Gary L. Hemenway

Choral Director

Northwest Community Gospel Chorus

Appears on: Gospel Christmas

At four years old, Gary Hemenway’s first musical question to his mother was, “when do I get to play piano in church?” Raised in the small town of Pilot Rock in Eastern Oregon, Hemenway’s early interest grew to encompass a wide variety of musical styles. As a pre-teen, he was captured by the sounds of André Crouch and the Disciples, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Chicago, and The Temptations. It was while attending Warner Pacific College in arts-rich Portland, OR, that Gary saw his abilities expand. With a passion for excellence and a love for many styles of music, countless doors have been opened to him.

Hemenway’s diverse abilities have afforded him plentiful opportunities working in the fields of soundtrack, production, direction, composition, arrangement, teaching, work shopping, and live performance. Hemenway has composed and arranged numerous vocal, choral, and instrumental pieces in every style including classical, film score, gospel, jazz, pop, and rock. His work has appeared in Nike & Avia videos and events, as well as at the Olympics. His live performance work has taken him throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Amongst his many musical abilities, choral work has become one of his greatest musical strengths. As the music director for the Oregon Symphony’s Northwest Community Gospel Chorus for 18 years, he has enjoyed working with the Grammy-nominated Oregon Symphony. Hemenway also serves as the artistic director for the Walla Walla Choral Society and the director of worship at Walla Walla Presbyterian Church. He enjoys sharing his talent and expertise as a studio music instructor of jazz piano at Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA.

His other credits include work with the Heritage Singers, Pink Martini, Will Vinton Studios, George Fox University, and more. His greatest joy has been found in the people that he has worked with. They include Dr. Charles Floyd, Mick Gillette and Lenny Pickett (Tower of Power), Daniel Cox, Tim Ellis, Dr. Dennis Piles, and many others.

The joys of his life – his wife, Clairece, and his three daughters (Sarah, Olivia, and Amelia) – are all accomplished artists in their own right.