William F. Beisel
1905 - 1987
William Beisel, a violinist, directed the instrumental program at Southern California Junior College, now La Sierra University, from 1928 to 1936. In the final concert of a week of chapel music programs in 1930, he talked about Felix Mendelssohn and then performed two movements from one of his concertos as well as a movement from a Henryk Wieniawski concerto, a performance that according to the school paper thrilled the audience.
William was born in Oklahoma, one of two children and the only son of Andrew W. and Dorothea (Dora) Beisel, immigrants from Russia. He attended Campion Academy in Colorado, where he taught violin while still a student and then returned to teach music in 1925 after attending Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
While teaching in Colorado, he studied violin with Howard Reynolds in Denver. Later, when at SCJC, he continued violin lessons with Joseph Zoellner, Sr., of the Zoellner Conservatory of Music in Los Angeles. At SCJC, he was known primarily for his violin performances and work with the orchestra, which performed often and rehearsed regularly three times a week.
When Beisel enlisted in the Army Air Corps in November 1942 during World War II, he listed his occupation as machinist, a trade he also apparently followed after the end of the war. The last record of him performing was during Music Week at La Sierra College in 1948, when he played viola in a group known as the Piano Quartet that also included Bruce Tomlinson, cellist; Alfred Walters, violinist; and Harold Hannum, pianist.
Beisel was living in Riverside, California, at the time of his death at age 81.
Sources: Central Union Outlook, 17 October 1922, 5; 4 August 25, 8; 22 May 1928, 5; 24 May 1927, 7; 24 April 1928, 2; The Educational Messenger, October 1924, 25; Southern California Junior College The College Criterion, 19 December1929, 2; 16 January 1930, 2; Pacific Union Recorder, 6 June 34, 6; 2 October 1935, 6; 17 May 1948, 2. Melvin S. Hill, A History of Music Education in Seventh-day Adventist Western Colleges, a doctoral dissertation, University of southern California, 1959, 201; U.S. Federal Census, 1920, 1930; Social Security Death Index