Stephen John Hall
Steve Hall, a French horn player and singer, taught music for nearly thirty years at three academies and two colleges in the Seventh-day Adventist school system. During that time he gained a reputation as an unusually effective builder of band programs and a skilled fundraiser.
Steve was born in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest of four children of Charles John and Mary Quedens Hall. From their earliest years the children were surrounded by music, their father being a music teacher. Steve became proficient on the French horn and was active as a singer, participating in both areas during his high school years at Cedar Lake Academy, now Great Lakes Adventist Academy, in Michigan, where his father was teaching.
He started singing in male quartets while in academy, a musical experience he particularly enjoyed, and continued to do so after he graduated from CLA and enrolled as a music major at Andrews University in 1968. He was a member of the Watchmen Quartet at the university, a highly regarded and popular group that toured nationally and released a record, My Eternal King, through Chapel Records.
Steve studied voice with James Hanson and Rudolf Strukoff and was featured as a baritone soloist in a presentation of the Messiah at AU in February 1972. He did his student teaching at CLA during the 1972-1973 school year and then was asked to direct the band for the remainder of the year when the director left.
While at AU, he had met Gail Ann Warman, also a singer and music major, and they married in June 1973. After the Halls graduated at the end of the summer session with degrees in music education, they became music teachers at CLA, where they taught for seven years. In 1975, he started an annual band workshop program in late summer that helped prepare band members for the approaching school year, an activity that continued for the next five years.
In 1980, he was instrumental in gaining sponsorship from the Michigan Conference to expand the band workshop into a conference-wide band camp and then served as its first director just before leaving for California for a new position. The band camp later expanded to include choir and handbells. During his time at CLA he also started graduate study at Central Michigan University, studying French horn with Jack Saunders.
After Steve completed an M.Mus. at AU with French horn as his performance area in the summer of 1980, the Halls moved to California where he began teaching that fall in the preparatory school at Pacific Union College and assisting in the college program, serving as band director and teaching brass lessons and secondary music methods. Gail assisted as an adjunct voice teacher at the college and was also hired in the following year to teach at the preparatory school. At the end of their first year, he also started and conducted a community summer band in nearby St. Helena, where he presented a four-concerts-in-the-park series.
In 1982 they accepted music positions at Campion Academy in Colorado, where they taught for four years. During that time Steve played in the Loveland Municipal Band and also guest conducted in its summer concert series. Four years later they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where Steve was hired to direct the band at Union College and Gail became the office manager and academic advisor for the college education department.
His work with the band and brass ensembles at UC during a record fourteen-year tenure in band leadership there was particularly noteworthy. When he arrived at the college, he was faced with the challenge of restoring a program that had been canceled the year before for lack of student interest. From those beginnings he built a college band program that in the 1997-98 school year included 110 members, the largest in the history of the college.
Aside from the usual regional tours, he took his band and brass groups on national and international trips to Canada, South America, Asia, and Russia. His Brass Union quintet was particularly active and recorded two CDís. He also taught classes in conducting, theory, music history, and music education during his time at UC.
While at UC, Gail, who had been teaching keyboard and voice wherever they had been, continued to be active in music, serving as the minister of music at the College View Church, working as a soloist for Melvin West at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, and performing as a free-lance vocalist in the area. She also pursued graduate-work in music at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
In 2000 the Halls accepted positions at Spring Valley Academy in Centerville, Ohio, Steve as Director of Development and Gail as director of the vocal choral program. He also provided brass groups for the Kettering church for three of those years. They would live in Ohio for over a decade before moving to San Diego, California, in 2011, where they now reside.
The Halls have two daughters, Jennifer and Amanda. Amanda, who is an oboist and soprano, attended Union College and then transferred to La Sierra University, where she completed a bachelor's degree in music in 2006. She completed a master's degree in voice performance at the University of Southern California in 2008 and then received a full scholarship for study in the opera program at Yale University, where she completed a master's degree in opera performance in 2010. She is now pursuing a successful career in opera.
Sources: information provided by Stephen and Gail Hall in 2000 and May 2012; Lake Union Herald, 10 November 1970, 16; 14 September 1971, 16; 22 February 1972, 16; 28 November 1972, 8; 16 October 1973, 10; 14 August 1979, 12; Mid-America Outlook, September 1986, 13; Ohio Marriage License, Ancestory.Com; Online biography for Amanda Hall; Personal Knowledge.