William R. Bromme

1936 -

William Bromme, a pianist and choral conductor, taught at four academies and at Southwestern Adventist College during his career. In those years, he directed choral and instrumental ensembles, taught music theory and conducting, and chaired music departments on both the college and academy level.

Bromme began studying piano when he was four and continued lessons into his teenage years. He attended church school through ninth grade, attended high school for two years, and then transferred to Maplewood Academy for his senior year. While at MWA, he resumed piano lessons and played frequently for vespers and other programs.

After graduating from academy in 1954, he enrolled at the University of Minnesota as a math major. At the end of two years, he had second thoughts about math as a major and, having completed a minor in math, enrolled as a music major at Union College.

Bromme studied piano with Neil Tilkens and Eleanor Attarian and completed all course work for a B.S. in music education in three years. He married Joan Doris Fredrickson, a registered nurse, on August 16, 1959, and they were hired to work at Enterprise Academy in Kansas, beginning that fall. He taught music, algebra, and geometry at EA for five years. He returned  to UC in the summer of 1960 to play his senior recital and graduate.

They went to Campion Academy in Colorado in 1964, when an unexpected position in keyboard opened. He taught lessons twice a week to as many as 75 students in his two years there. While at CA, he completed a master's degree in 1966 at Andrews University, studying piano with Blythe Owen and organ with Warren Becker. He spent the last summer of his study in Austria, where he studied with Norman Shetler.

In the fall of 1966, Bromme began teaching at Southwestern Adventist College, now Southwestern Adventist University, giving lessons in piano, organ, and harpsichord and teaching music theory and conducting, in addition to chairing college committees outside the department of music. During his eighteen years at SWAU, he completed a D.M.A. in 1981 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in  music theory, choral conducting, and church music. His dissertation was titled The Sacred Choral Music of William Walton. He had the privilege of visiting with the composer in London one year before he died.

Bromme served as Fine Arts Division chair at SWAU on two occasions, from 1978 to 1980 and 1982 to 1984. In 1984, when Southwestern reduced its music program from offering a major to simply providing service courses, he left. Wanting to preserve and build on his service record with the church, he accepted an invitation to return to Enterprise Academy, where he had started his career.

Although the adjustment to teaching at that level was initially difficult, by the end of his first year at EA, he began to enjoy working again with high school students. Following two years at EA, he accepted a position at Highland View Academy in Maryland, where he taught music and math for the next twelve years, an experience he thoroughly enjoyed. After retiring from teaching in 1999, having taught for forty years, he did data processing for an Adventist Home Health office in Virginia before fully retiring in 2000.

Joan shared in his ministry while they were in academy work and at SWAU, serving as a nurse in all aspects of that profession, ending her many years of service at Adventist Healthcare in Maryland. She was a kind person with many gifts. They were living  in North Carolina at the time of her death on September 21, 2021, at age 83. She was survived by their children, Jeff, Shayne, and Ginger, their spouses; and seven grandchildren.

ds/December 2021

Source: Interview with William Bromme, 25 September 2007; obituary for Joan Bromme, Southern Tidings, December 12, 2021, 36.