William N. C. Kim
1919 - 2009
William Kim, a tenor, was a practicing physician and surgeon and internationally known singer in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, known for his vocal facility and the warmth and bel canto quality of his voice. He was frequently featured in musical productions in the San Francisco Bay area and in southern California.
William was born in Kauai, Hawaii, the son of Harry Hak and Grace Ahn Kim. He attended Hawaiian Mission Academy, where he first participated in the choir and then began singing solos and duets. He attended Pacific Union College, graduating from there in 1947, following a two-year interruption for service in the U.S. Army during World War II. Part of his duties while in the army included singing on radio broadcasts designed to boost the morale of the troops on the West Coast.
Following his discharge he returned to PUC, where he completed his studies and enrolled at the College of Medical Evangelists, now Loma Linda University School of Medicine. After his military service, he increased his musical activity while at PUC and then continued while at CME, winning several amateur contests, including top prize on the Hollywood Opportunity television program and grand prize in the senior division at a talent festival in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in November 1952.
Even as Kim became a successful physician and surgeon in San Jose, California, he continued to be deeply involved in music. In addition to being a featured soloist in productions of major choral works and sought-after singer for weddings, church events and programs, youth congresses, and community concerts, he also sang as a member of choirs and other ensembles. He recorded at least one record album in the Golden Voice series produced by Chapel Records
He was both a member and president of the Bay Area Symphonic Choir, sang in the San Jose Municipal Chorus, and was a member of a men's trio, the Tenor Tones. The latter, a popular group based in San Jose, included Kim, James Attarian, and Milton Denmark, whose wife was their accompanist. All of them had studied voice with Lon Metcalfe, well-known Adventist music teacher in the middle of the century, and as a group were coached by him. They sang frequently in the 1950s and 1960s and were featured in the General Conference Session held in Cleveland in 1958.
When George W. Greer, beloved music teacher at PUC, died in November 1967, Kim was one of the singers chosen to perform at his memorial service. Additionally, a month later when the Bay Area Symphonic Choir, which had been founded and conducted by Greer after he retired, presented the Messiah, Kim was the tenor soloist, a role he had sung many times with that choir and others.
Kim and his wife, Sarah, also a physician, had four daughters. He was living in California, when he died in 2009, at age 89.
Sources: 1920 U.S. Federal Census Records; Chapel Record Liner, Unknown name and number; Army service and CME acceptance, Pacific Union Recorder, 18 October 1944, 2, and 9 July 1947, 8; Pasadena talent festival, The Youth's Instructor, 10 February 1953, 5 and Pacific Union Recorder; PUR, 15 December 1952, 12, 13; George Greer Obituary, 27 November 1967, 8; Bay Area Symphonic Choir, 15 January 1968, 3; Tenor Tones, North Pacific Union Gleaner, 1 February 1960; Chapel Records, LP 5107, Behold He Cometh, 1968 General Conference Session Souvenir Album, insert with participants' biographical information; Social Security Death Index; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Death File.