As a young girl, Carol Hall was admonished by her mother that Biblical scripture says, "If you don't share your talents, you will lose them.
Over a 46-year residency in Midland, Hall has shared her musical gifts with thousands of former students and others. This evening, Carol Hall will be recognized with the Midland Exchange Club's Golden Deeds Award for the service she has rendered to public schools, arts and human service need organizations, and other community endeavors. The award is presented annually and has been presented to 54 previous local recipients as part of a national program that "honors the quiet, good deeds of America's unsung heroes."
Growing up in Gainesville, Hall's father was a Sinclair service station owner and later served as assistant postmaster for the community. At age 5, while her dad was off serving in the military during World War II, her mother pulled together $15 and bought an upright piano that had survived a house fire. By age 12, she had her first job playing the organ at the Presbyterian church in Gainesville.
Hall recalls, "Church kept me pretty busy. I attended the Methodist church with my family, I played the organ at the Presbyterian church, and I sang in the choir at the Episcopal church, and I loved every minute of it. I was surrounded by a giving family and I just did what was expected of me."
Hall, one of three daughters, recalled Gainesville as a wonderful place to grow up and the fun shared within her family. She said, "Mom and Dad were full of mischief and were always pulling shenanigans on us and on each other. My grandparents helped a lot while Dad was in the war. I couldn't have been more blessed by a family."
She graduated with a degree in music education from East Texas State University (now Texas A&M-Commerce) in three years and began teaching music. After three years teaching in the Gainesville area, she took the encouraging advice of her uncle, Midland High School Principal Ralph Slagle, to come to Midland where she could count on great support and where teaching salaries were better. Hall became known for the "over-the-top" musical and variety show extravaganzas performed by her students. The multiple performance runs were always sellouts.
Many of her programs centered around historical periods such as the Renaissance and World War II, and she would typically require her students, working with other teachers, to become immersed in a complete knowledge of the events and their importance to shaping the world.
Her teaching career included stints at Sam Houston Elementary, Travis Elementary, Goddard Junior High, Alamo Junior High, Lee Freshman High and Lee High School. She was honored by MISD multiple times as a merit teacher.
Hall has worked with people who have gone on to enjoy major professional music careers including mezzo-soprano Susan Graham, composer/conductor Randol Bass and stage vocalist Eddie Pleasant. Her conducting and accompanist roles have led her across the U.S. and performances in numerous foreign countries.
In 2000, she helped organize and chaired Artwalk Midland which led to performing arts programs, art exhibits in the community, and a graffiti removal program. Many of the former grafittied walls are now colorful murals which have given vibrancy to pockets of the community.
She has served on the boards and in leadership roles with Samaritan Counseling Center of West Texas, Midland Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, American Guild of Organists, the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum and Hall of Fame, Hospice of Midland, and with her church, First United Methodist Church of Midland. She currently serves on the Mayoral Community Center Feasibility Study Group which is assessing the possibilities for new facilities for visitor event space for the city.
Married for almost 43 years to Gary Hall, a petroleum engineer, she is a mother of three daughters, Becky Billingsley and Carrie Adams of Midland, and Kristin Hall of Traverse City, Mich., and a grandmother of four.