|#1 Printed in the June 20, 2021 Omaha World-Herald|
Hall, William Robert, Ph.D.
December 10, 1946 - June 9, 2021
William Robert Hall, Ph.D., devoted and beloved husband, father, and grandfather, passed away on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, in Omaha, NE. He was 74 years old. William began his residence in Blair, NE in 1997 as the Director of Bands at Dana College, where he was granted tenure in 2002. While at Dana College, William served as Music Department Chair, Director of Instrumental Studies, and Conductor of the Concert Band. He served on the committees of Academic Standards and Honors Program Faculty and as Chair of the Education Department and Academic Policies and Curriculum Committees.
William spent his later professional years as an administrator and librarian for the Omaha Public Library System and served as Sunday School Educator, Head of the Alpha Community Program, Church Administrator, and Minister of Music for Christ Lutheran Church in Blair, NE.
A Memorial Celebration Ceremony will be held at Christ Lutheran Church, located on the campus of the former Dana College, on July 8, 2021, at 2pm (CST).
William was born in Cleveland, OH on December 10, 1946. His lifelong journey as a musician began in the private studios of the principals of The Cleveland Orchestra, while under the baton of Maestro George Szell. He went on to pursue undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music Education in 1970. There he performed with The Ohio State University Concert Bands and The Ohio State University Marching Band under the baton of Dr. Jack O. Evans.
Following four highly successful years as a professional educator in Northeastern Ohio, William auditioned successfully for The U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" in Washington, DC, where he served as a trombonist and later an arranger. After two years, he transferred to Fort George G. Meade, where he served as Assistant Principal Trombonist with The U.S. Army Field Band. During this second tour, William continued graduate studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, where in 1980 he earned a Master of Music in trombone performance as a student of Dr. John A. Marcellus. In 1981, William completed seven years of honorable service in the Army's "special bands" and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. In addition, he earned two Army Good Conduct Medals.
Following his military service, William remained in the National Capital Region and returned to public education, serving in the divinity profession as the Minister of Music at the Tabernacle of Laurel, Maryland. William returned to divinity in his native Ohio as Pastor of the Open Bible Christian Center in Pataskala.
William's professional experience as a trombonist began in 1969 on Bass Trombone with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra in Pennsylvania. He also performed on Bass Trombone with the Canton Symphony Orchestra in Ohio from 1969-1971 and as Principal Trombone of the Blue Lake Fine Arts Faculty Orchestra in Michigan from 1994-1995. As his performance career evolved, William transitioned to the conductor's podium and became the founder of the Omaha Symphonic Winds in Nebraska. Upon retiring, he was named Director Emeritus. William also founded and served as leader of the 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band.
In 1984, William continued in music education as a member of the Ohio Music Educators Association (OMEA) and serving in the Westland Local School District, located in the state capital area, and the Eastern Local School District. His tenure amassed honors and professional associations, including invitations for the bands to perform at the National Adjudicators Conference in Washington, DC and the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival. After completing his appointment at Eastern Local School District, William pursued doctoral studies at Kent State University in Kent, OH, where he also served as the Associate Director of Bands. In this position, his duties included serving as Doctoral Associate Conductor of the Wind Ensemble and Associate Director of Athletic Bands, which led to appearances at the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. In 2004, William published his dissertation "A Critical Performing Edition of the Franz Kromer 'Parthia for Band' (1825) for American Concert Band," subsequently earning a Doctor of Philosophy in Music Education.
William's professional elected offices included President and Vice President of Alpha Theta (NE), Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters Fraternity, Chair of Research and College/University Affairs, Nebraska Music Educators Association (NMEA), President, Vice President, and Representative of the Music Graduate Students' Association at Kent State University, and President of the Northwest Local Teachers Association of Ohio.
William published extensively throughout his musical career, both in publication and in score. His artistic acumen made him highly sought after as a guest conductor, clinician, and adjudicator. Additionally, he received numerous professional honors and amassed countless affiliations including being elected to the Society of Pi Kappa Lambda and Phi Beta Mu (International Bandmasters Fraternity), as well as selection to "Who's Who Among American Teachers." The magnitude of William's contributions and impact to society, culture, the arts, education, and our Nation are his legacy.
