Thomas (Tian) Yau Siaw
Thomas Siaw, a singer, violinist, and painter, resides in Linden, Germany, where he is a medical doctor and director of traditional Chinese medicine at Bad Salzhausen, a health and wellness center. He has been musically active throughout his career as a practicing physician in California, Mexico, Switzerland, and Germany.
Siaw was born in Amoy, China, one of five children born to Timothy Y. and Keh Siaw. His father was secretary-treasurer of the Asian Division of the Seventh-day Adventist church, a position he held starting in the late 1930s. At the urging of church leadership, his father traveled to the U.S. in 1941 to attend Walla Walla College, now University, for the purpose of obtaining a business degree.
Following the U.S. entry into World War II in December of that year, the father was unable to return to the family until 1945. During the war years, since there were no male pastors in China, Siaw's mother pastored two churches. The family was able to survive on money paid by the conference augmented by money given by her husband to the church in the U.S., which was then funneled through the conference. Whenever her husband wrote to the family, he wrote mostly about his experience at WWC. The family came to believe that WWC was the only college in the U.S.
In 1949 the Siaw family moved to the U.S., where Thomas attended Portland Union Academy and a high school in Portland, Oregon, before graduating from Balboa High School in San Francisco, California, in 1953. After his father bought a violin for him during his high school years, he started study on the instrument.
He enrolled at Walla Walla College, where several in his family had attended, and completed a B.A. there in 1963. During his time at WWC, he served in the U.S. Army from 1960 to 1962 and was stationed in Germany, where he worked in the army hospitals. In November 1963, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
While at WWC, Siaw sang in the school's choral groups under the direction of both Clarence Dortch and Melvin Davis and played in the orchestra under John J. Hafner. He subsequently attended Andrews University, where he sang in the seminary choir under the direction of C. Warren Becker. From 1965 to 1967, he taught music and biology at the secondary level.
Siaw then attended the University Autonoma of Guadalajara Medical School, where he completed an M.D. in 1972 and a year later completed his residency in a hospital in Saskatoon, Canada. Since then he has worked in several areas of medicine. In 1994, when he moved to Germany, he served at the University of Giessen Hospital performing heart catherization and surgery.
Throughout his life Siaw has been a frequent soloist on a number of church-related occasions. Wherever he has resided, he has been an orchestral musician. Since residing in Germany, he has played in two orchestras and in church on Sabbath mornings.
Sources: emails (25 and 31 December 2008 and 3 January 2009) and letter with enclosures from Thomas Siaw; IAMA biographical information questionnaire completed by Siaw in 2008.