Posted by: calloftheandes | July 10, 2009

Veteran HCJB Global Musician Lois Vásconez Dies at 83

Photograph
Longtime HCJB Global missionary Lois Hatt Vásconez died Thursday, July 9, in Quito, Ecuador, after a valiant battle with cancer. She was 83. A memorial service was held in Quito on Friday, July 10. Lois retired from the mission on Jan. 1, 1996, after having served for more than 42 years, but she continued to be active, helping in music ministries and teaching piano lessons long after retiring.

Born in Ohio on Oct. 16, 1925, she attended schools in Adrian, Mich., and graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 1946. With a sacred music degree, Lois joined the staff of Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music (now Cornerstone University) in Grand Rapids, Mich., heading the music department and serving as dean of women.

Besides composing two choruses and a hymn, she founded and directed a 20-voice mixed group, the Choralaires at Grand Rapids School of the Bible and Music. She also led a ladies’ quartet, and decades later said, “That’s the kind of music that I really, really enjoy arranging!”

In 1953 Lois attended Spanish language training in Costa Rica, arriving as a single missionary with HCJB Global in Quito the following year. Interviewed in 2007, she cited a motto that God gave her in those years, “Music for His Glory,” based on Psalm 28:7. With this focus on music, she assisted in making programs that aired on Radio Station HCJB in Russian, German, Japanese, English and Spanish for the international shortwave radio station.

In 1960 Lois married Oswaldo Vásconez, an Ecuadorian working at Radio Station HCJB. He also served as assistant to the director of Hospital Vozandes-Quito. Lois and Oswaldo have three adult children, Elena and Sandra, living in the U.S., and Oswaldo Jr., who has served as medical director at the same hospital.

In the 1960s Lois began accompanying HCJB Global’s Vozandes Choir and Orchestra that has performed at the annual mission-sponsored Quito Days Concerts. She also directed the vocal ensemble, Conjunto HC, which performed at functions nationwide throughout the year.

“Lois was a most gifted musician—one of the most gifted that I have ever known,” added HCJB Global retiree Tom Fulghum. “But I will remember her most for her sweet humble spirit. I never saw a vain thing or heard her make a proud or vain remark. The image of Christ was stamped all over her character and personality.”

Missionary retiree Ruth Jordan, who knew Lois even before she arrived in Ecuador, said she was an outstanding accompanist for her late husband, Gene, who played the marimba. “Lois seemed to feel his music, and they were in tune together as they performed for the Lord,” Ruth related. “I can’t believe she is gone. She was a precious friend to me.”

After directing the Quito Day Concerts for many years, she handed the baton to her former piano student and fellow HCJB Global missionary, Michio Ozaki, whose concerts drew more than 8,000 people to the 40th annual Quito Day concerts in December 2008.

Performing in concert halls, churches, schools, military bases and malls, the Vozandes Choir was invited to perform at the presidential palace many times throughout the years. Lois directed concerts for Ecuadorian presidents Rodrigo Borja and Sixto Durán Ballén.

In 2007 Lois was honored by Quito’s city council in a statement that read: “Besides serving more than 40 years as pianist for the Coro Vozandes, she has worked to help the needy, among other humanitarian deeds, as a missionary with HCJB Global in Ecuador.”

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Responses

  1. Dear Friends,

    We, the Vasconez family, would like to express our sincere gratitude to each and every one of you. Your demonstrations of love and support towards us, since our dear mom went to the presence of the Lord, have been very much appreciated. Your letters, e-mails, and phone calls have comforted us tremendoulsy during these difficult days.

    As we reflect upon our mom´s life, two things clearly stand out: her love for our Lord Jesus Christ, and her service to Him and others through her music. Her music ministry is well known to you: she directed choirs and small ensembles, arranged music, even sang when young, and of course, she delighted us on the piano. The least visible, perhaps, was her teaching ministry. She touched the lives of many youngsters nonetheless. Through her piano lessons, she shared with her students her knowledge and her time without expectations or reservations. She held them dear to her heart and she cared for them both musically and spiritually. The weekly half-an-hour lessons were not just for making music. She also listened to them, and talked and prayed with them. Through the years many of her students, now grown adults, reached out to thank her as she was not only their piano teacher; she was their friend. For a fleeting moment you could see a twinkle in her eyes, for hearing back from her former students was her secret reward.

    As a family, we have prayfully decided to establish the Lois Hatt Vasconez Music Scholarship. Through this, it is our desire to honor the Lord she faithfully served as well as keep her legacy alive for many years to come. This scholarship will be administered by the School of Music at Azusa Pacific University, and it will serve underpriviledged students who have a love for music so that they are able to develop their musical talents in a christian environment.

    We invite you join us in paying tribute to her memory by providing others the opportunity to make Music for His glory.

    If you would like to contribute to this scholarship fund, please send your donation to:

    Office of University Advancement
    Azusa Pacific University
    PO Box 7000
    Azusa , CA 91702-7000

    Please make your check payable to Azusa Pacific University. The memo field or an accompanying note should indicate: The Lois Hatt Vasconez Music Scholarship.

    You are welcome to contact us directly at:
    13898 Adams Circle,
    Thornton, CO 80602
    303-600-8733
    loishatt@andinanet.net or elevasha@yahoo.com

    Thank you very much for your friendship and support,
    The Vasconez Family

  2. Dear Friends,
    Thank you for all the emails and phone calls, regarding my mom graduation to heaven. It is a difficult time, but your prayers, love and concern are helping us get through.
    Sincerely,
    The Vasconez Family

  3. I well remember Lois, her excellent piano playing, her spirit of cooperation and helpfulness, and above all, her love for the Lord. My loving greetings, in sympathy, to her family. Paul Roberts


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