Wayne Hooper Dies at Age 86
Wayne Hooper
1920 – 2007

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Read Lonnie Melashenko's Tribute Letter

Wayne Hooper, whose work with the Voice of Prophecy spanned nearly 65 years, died Wednesday, February 28, at his home in Thousand Oaks, California. He was 86. 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 5, at the Vallejo Drive Adventist Church, 300 Vallejo Dr., Glendale, California. The 4 p.m. service will be preceded by a half-hour program of meditation featuring photos of landscapes and flowers taken by Hooper, accompanied by his solos recorded in the 1950s. The Memorial Service will feature compositions and arrangements by Hooper, performed by Del Delker, the 1974 King's Heralds, Maurita Phillips Thornburgh, the church choir, the congregation - and Wayne himself through his recordings. Also included in the program: family tributes, slide shows about Wayne's life, and a homily by Lonnie Melashenko.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be given to the Wayne Hooper Memorial Fund (see hyperlink above). "Dad always thought money should be put to better use than big displays of flowers," says his son Jim. "In this case, his wish was to fund the music program of the VOP."

Hooper's best known song, "We Have This Hope," was created for the 1962 Seventh-day Adventist General Conference Session in San Francisco. His prolific career included hundreds of compositions and arrangements for soloists, quartets, choirs, and orchestras. 

After joining the King's Heralds quartet at the Voice of Prophecy in 1943, Hooper sang baritone for four years before moving to Nebraska to complete his bachelor's degree in music. He resumed his role in the quartet from 1949 to 1962, then continued to serve the Voice of Prophecy as music director, producer of the Sunday radio broadcast, and trust services director.

Active Retirement

After officially retiring in 1980, Hooper coordinated the production of the current Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal and a companion volume giving the history of the 695 selections and composers. The hymnal has sold over one million copies.

More recently he spent many months restoring and transferring to CDs, the original reel-to-reel recordings of music by the King's Heralds, Del Delker, and other Voice of Prophecy musicians.

A special project that he continued until a few months ago was setting Bible verses to music to aid children in memorization. He and his wife also operated Key Music Company and sent music arrangements and books to customers around the world.

Early Years and College

Hooper was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on July 4, 1920. He received his high school diploma from Gem State Academy, Caldwell, Idaho. After completing an A.A.degree in music at Southern California Junior College (now La Sierra University, Riverside), he taught music at Portland (Oregon) Academy, was a soloist for the Quiet Hour radio broadcast, and was a singing evangelist for the Potomac Conference. He joined the King's Heralds quartet at the Voice of Prophecy in 1943.

When he continued his music education in 1947 at Union College (Lincoln, Nebraska), his obvious talent led his professors to add him to their staff. He coached male quartets, gave lessons, directed choirs, played in the band and orchestra, led music for evangelistic meetings -- and managed to also attend his own classes.

Hooper Style Heard Worldwide

Rejoining the King's Heralds at the Voice of Prophecy in 1949, he became part of a quartet combination that performed together for 12 years. Radio listeners, camp meeting audiences, and buyers of vinyl records were inspired by the unique blending of the voices of Hooper, Bob Edwards, Bob Seamount, and Jerry Dill.

Hooper set the style of Voice of Prophecy music with his spirited male voice arrangements. Budding male quartets around the world sought copies and soon the "Hooper Style" of singing was heard throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific islands.

Many of Hooper's arrangements for male voices were published in seven volumes and used at schools and churches worldwide. Nearly 100 of these arrangements are now in the public domain and available without charge at www.vop.com.

Sang in Several Languages

Hooper and his King's Heralds colleagues sang not only in English, but also in several other languages used by Voice of Prophecy affiliates around the world. Known as Los Heraldos del Rey in Spanish, the quartet was also featured regularly on La Voz de la Esperanza, a Spanish-language Adventist radio ministry.

His years with the quartet involved extensive travel, including many trips across the United States and Canada, as well as tours to Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Europe. 

Surviving Family Members

Hooper married Harriet Schwender in 1941. He was ordained to the gospel ministry in 1955, and he received his master of arts degree in music in 1957 from Occidental College, Los Angeles. Both Andrews University and La Sierra University awarded him honorary doctor of music degrees.

Hooper is survived by his wife, Harriet, and their four children and families: Jim Hooper, Mrs. Jan (Lind), David Hooper, and Dan Hooper.

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