Harold Michael SHERMAN

March 31, 1930March 19, 2020

Harold “Hal” Sherman of Seattle, loving husband for 69 years of Madeleine Sherman, father of Jack and BJ Sherman (Tacey) and grandfather (Papoo) of Bradley Sherman, Cameron Sherman and Maxwell Sherman passed away on Thursday, March 19, 2020. Hal was born on March 31st, 1930 in Los Angeles, California to Ben and Lottie Sherman.

Hal Sherman made a significant impact in the field of jazz education, which earned him the title of "Dr. Jazz". He began his 50+ year career with a junior high band in the Highline School District, then on to the well-recognized music program at Kent Meridian High School. There he gained national and international recognition for his jazz program while maintaining a symphonic program second to none. Having won the most coveted awards at festivals, Hal's program became more performance oriented. In his effort to motivate and educate his students he hosted the "Kent-Meridian Jazz Festival" at the Seattle Opera House, which sustained sold out crowds for the duration of his 20 years at Kent-Meridian. Dr. Jazz and his Kent-Meridian groups were in demand for performances at major jazz festivals and educational conferences from Canada to Europe.

While at the Kent School District Hal served as an adjunct at the University of Puget Sound for seven years. He also held the same position at Bellevue College prior to his retirement. He has been an adjunct instructor and lecturer at various universities and conferences throughout the country. Hal served on the staff of the infamous Stan Kenton Summer Workshops and served as the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Fine Arts Camp. His groups have backed many excellent professional musicians during his tenure. This list of professionals includes Bill Watrous, Clark Terry, Frank Rosolino, Dianne Reeves, Bobby Shew, Don Menza, Louie Bellson, Dick Oates, Jim Snidero, Randy Brecker, Conrad Herwig and others.

Hal is best recognized for his knowledge of jazz literature. His library is second to none. He is always willing to share his expertise with other directors and does so often. He has written articles for the "The Instrumentalist" magazine and the "IAJE Journal". He is also the author of three books related to jazz band techniques and materials. Hal Sherman has the distinction of being the first jazz educator to receive the Charlie Parker Foundation Award for Excellence. He shares the award with such great musicians as Quincy Jones, Stan Kenton and Count Basie, to name just few. He is also the recipient of the first National Band Association's Outstanding Jazz Educator Award.

A private internment will take place at Hills of Eternity Cemetery in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle. The family plans on honoring Hal when gatherings are allowed in order to bring all those who loved and respected him together to share memories.

In lieu of flowers, the family appreciates contributions to the The Jerry Caston Memorial Fund for Melanoma Research, c/o Swedish Foundation, 747 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Harold Michael SHERMAN

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Jeff Homfeldt

March 29, 2020

Hal Sherman is a legend! Nobody knew Jazz like Hal! More then just a Music teacher he cared about each of his students in a unique way. He gave mediocre musicians such as myself “a place and a feeling of belonging “. I had the honor of being part of one of Hal’s jazz ensembles as well as other bands he stood before, I consider myself lucky to have lived in Kent when I did. What a loss but what a life! Here’s to you Hal! Many many memories. Jeff Homfeldt KM class of 79!

Terry Thompson

March 29, 2020

Hal made high school a wonderful experience for me. I am so thankful for that. I really cannot imagine what it would have been like without him and his magnificent music program. I also loved his wonderfully dry sense of humor.

I was fortunate in that he only lived a few miles from me in his final years and I was able to visit. It was a privilege to recount stories with of what were truly "the good old days".

Thank you Hal!
(Class of '76)

Phil Ellis

March 29, 2020

I traveled with the choir and band with Hal to Germany in 1981. We visited Auschwitz. Visiting that place with Hal and feeling with him the devastation of those events helped put history into perspective and make it personal to an 18 year old. His kindness to me when I was young and insensitive also taught me how to act with wisdom and truth. He was pretty direct at times and then gentle at others. I am sorry for your loss. He was a great man.

Gayle Smith

March 28, 2020

Dearest Madge, Jack and BJ, you know how much I loved Harold, I share your lose! I hold many memories close to my heart! I thank him for all his kindness as I grew up right next door!

Eric Mattoon

March 28, 2020

It was a pleasure to be a member of his jazz band. A great man. Class of ‘80

Tom Watkins

March 28, 2020

Mr. Sherman first reached out to me while I was in Jr. High. The next year, my freshman year at Kent Meridian High, he welcomed me in such a kind manner, that I was instantly drawn to him.

His encouragement knew no equal and his leadership made my four years at High School a treasured memory. He presented excellence in musical literature and brought me and all my fellow musicians along for the ride of a lifetime.

I will never forget you Mr. Sherman. And I will hold your family in my prayers.

Shanna Knope

March 28, 2020

I’m so sorry to hear of Mr Sherman’s passing. He was my band teacher at Kent Meridian High School back in the mid 80’s.
He was a fantastic musician and a great teacher. I know he had a big influence on many band kids back then.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

He will be missed by many. 😢💐🎼

Anthony Prout

March 28, 2020

Mr. Sherman was an incredible band teacher and human! He was the main reason I got involved with band. He would come into the class and look at me and say I had a smile that could light up the world! When Mr. Sherman said something you believed it! I will always have fond memories of him. My condolences to his family!

Lloydene King-Gross

March 28, 2020

What a man. What a man.

Athena Jackson

March 28, 2020

I graduated from Kent meridian high -1975. I had the privilege of having Mr Sherman in concert and marching band for 3 years . I played the flute.. He was a amazing person and teacher... ..