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CCU Atheneum: Michael Hall plays bass guitar with the Legends Band at Legends in Concert. He's also on the CCU staff as a chemical spray technician.
Michael Hall plays bass guitar with the Legends Band at Legends in Concert. He's also on the CCU staff as a chemical spray technician.

Michael Hall: A 'legend' in the making

by Mona Prufer
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On Christmas Eve, Michael Hall and several of his cohorts in the Department of Facilities and Maintenance decided to spread a little holiday cheer, so they went around campus caroling to anyone they could find.

“It was awesome,” say staffers who were by then mostly counting down the hours ‘til closing time. For Hall and the guys, it was a spontaneous moment. “We were just standing around on the corner, we had a little bit of time left,” says Hall. “I said it just didn’t feel like Christmas at Coastal, and Barry Epps said we should sing some Christmas carols to the people who were here.”

And so they did, ending up with a little entourage of folks who would preceed them into the buildings and gather people for a listen. “To see people’s reactions and feel their gratitude, was a true blessing,” says Hall, who this month has been at CCU a year.

Hall is a chemical spray technician; during the work day, he fertilizes, sprays weeds, overseeds and generally makes the campus more beautiful.

At nighttime, he turns to music, his lifelong passion, performing bass guitar with the Legends Band for seven shows a week at Legends in Concert, the long-running celebrity impersonation show in Surfside Beach.

Hall’s musical roots started growing in the Monroeville suburbs of Pittsburgh, Penn. “Mom played piano, brother was on drums, and my sister played trumpet,” says Hall, illustrating his musical family. “We loved music.”

In fourth grade, he started on the cello; in sixth grade, he played string bass. In seventh grade, he played electric bass and moved on to triple drums for the marching band at Gateway High School.

In addition to the marching band, Hall played in concert band, the symphonic band, the jazz ensemble and the orchestra. He accompanied the choirs on electric bass. “The Lord just blessed me,” he says.

After a year and a half at the University of Pittsburgh where he performed at both the Sugar and Cotton Bowls with the band, Hall decided college wasn’t his thing and joined the Air Force. He was stationed at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in January 1986. He met his wife Diane and married her a year later, then attended the University of South Carolina-Coastal Carolina College to earn an associate’s degree in natural science. He went on to study aircraft electronics at the Community College of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, and earned another associate degree.

But music was always his passion – bass guitar in particular. If it hadn’t been for a high school guidance counselor warning him away from a music career because he’d “never make much money,” Hall would have gone on to study music. “It was a crushing blow,” he recalls. “It changed my course. In hindsight, I wish I had majored in music and pursued music as if my life depended on it.”

That didn’t happen, but “I’m in there now,” he says. For the past 12 years, Hall has played every Sunday at his church, LC3, the Low Country Community Church. “I am blessed to be able to play for the Lord every week. After all, he has given me the talent.”

His heroes are the legendary jazz greats – Jaco Pastorius (number 1), Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, Geddy Lee and Louis Johnson. Jazz fusion is his first love, but he’s also fond of contemporary Christian music, the classic rock he grew up on, funk music and disco.

He hopes one day to play with bass great Steve Bailey, internationally acclaimed artist-in-residence at CCU. “I’m a musical unknown, and yet Steve Bailey is nice enough to sit down and talk with me about music,” says Hall.

His all-time favorite song is “Spain” by Chick Corea, and he loves the first five Chuck Mangione albums. He likes to “walk down memory lane” with the old tunes because the new music is “not so good.”

Hall lives in the Burgess community. His 19-year-old son, Michael (“Mikey”) Scott Hall II, is a freshman studying business at CCU. He is also a drummer, an “excellent one,” according to his dad.

The one thing, however, that Hall wants people to know about him is that his Christian faith is more important to him than music. “Life begins and ends with the blessed hope found in the name of Jesus Christ. People are afraid to say that, but I want people to know that.”

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