir at Bemidji State University and taught high school music in the area from 1975 to 1987.

An accomplished singer, Jewell was winner of the Lincoln Symphony Auditions while a student at UC. He was chosen through audition to sing the solo bass role in a performance of Bach's Magnificat, given by the New England Conservatory for an MENC National Convention in Washington, D.C. He also was soloist in numerous performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Orff's Carmina Burana, the Brahms' Requiem, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Handel's Messiah, Mozart's Requiem, Bach's Mass in B Minor, and other major choral works. Additionally, he sang in the Paramount Studios movie production of Lerner and Lowe's Paint Your Wagon, and participated in recordings for Capitol and Angel recording companies while associated with the Roger Wagner Chorale.

Jewell's work as a choral conductor produced choirs that were featured at AGO, MENC, and ACDA conventions and performed major choral works with many orchestras. He conducted a number of festival choirs at every performance and age level. He was guest professor at Andrews University in the summer of 1965 and taught in the Loma Linda University sponsored European Music Institutes in Sweden and Denmark in the summers of 1971 and 1972. Jewell also worked with the choirs and voice students at Montemorelos University in Mexico on three separate occasions in the 1990's.

In 1979, he founded the Bemidji Chorale and was its conductor for many years. The chorale has been featured at ACDA and MENC state music conventions and has a yearly concert series. It continues to be a successful part of the music scene in Northern Minnesota. In 2006, his work as a church musician was honored when the Hammond-Jewell Music Center was dedicated at the Campus Hill Church in Loma Linda, California, during its centennial year festivities.

In December 1943, Jewell had married Dorothy Marsh, his academy sweetheart. He and his wife, a registered nurse, had four sons, one who died tragically when he was teaching at CUC, and eight grandchildren. The Jewels were living in Bemidji, Minnesota, when he died on September 28, 2008, at age 84.


Sources: Interview, 22 October 2007; Lyle Jewel vita and personal and professional summaries, 2007; letters, 9 September 2003 and 23 October 2007; Printed Program for the Hammond-Jewell Music Center Dedication Service, Campus Hill Church, Loma Linda, California, 3 June 2006; Jewell Family Tree, Life Story and facts,; 1930 U.S. Federal Census and Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014,; Obituaries in the Pacific Union Recorder, December 2008 and the Mid-America Outlook, December 2008; Personal Knowledge.