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IAMA’s logo, created by Thomas Emmerson, is a cluster of notes from Ludwig van Beethoven’s sketchings for his Symphony No. 9. 

Photo courtesy of Dan Shultz.

The International Adventist Musicians Association (IAMA)

By Douglas Morgan


Douglas Morgan is a graduate of Union College (B.A., theology, 1978) in Lincoln, Nebraska and the University of Chicago (Ph.D., history of Christianity, 1992). He has served on the faculties of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland and Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee. His publications include Adventism and the American Republic (University of Tennessee Press, 2001) and Lewis C. Sheafe: Apostle to Black America (Review and Herald, 2010). He is the ESDA assistant editor for North America.

First Published: February 11, 2022

The International Adventist Musicians Association (IAMA) served for more than three decades (1984-2019) as a forum for news, ideas, and discussion, and as a resource for information about music and musicians in the Seventh-day Adventist church.1


The IAMA emerged out of a long-felt need among Adventist musicians for an organization through which they could exchange ideas and information. The Seventh-day Adventist Church Musicians Guild organized in 1970 addressed this need.2 For many, though, the organization’s name expressed too narrow a vision since most Adventist musicians viewed themselves as educators or performers first, and in some instances, as church musicians second. The formation of the Guild thus served to increase interest in creating an organization that would serve the broader needs of all Seventh-day Adventist musicians.3

The initial spark for establishing such an organization came from Walla Walla College (now University) where discussion in 1981 about organizing an association for Seventh-day Adventist band directors broadened to one that would involve all Adventist musicians.4 A proposal for a more inclusive music organization was endorsed in the fall of 1981 at a meeting of the church’s college and university music department chairs in Dallas, Texas. The music department chairs established themselves as a consulting group and steering committee. A constitution was drafted, endorsement obtained from the General Conference Department of Education, potential members contacted, and establishment of the IAMA approved by the music department chairs, meeting in the fall of 1982, in Seattle, Washington.5

Organization of the IAMA took place in the spring of 1984, with members representing 16 nations.6 Dan Shultz of the Walla Walla music faculty was elected president and Marvin Robertson of Southern College of Seventh-day Adventists (later Southern Adventist University) vice president. That summer the association met at Andrews University to plan IAMA’s future.


The goals of the association were to create an increased awareness about what was happening in Adventist music, develop greater unity among Adventist musicians who were affiliated with the church or otherwise employed, and provide a neutral forum in which differing views about music issues could be shared. Publications seemed the best vehicle for accomplishing those goals so the group voted to produce its first magazines. Hans-Jørgen Holman, an exacting and scholarly music history professor at Andrews began preparing a professional magazine, the IAMA Journal. At the same time, another group began to prepare Newsletters, a magazine that would share news and ideas for specific areas of music endeavor.7

The release of both publications in the spring of 1985 became the first tangible evidence that IAMA had become a reality. Over the next three decades, 90 issues of magazines and newsletters containing over 300 articles were published. They served as a place for dialogue on music issues during a time of rapid cultural change and preserved a record of what was happening in Seventh-day Adventist music and with its musicians in that time.8

As the editors quickly discovered, however, creating a magazine from scratch can be a daunting undertaking. Computer technology for publishing was in its infancy and not easy to use. Additionally, midway through preparation of the first IAMA Journal, Holman had to withdraw because of serious health problems. Charles Hall, a teaching colleague at Andrews who had earlier that spring facilitated the printing of IAMA’s Newsletters, completed production of the Journal. For the next six years, one issue of the professional journal was produced annually, supplemented by a bi-monthly duplicated newsletter titled Notes, both edited by Dan Shultz.

Accomplishing the tasks associated with producing the magazines, such as the gathering of news, printing, and mailing, required a team. Shultz credited in particular Teresa (Terri) Koch, IAMA secretary and treasurer for more than 20 years, and his wife, Carolyn (nee Stevens), for invaluable work as proof reader and assisting editor, “catching more than a few glitches” before they made it into print.9

IAMA initially organized into eight divisions for specialized areas such as choir, band, orchestra, piano, and others, each with its own set of officers. However, that model never really flourished. Splitting the members into small subgroups, each of them dependent for news on officers and editors who also had heavy teaching responsibilities, proved to be unworkable and led to the divisions being phased out in 1996.

In the fall of 1991, the board approved a proposal for a more attractive, single publication, entitled Notes. The following summer Elsie Buck, a music educator, was elected IAMA president. Dan Shultz was asked to remain in charge of publications. That fall, the first issue of a newly formatted, reader-friendly magazine, Notes, was released. It continued as a semi-annual publication for the next 18 years. Because of increased mailing expenses, however, and the death of President Buck, a primary financial supporter, in 2009, Notes ceased print publication in 2011.10

Changes in worship music was the most-discussed topic in Notes over the years. A special issue in 1995 gave equal time to all sides of the argument, launching an ongoing discussion that continued in more than twenty articles in subsequent issues. Another issue of Notes was devoted to a lively discussion of the music used at the 2000 General Conference session in Toronto.

