Terry Lee Koch
Terry Koch was the Music Specialist at Rogers Adventist School in College Place, Washington, from 1986 to 2013, when he retired. In addition to his teaching at RAS, for 27 years he was an adjunct instructor at Walla Walla College, now University, where he taught elementary music education classes and voice. He also taught voice at Whitman College in nearby Walla Walla.
Koch was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four sons who sang together as a quartet. His paternal grandfather, Clarence Koch, was a popular music band director and composer. His maternal grandfather was a bass who was a singing leader in the Lutheran Church.
With music as a focal point in the Koch home, it was only natural that Terry had an early start with music lessons on the piano, beginning at age six with a Miss Kleckner. When the family moved to Massachusetts when he was eleven, he began piano study with Margery Davis Hemenway, an inspiring experience he thoroughly enjoyed. He continued with her until he left home to attend college.
Koch attended public school, graduating in 1964. He spent that summer working on campus at Atlantic Union College where he would register that autumn as a student. He later talked about that time and the uncertainty he had about what major he would pursue:
My Dad came up to help me register. When I told him about my uncertainty, he said to me, "Terry, what interests you most in your life?" I thought for a while and then said "I guess music." He said, "I think you\\'ve answered your question." When we walked into the gym on registration day, seated at the first registration table inside the door was Dr. Sterling Gernet, a pianist from the music department.
Although I was a piano major during my first year, I switched to voice at the beginning of the next year. Norman J. Roy became my primary voice teacher and an important person in my life in so many ways. He was the one who encouraged me to go into elementary school music teaching. He became a cherished friend and mentor.
Koch completed a B.S. degree in music education at Atlantic Union College and an M.Mus. at Andrews University. He studied voice under Norman Roy at AUC, Rudolf Strukoff at AU, and Jane Gartner in Vienna, Austria. He met Teresa (Terri) Hansen, a music graduate of Walla Walla University, while both were pursuing graduate music degrees through an Andrews University summer quarter in Vienna. They married and have since collaborated in teaching music wherever they have been. They have two sons, Brenden and Lorin, who share in their love of and participation in music wherever they have been.
Both Terry and Terri were active charter members in the International Adventist Musicians Association. He served as chair of the Elementary subdivision until it ended in 1996, and Terri served as secretary-treasurer for IAMA over 20 years until it ended in 2019.
Prior to his position at Rogers Adventist School, Koch taught music on the elementary and junior academy level in Massachusetts, Maryland, Hawaii, and western Washington state. He has also taught band and handbells on the academy level. A Nationally Registered Music Educator with the Music Educator\'s National Conference (1991), he received the Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award in 1990 and has been listed in several editions of Who\'s Who Among America\'s Teachers.
Although now retired from the following positions, He served for 14 years as choir director, the Grace Notes Handbell Choir, and the orchestra of the College Place, WA, Village Seventh-day Adventist Church. He currently rings with the Pioneer Ringers handbell ensemble at the Walla Walla Pioneer Methodist Church, where Terri is director of music, organist, and choral accompanist. Until her retirement from teaching, she had a private piano studio at Rogers Adventist School and in her home, and is now music director and organist at the College Place Village SDA Church.
After "retirement in 2013," Terry continued his education and completed a Doctor of Sacred Music in 2022 at the Graduate Theological Seminary in Sarasota, Florida. His final paper was titled "Love - the Connector of Fellowship" and his final project was the creation of an original sacred service for choir and orchestra based on and adapted from the Moravian Lovefeasts of the 18th and 19th centuries, using music written by older Moravian composers as well as some who had lived and worked more recently in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Arranged and directed by Terry, his original Lovefeast was presented in the College Place Seventh-day Church on January 30, 2022. Soloists included two sons, Brenden and Lorin, and daughter-in-law, Katrina; organists Terri Koch and the late Gary Peter; choral and instrumental ensembles comprised of musical friends from Walla Walla and College Place communities; the congregation; and lectors from among the clergy of the various churches where Terry has served as choir director as well as his doctoral degree advisor, Dr. Paul Kirbas of the Graduate Theological Foundation.
In an interview with Karen Ekkens, Editor, of "Village Voice" (newsletter for the Village SDA Church), prior to the presenting of his final project, Terry provided the following personal information about his life and insights about completing a degree at this point in his life:
Part of the reason I am undertaking this large academic pursuit in my mid-70s is that my father, who was unable to complete his education until his mid-80s often encouraged my three younger brothers and myself to shoot for the stars and gain as much education as possible.
It was my dad\'s desire for me to achieve a doctorate, and the inheritance I received at his recent passing provided the needed finances. My themes of thanksgiving and praise are to Dad\'s encouragement and especially to God for the many blessings I have experienced through this educational journey.
A tenor, Koch was a member of the select choir, the Aeolians, at AUC and, in subsequent years, was a member of numerous choirs and a soloist in presentations of the Lord Nelson Mass, Messiah, and the St. Matthew Passion. He has also played roles in productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Amahl and the Night Visitors, The King and I, and My Fair Lady.
While living in Hawaii, he directed and produced, with a cast comprised entirely of junior high and elementary students, a full-stage version of the Sound of Music that earned him commendations from the Lieutenant Governor of the state and from the Mayor of Vienna, Austria.
Koch\'s handbell and treble choirs have been showcased in several high profile venues, including the 1997 American Guild of Handbell Ringers National Convention in Spokane, Washington, and the 1998 festivities honoring the 150th anniversary of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. Additionally, his choirs have been featured in several performances by the Walla Walla Symphony Orchestra, beginning in 1989 with the national premiere of John Verrall\'s The Legend of Chief Joseph for symphony orchestra and adult and children\'s choirs.
Two more subsequent appearances with the WWSO included premieres of two of American composer Gwyneth Walker\'s works, both commissioned by the orchestra. In 2007 his treble choir, the Singing Scholars, was featured in a performance of Voices in Song and, in 2010, Blessings from the Children.
The 2010 work, inspired by the quality of the 2007 performance by Koch\'s group, is dedicated "to the Singing Scholars of Rogers Adventist School, Walla Walla, Washington - Terry Koch, Music Director." The dedication was motivated by the admiration of the composer for the work of the ensemble under Koch\'s direction, the respect she has for him as a musician, and the delight she had experienced in working with him during the composing of both this and the earlier 2007 work.
An active participant in community choral groups and church music programs, Koch has both sung in and directed choirs wherever he has resided. As well as singing in the Mastersingers of Walla Walla, directing the choir and Grace Notes Handbell ensemble at the Village SDA church, and singing with the Village Voices Men\'s Quartet, he was co-choral director at the Walla Walla First Congregational Church and Assistant Director with the Walla Walla Choral Society.
Sources: Interview and conversations with Terry Koch, 2002; email update, November, 2012; Curriculum Vitae, October, 1999; Faculty Record Sheet, Walla Walla College (University) Department of Music, October 30, 1999; Dan Shultz, “On Morning Wings,” Winter/Spring 2011, IAMA Notes,8a,8b; Andrews University Focus, Spring 2202, 27; Karen Ekkens, Interview, Village Voice, January,2022. 9-12; Printed Program: “A Moravian Lovefeast, featuring an Ode of Thanksgiving,” created and conducted by Terry L. Koch; An Exit Project for the degree Doctor of Sacred Music, Village Seventh-day Adventist Church, College Place, Washington, January 30, 2022. He contributed several articles for IAMA\'s publications.