Marlene Hostetler Gilleroth

1935 -

Marlene Gilleroth has taught music for over fifty years, starting as student while attending college in the 1950s and continuing today as a freelance teacher in the Keene, Texas, area. A versatile musician who is primarily a woodwind specialist, she also plays a number of other band and string instruments, as well as organ.

Hostetler, a native of Ohio, graduated from Mount Vernon Academy in 1954. An accomplished clarinetist, she majored in music at Washington Missionary College, now Columbia Union College, where she completed a music education degree in 1959. She studied woodwinds under Minor Plumb until he left in 1957. Additionally, she studied with Harold Wright, clarinetist with the National Symphony Orchestra, for a year and oboe with Vernon Kirkpatrick, also a member of the NSO, for three years.

Hostetler married Bertil Gilleroth, a theology major, in 1957. They eventually went to Lebanon, where Marlene taught music at Middle East College in Beruit, from 1964 to 1970. While at MEC, she studied piano with a graduate of the Paris Conservatory for five years and organ with Melvin West for a year, when he was teaching at MEC during a one-year leave from Walla Walla College, now University. Marlene also played clarinet in the American University Orchestra for two years. She became enchanted with and proficient in working with music of the Middle East during her time there.

The Gilleroths traveled to Canada in 1970, living on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, for two years, where Marlene taught music at the junior academy, played oboe in the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra, and played tuba in a brass ensemble. They then moved to Andrews University, where Bertil pursued additional study at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary for three years and she taught music in three church schools in the region. While at AU, she was introduced to the Suzuki method of violin instruction.

The Gilleroths moved to Ohio at the end of his studies, where she taught music and he worked as a minister. At the time of his father's death, he returned to Sweden, his native country, and did not return. While living in Ohio, she took additional instruction in the Suzuki method, focusing primarily on violin and cello.

When the SDA education superintendent for the Ohio Conference relocated to Texas in 1982, he invited Marlene to teach at the church school in Keene. In 1988, she returned to Mount Vernon, Ohio, to care for her parents. In the next seven years, she taught music in the local church school.

During this time, Minor Plumb became ill and, before his death in 1985, gave her a number of instruments, feeling that she could use them in her work with the children. She has added to that collection and presently owns enough instruments to completely satisfy the needs for a band or orchestra. She also owns a set of Orff-Kodaly instruments, which she has used in her elementary teaching; a set of handbells; a complete family of recorders; folk string instruments; and a set of anglungs, an Indonesian folk instrument.

Gilleroth, who returned to Keene, Texas, in 1995, resumed string instruction, which she had continued in Texas prior to her return to Ohio. She also played in The Keene Camerta, a string ensemble directed by Mugur Doroftei. Although she initially played cello in the group, she now plays double bass.

Gilleroth teaches music in four area church schools and gives private lessons. She directs a string ensemble that frequently plays in area churches, providing service and special music in Sabbath school and the worship hour. She also continues to perform, playing bass clarinet in a clarinet ensemble and banjo and mandolin in an Hispanic guitar ensemble, and serving as organist in the Alvarado Methodist Church.


Source: Interviews and conversations with Dan Shultz, 2007.