Other articles focused on Adventist music in Brazil, hymnody in the denomination, careers in music, the challenges of keeping the Sabbath as a professional musician, organs in the Adventist church, and music touring. In addition to the articles, the magazine provided readers with information and news about Adventist music and musicians around the world and how-to articles for developing special programs.

IAMA Online

In 2000, the IAMA board voted to create a website,, that included a hotline for keeping members informed about late-breaking news and job openings in music. The website hotline smoothed the way for transition to an online semi-annual newsletter, Hotline Notes, in 2011 when the organization’s print publications came to an end.

In addition to the website’s becoming a repository for articles printed in Notes, it facilitated another project, creating a history of music in the Seventh-day Adventist church. Beginning in 2002, a series of articles by Dan Shultz on how music started and evolved in each of the Adventist colleges and universities in the North American Division was both printed in Notes and placed at the website. Articles on music at Avondale College in Australia, Newbold College in England, the University of Montemorelos in Mexico, and Helderberg College in South Africa were also included in this series.11

Shultz also created a biographical resource about Adventist musicians, both past and present. By 2014, this massive undertaking came to include the biographies of more than 1,100 musicians.12 That year, the biographies were also published in a book entitled Adventist Musicians Biographical Resource. The book, underwritten in part by contributions from IAMA members and others, was circulated to 45 states of the United States and more than twenty other countries. It is also held by the libraries at all of the church’s colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, South Africa, and the Philippines. More than 50 colleges, universities, and schools of music in the United States not affiliated with the Adventist church also have the volume in their libraries.13

All of this activity required funds beyond the income provided by dues. Costs included the printing and mailing of its magazines, the maintenance of its website and online presence, and the printing and mailing of the book in 2014. Dues typically covered about half of the expenses. The remainder was covered by contributions which totaled more than $91,000 altogether during the association’s history.14

In 2019, IAMA president C. Lynn Wheeler passed away. Dan Shultz, who had served as the publications and website editor since 1986, determined that it was time for someone else to take over the work of IAMA if it was to continue. When attempts to find someone proved unsuccessful, the organization was discontinued in accordance with its constitution.15

The IAMA’s records, copies of its publications, the 1,100 plus biographies, college and university music histories, transcripts and recordings of interviews, and other documents were transferred to the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University, cataloged as Manuscript Collection 361, International Adventist Musicians Association Records. As of September 2021, 40 of Shultz’s biographies and historical articles had been adapted and revised for publication in the Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists (ESDA), a number that will increase as ESDA content continues to expand.16


Although IAMA's role changed since its founding, affected by changes in technology and communication as well as the overall music scene in the church, it served as the only association devoted solely to covering all aspects of music in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its most enduring legacy likely will be the creation and preservation of an immense historical repository on Adventist music and musicians.


Dan Shultz, 1984-1992; Elsie Landon Buck, 1992-2009; C. Lynn Wheeler, 2009-2019

Publications/website Editor

Dan Shultz, 1986-2019


“College Music Faculty Serve in New Association.” North Pacific Union Gleaner, November 19, 1984.

International Adventist Musicians Association, Accessed August 17, 2021.

International Adventist Musicians Association Records (Collection 361). Center for Adventist Research, James White Library, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI (CAR).


  1. “Scope and Content,” International Adventist Musicians Association Records (Collection 361), CAR, accessed August 17, 2021,

  2. Dan Shultz, “Seventh-day Adventist Church Musicians’ Guild,” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, accessed August 16, 2021,

  3. Dan Shultz, email message to author, June 7, 2021.

  4. Ibid.

  5. IAMA Articles of Incorporation and other official documents are archived in Box 8, International Adventist Musicians Association Records (Collection 361), CAR.

  6. “College Music Faculty Serve in New Association,” North Pacific Union Gleaner, November 19, 1984, 21.

  7. Dan Shultz, email message to author, June 7, 2021.

  8. Copies of IAMA publications archived in Boxes 8 and 9, International Adventist Musicians Association Records (Collection 361), CAR. Some issues of Notes remain accessible at

  9. Dan Shultz, email message to author, August 26, 2021.

  10. Dan Shultz, email message to author, June 7, 2021.

  11. Archived in Boxes 1 and 2, International Adventist Musicians Association Records (Collection 361), CAR.

  12. The biographies remain accessible at, though the website is no longer being actively maintained and updated.

  13. Dan Shultz, email message to author, June 7, 2021.

  14. IAMA financial records, Box 8, International Adventist Musicians Association Records (Collection 361), CAR.

  15. “Scope and Content,” International Adventist Musicians Association Records (Collection 361), CAR.

  16. See Articles by this author, Dan Shultz, Authors, Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, accessed August 17, 2021,


Morgan, Douglas. "The International Adventist Musicians Association (IAMA)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. February 11, 2022. Accessed May 29, 2024.

Morgan, Douglas. "The International Adventist Musicians Association (IAMA)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. February 11, 2022. Date of access May 29, 2024,

Morgan, Douglas (2022, February 11). The International Adventist Musicians Association (IAMA). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 29, 2024,