By Lainey S. Cronk
Photo: David Bell, far right, with the Heritage Singers in Bucharest, Romania.
Two weeks into his sophomore year at Walla Walla, David Bell got an unexpected call from the Heritage Singers: "We need a bass singer." David had been singing at camp meetings and other events with the Walla Walla Messengers quartet, and this seemed like a great opportunity. So, at 19, he dropped his classes, flew to L.A., and joined the Heritage Singers full-time for two years.
At that time, the group was doing about six concerts a week, with two weeks off in August and two for Christmas. "It was a great time to get involved," David says, "because we were doing a lot of overseas traveling. In fact we were out of the country for three months straight on one trip, literally going around the world, going around the Holy Land, Israel, Egypt, and Jordan, went to South Africa for five weeks, on to Australia and New Zealand, back to Hawaii"
For the past 18 years or so, however, they've just been going on weekends and special trips (every summer for 37 years they've done a Northwest tour, and they usually do an additional summer trip out-of-country), so it's possible for David to teach business and engineering classes - and work on his Ph.D. in "applied management and decision sciences with an emphasis in information systems management."
Still, it makes for some long, fast trips. During the school year, for instance, he might very well fly out Friday afternoon to London, perform there Saturday night, fly back Sunday morning and be teaching again Monday. "My laptop is practically surgically attached to me," he laughs.
"One of my real joys in life is to sing," David explains. "It can reach people in ways that sometimes preaching can't." His favorite part of a concert is the time at the end when they have people come down if they have a need they'd like to pray for with somebody. "People come with all sorts of things - individually, we pray with them. Really is the most special part to me is making those connections."
Last summer, the group spent 10 days in Romania, doing concerts and letting the locals show them around. The trip turned out to be extra special when, on a Friday night, about a hundred people gathered with the Heritage Singers. "Individuals would get up and talk about the time under communism when they were smuggling in tapes of Heritage Singers - you know, it was illegal to have those at that time. They would listen to them down in the basement." Choir directors would translate the vocal harmonies into their language so they could sing the songs. "This was something we didn't know anything about," David says. "They would say, 'You don't know how much that helped us get through that awful time.'"
David does get into a few things other than singing. For instance, he loves playing around with the newest technological gadgets. The budget doesn't allow for a complete current collection, but, he says, "I do have something of an obsolete electronic junkyard in my garage!" He also enjoys a bit of photography, a couple SCUBA trips each year, and (when he's not in grad school) playing percussion.
David Bell is an associate professor of business administration, and also teaches engineering classes. He taught at PUC from '87 to '89 in the computer science & math department, and from '90 to the present in the business department. He lives in Angwin with his wife, Susan, who graduated from the PUC Degree Completion Program in 1999.
Darrin Thurber, '07 alum , has returned as the part-time worship coordinator. This is an interim position that will run until the middle of June, or until Northern California Conference is able to furnish a full-time pastor to fill the slot vacated by Jessica Shine. Darrin's main responsibility will be to oversee the preparation and music for The Gathering. He is currently completing a master's degree in music at San Francisco State University. He and his wife Beamy, an '06 grad, live in Emeryville.
Mei Ann Teo has a short film screening at the San Francisco International Asian American Festival 2009. The film is called NOT HERE, and it is screening in the shorts program entitled TIMES OF DEPARTURE. Her film will screen in San Francisco on March 15 and 19 and in San Jose on March 21.
Asher Raboy went back to hear the Toronto Symphony play his "Three Small Musicians" piece for young audiences. The audience - over 2000 children per performance (at 10 performances) - sang the vocal part of the piece. "The orchestra is one of the best I've ever heard," Asher reports. "They play with grace, beauty and accuracy and clearly love what they are doing. It brought tears to my eyes to hear my own music played so well and with such care. Not an experience to be forgotten."
On February 12, the nursing department had a site visit for continuing accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission. "We are very appreciative of the support that we received from across campus during this important visit," they report.
Alex Carpenter spent some time in San Francisco in February, doing side consulting for Active Voice. They're working on a media strategy for The Calling, which is rolling out this coming Fall on PBS. The Calling is a new documentary series and community engagement campaign that follows the stories of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim Americans who are training for religious leadership. Alex also took along one of our film & TV majors.
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