Gary Hemenway is a musical staple in the Walla Walla community with a rich and multi-faceted resume. As a four-year old, Gary’s first musical question to his mother was, “when do I get to play piano in church?”. Raised in the small Eastern Oregon town of Pilot Rock, his early interest grew to encompass a wide variety of musical styles. As a pre-teen he was captured by the sounds of Andre Crouch and the Disciples, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Chicago and the Temptations. But it was while under the tutelage of Dr. Dennis Plies and Dr. Dennis Esselstrom at Warner Pacific College (Portland) that Gary saw his abilities expand. With a passion for excellence and love of many styles of music, countless doors have been opened to Gary.
Gary’s diverse abilities have afforded him rich opportunities in the fields of soundtrack, production, direction, composing/arranging, teaching and live performance work. Amongst his many musical abilities, gospel has become one of his greatest musical strengths. As the Music Director for the Northwest Community Gospel Choir for 15 years, he has enjoyed working with the Grammy nominated Oregon Symphony on their gospel Christmas concerts.
Gary has written and arranged vocal and instrumental pieces in every style from classical and film score to gospel, jazz, pop and rock. He has numerous recordings of his original compositions and arrangements. He frequently works with schools, colleges, choirs and churches as a guest musician, clinician, director and accompanist. Currently he is the Studio Music Instructor of Jazz Piano and Jazz Choir at Whitman College.
Gary’s talent, enthusiasm, energy, and long-term commitment to the Choral Society will guide the organization into a new and dynamic future!