Nancy Lou Cross-Hall
Nancy Cross-Hall, a pianist and organist, is a versatile musician who also sang and played oboe and alto recorder. During her career as a music teacher, she has taught in two academies and periodically maintained a private studio. Even in retirement, she continues to teach part-time and play organ.
Nancy was born in Takoma Park, Maryland, the only child of Lucile Blakeney and Paul A. Cross. She started piano lessons at age five and was exposed to classical music in her childhood and teenage years by attending concerts with her mother and the family's musical friends.
She studied piano all through grade school and academy and in her senior year of academy began organ lessons with Robert Quade. During those formative years, Cross was inspired by the instruction she received one summer from Yvonne Caro Howard, who taught at Washington Missionary College, now Washington Adventist University, from 1948 to 1952.
Following graduation from Takoma Academy in 1953, she enrolled at WMC as a music major, having decided on music as a career during her senior year at TA. Cross studied with Neil Tilkens for two years at WMC and then transferred to Union College when he accepted a position there in 1955, to continue study with him. When she returned to WMC in 1956 for her senior year, she studied piano with Harold Pries.
After completing a B.Mus. in piano at WMC in 1957, she accepted a teaching position at Forest Lake Academy in Florida, where she taught until 1961. She then taught at Shenandoah Valley Academy in Virginia from 1961-1967. During her years at SVA, she did graduate study at Andrews University in the summers, studying organ with C. Warren Becker and piano with Hans-Jørgen Holman and Blythe Owen. She completed an M.A. in keyboard at AU in 1967.
Cross returned to teach at FLA in 1967 for six years and then moved to West Virginia, where she taught privately until 1977. In 1980, she returned to SVA, where she taught until her retirement in 2000. In 2005 she married Christopher Hall and since the 2007-2008 school year has been teaching piano part-time at SVA.
Throughout her career, Cross-Hall has been an active performer, giving recitals, participating as an organist and pianist in church services, singing in choirs, and playing recorder in the American Recorder Society in Florida. While teaching at FLA, she sang for several years in the Bach Festival Choir at Rollins College in nearby Winter Park. Additionally, she conducted grade school choirs and handbell ensembles at SVA.
Sources: Information provided by Nancy Lou Cross, 15 August 2010; IAMA biographies of Yvonne Caro Howard and Neil Tilkens, personal knowledge.