Sten Bolander, an engineer by training, is also an organist, pianist, clarinetist, and singer. Participation in church music has been an important part of his life from his earliest years.
Sten was born in Glendale and raised in Santa Ana, California, one of two children of Charles and Victoria Henner Bolander. Music was an important part of life in their home that included singing in family worship, both parents singing in the church choir, and Sten and his sister, Kirstin, starting piano lessons at age five.
He was musically active as a child and teenager, playing as a soloist and as an accompanist for choirs and music ensembles. While in elementary school he started clarinet lessons and continued study on the piano, taking lessons from Valeta Rosenthal. He later talked about his study with her, an experience he found particularly inspiring:
We drove one hour each way while I was in grade school to take piano lessons at her home in Temple City. Each week I saw an organ located right next to the piano, which she offered to teach me when my feet could reach the pedals. We moved to Northern California, however, before I had this opportunity.
In his high school years, he studied with Sue Shannon who was an active member of the California Music Teachers Association, and Sten was adjudicated regularly at annual conferences, where he won several awards. He graduated from Mountain View Academy in 1983.
In the interim between graduating from MVA and enrolling at Pacific Union College, he studied organ with Keith Thompson. Although registered as an engineering major at PUC, Sten also wanted to continue music and studied organ under Del Case. At the end of his freshman year, he spent a year as a student missionary in Sweden, where he took lessons on clavichord from Göran Blomberg at the University of Uppsala. During that year he taught piano, organ, trumpet, and euphonium and conducted the brass band and orchestra at Ekebyholmsskolan (Swedish Junior College).
Upon returning to the U.S., he enrolled at Walla Walla College, now University, where he graduated in 1990 with a B.S.E. in civil engineering and a music minor in organ performance, having studied under Kraig Scott. He gave organ recitals at both PUC and WWC and also in the St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Saratoga, California. Since then he has worked as a transportation engineer specializing in roadway design.
Since graduation Bolander has been active in church music, serving as an organist/pianist in Seventh-day Adventist churches in Denver, Colorado, and in Carmichael and Sunnyvale, California. He also served as chairman of the music, worship, and vesper committees for the SDA churches in Denver and Sunnyvale, sang second tenor in a male quartet in the Denver South SDA church, and was a member of the Carmichael SDA church's men's chorus. Additionally, he has played piano and organ in church services at Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist churches.
Bolander married Julie Rouse in 1994. They presently reside in Roseville, California.
Source: Information provided by Sten Bolander, September 2011 and February 2012.