alumni choir

Alumni Choir Celebrates Life of Performing Arts Dean William Hall

On March 10, hundreds of Chapman alumni returned to campus to participate in a Celebration of Life for Professor Emeritus William D. Hall, founding dean of the College of Performing Arts (CoPA) and founding dean and artistic director of the Musco Center for the Arts. Hall passed away in October.

The event took place at the Musco Center and included performances by current Chapman students along with a special choir of alumni gathered for the occasion. 

“It is fitting to celebrate Bill’s life in a building whose very existence owes a lot to his vision and hard work, and that there was music performed by students of the Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music,” said Giulio M. Ongaro, current dean of the College of Performing Arts. “The fact that almost 200 alumni signed up to sing in an alumni choir at the end of the celebration is a tribute to his influence as educator and professional conductor. Bill made a huge difference at Chapman and all of us will always be grateful to him.” 

The alumni choir was organized and conducted by Jonathan Talberg ’91, Gene Peterson ’99, Keith Hancock ’02 (MA ’04) and Joseph Modica ’95. 

“One of the more special moments of the afternoon was conducting this splendid group of singers with Dr. Hall’s baton,” said Hancock, choral music director of Tesoro High School in Las Flores, who said that Hall was his chief musical mentor. “It was quite the reunion, especially for those who attended Chapman in the late ‘90s…it was an amazing and deeply emotional experience. It was particularly special to share the experience with current and former Tesoro students, who essentially are Bill’s musical grandchildren, as Bill’s baton continues to be passed from generation to generation.”

“The event was incredibly special,” said Casey Decker ’04. “As a Chapman alumna, who coincidentally is celebrating my 20 year college reunion, I was grateful to come back to honor Dr. Hall’s life and career. He changed the lives of so many students and artists, and some of my favorite Chapman memories are from choir tours with other music students under Dr. Hall’s leadership and mentorship. I’ll forever be grateful for what he saw in me when I auditioned for him 20 years ago and the opportunities he provided me as a young, developing singer and artist.”

Hall joined the Chapman faculty in 1963 and was the first distinguished professor to hold the Bertea Family Endowed Chair in Music. Read more about his life and legacy

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Some photos courtesy Keith Hancock and Casey Decker. 

Staci Dumoski

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