William was preceded in death by his parents, Robert J. (WWII USCG, New York Central System, Ret.) and Gertrude C. Hall of Cleveland, OH; and by his sister, Sally Ann Hubbard, also of Cleveland. He is survived by his wife, Michelle Rae Hall who resides in Blair, NE (Millard Public Schools Ret.); adult sons, Christopher E. (Courtnie) Accenture, Financial Services and Michael J. (Lara) Hall; and adult daughter, Jacque L. (Hall) Boldt, (Ryan). William's surviving grandchildren are Nolan Terrance, Allison Bell and Garrett William Hall, Dylan Robert and Johanna Louise Hall, and Isaac Ryan, Owen August, and Annaliese Emelia Michelle Boldt.
William's joy, rest, and wonder was with his faith and family. He was dearly loved as a husband, father and grandfather. William now watches over us and continues to guide our paths, until that time when we see each other again.
The interment will be conducted at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, on a date to be determined.
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky;
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
#2-Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2021 8:00
By Elizabeth A. Elliott - firstname.lastname@example.org
William Hall was a man of music and faith, serving as a minister of music at the Christ Lutheran Church until he died from cancer June 9.
"We loved being able to bring music into the churches," his wife, Shelly, said. "Bill always tried to have one tune on the docket of a public performance that was Christian-oriented that would lift up the name of Jesus."
Hall's lifetime was spent with music at its foundation — from studying trombone and piano as a child with members of the Cleveland Orchestra to founding the Omaha Symphonic Winds and the 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band.
He taught for several years in a variety of schools, including working as the Director of Bands at Dana College beginning in 1997.
Hall served as a trombonist and later an arranger for the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, D.C. After two years, he transferred to Fort George G. Meade, where he served as Assistant Principal Trombonist with The U.S. Army Field Band. He earned a Master of Music in trombone performance at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1980. In 1981, Hall completed seven years of honorable service in the Army’s special bands and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. He earned two Army Good Conduct Medals.
Shelly said Hall was in the detachment that played music for burials at the Arlington National Cemetery.
"It was a detail he took very seriously," she said. "He wanted to honor the veterans who had given their last breaths of devotion to the country and he felt that was important."
Hall served as the Minister of Music at the Tabernacle of Laurel, Md. He then served as pastor of the Open Bible Christian Center in Pataskala, Ohio, after a death in the family brought them back to Ohio.
Back in Ohio he helped a small school's band "go from nothing to being one of the best bands in Ohio, invited to National Adjudicators Invitational Band competition in Washington, D.C. and Bands of America Concert Band Invitational," she said.
He did not go with them to the invitational but instead was invited to come to Kent State as a doctoral conducting associate. When he finished as an associate, he interviewed at several schools.
"We wanted to start at a small Christian college and Dana College was that school," she said.
He taught for awhile in Omaha after leaving Dana.
His love of research and books led him to work for the Omaha Public Library and worked there for 11 years til 2018. Hall enjoyed the research, helping people and interacting with the public. Hall was head of the Alpha Community Program at the Blair Public Library and Technology Center.
"In the meantime we started the Omaha Symphonic Winds, a semi-professional concert band that played the great literature of the 20th century," she said. "It was one of the most enjoyable groups that he has had to work with. They performed throughout the state."
When he was diagnosed with cancer they gave it six months or so before he retired as conductor emeritus of the Omaha Symphonic Winds. He then began a smaller group — the 1st Nebraska Volunteers Brass Band.
Hall was a writer, did arranging for many bands, spoke on podcasts with brass band enthusiasts.
"He was always involved," she said. "It's the measure of a man. He loved teaching at Dana, loved the area we're in and enjoyed the community so much."
~~~ Obituaries courtesy of the Nebraska Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair, Nebraska Public Library ~~~