Former Cohn High teacher, Miss Desper, dies!  

Posted 4-4-14..........

Hannah Bell Desper McDaniel - Cohn High School Teacher 1962-1970

The Cohn High Alumni Association has just learned of the death of former Cohn High choral teacher Hannah Belle Desper McDaniel ( “Miss Desper” ). She died this past July 27th in Knoxville, Tennessee. Miss Desper came to Cohn High is the Fall of 1962 and finished her eight year tenure at Cohn High in the Spring of 1970.................

Funeral A Memorial Service will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 800 Northshore Drive, Knoxville 37919 at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 23, 2014.

Hannah Belle Desper McDaniel, age 74, passed away July 27, 2014, in Bozeman, Montana. She was born August 9, 1939 in Nashville, TN to Charles and Hazel Desper, who preceded her in death. Hannah is survived by her husband, Walter Howard McDaniel, Jr., of Knoxville; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Norman and Lynda Conner of Waco, Texas; nephew, wife and niece. Jeff, Sherry and Marina Conner of Rowlett, Texas; nephew, wife and niece/Godchild, Steven, Kim and Reagan Conner of Galveston, Texas and numerous cousins and close friends.

Hannah grew up in Nashville Tennessee and graduated from Hillsboro High School. She earned both a Bachelor's degree in Music Education and a Master's degree in Piano performance from Vanderbilt University. She has done post graduate work at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Hannah began studying the piano at the age of five and at fifteen, became organist at Grace Baptist Church in Nashville. During her youth, she received nine Superior Ratings in the National Federation of Music Clubs Piano Competition. She also won the State Juco Cup as a sophomore in high school and a scholarship to Brevard Music Camp her junior year. She was All-State Chorus piano accompanist in 1957.

While in college, she won the Tennessee State Piano Teachers Scholarship and two SAI Scholarships at Peabody/Vanderbilt and was Featured Piano Soloist on the Centennial Park "Discovery of the Week" series and the Community Concert Series in Nashville.

After college, she was Choral Director at Cohn and Hillsboro High Schools in Nashville. During the ten years she taught in Nashville, she spent several summers on the staff at Brevard Music Center and on the Music Faculty at Ridgecrest, North Carolina. She also accompanied many singers in the Country Music Industry, sang backup for several recording studios in Nashville and also was featured soloist for several Billy Graham Crusades. Throughout her professional career she served and presided over numerous professional music organizations at the state and national levels.

Hannah moved to Knoxville in 1971 following her marriage to Walter McDaniel. She taught private piano lessons, served as organist at West Hills Baptist Church and continued to teach choral music at West Hills Elementary School. She spent several summers on the faculty of the High School Choral Camp at the University of Tennessee. In 1979, she became choral director at Bearden High School where she retired in 1998 with 38 years of teaching. While at Bearden, she took choirs on tours to New York, Chicago, Orlando and Europe. A highlight of the 1992 tour was having an audience with Pope John Paul II and a performance for him at the Vatican in Rome. She also directed choirs in relation to the London New Year's Parade three times. She dearly loved her work and the many students she encountered over those years.

After retirement she served as President of the Knoxville Symphony League and she enjoyed performing at various places with a Red Hat group called "Hannah Belle's Hootenannies". She loved to travel to the British Isles, the Baltic countries, Iceland, Greenland and throughout the United States.

Hannah was a member of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension in Knoxville. A Memorial Service will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Ascension, 800 Northshore Drive, Knoxville 37919 at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 23, 2014. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Church of the Ascension or the charity of your choice. Click Funeral Home Farragut Chapel, 11915 Kingston Pike is serving the McDaniel family.