Phyllis Eileen Williams Vineyard

1921 - 2017 

Phyllis Vineyard, now retired and living in Riverside, California, taught music in the Orange County school system for over thirty years. A soprano who began singing while still a child, she has been active as a soloist and participant in choirs throughout her life.

A third generation Adventist whose paternal grandparents had attended Battle Creek College, Phyllis attended Cedar Lake Academy, where she studied piano with H. R. Davies and sang in the a cappella choir. Following her graduation in 1939, she studied voice for a year at Michigan State University with Fred Patton, a former Metropolitan Opera singer, who believed there were many right and wrong approaches to singing with none being a perfect fit for all; ultimately, he believed the technique used in singing was a personal matter, unique to each person.

At the end of that year, she enrolled at Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, where she began studies in music and religion and completed a diploma in Bible in 1944. That fall she became a Bible worker in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she also sang in evangelistic efforts. In 1947 she accepted a position at the White Memorial Hospital in California as their Bible Worker, primarily to teach the nurses how to present the Adventist message in a logical and sophisticated way.

In that year, on a return trip to Hinsdale to sing at a double wedding for her brothers, She met Clyde Vineyard. They married in 1948, and both enrolled at La Sierra College, now University, that fall, where she resumed her music study.

She studied theory with Harold Hannum, who one day in class went to the piano and played a dominant 13th chord, and remarked to the class, "This is a Phyllis chord. Isn\'t that beautiful?" He had heard her playing a hymn using chords she thought were better and was gently guiding her to an awareness of the power of simple straightforward harmony. It was an edifying experience that she would recall in later years with a laugh.

Vineyard studied voice with John T. Hamilton and sang in his choirs, an experience she thoroughly enjoyed. In later years, she would be a member of his choral groups when they traveled extensively in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and China. She admired him and appreciated his influence on her life.

Following graduation from LSC in 1950, the Vineyards traveled to Washington, D.C., where he continued his study at the church\'s seminary. They returned to California after he had completed a graduate degree there. He completed another master\'s degree and eventually a Ph.D. in history and political science at the University of Southern California.

During this time, in 1953, Phyllis accepted an invitation to teach music in the early grades in the Orange County school system. She taught music in Orange County schools until 1987, when she retired. She was living in Anaheim when she died on August 7, 2017, at age 95. 


Source: Information provided by Phyllis Vineyard, 2007; Orange County Register, August, August 27, 2017.