Thursday, September 1, 2011

André Thomas Receives Distinguished Service Award


The Tallahassee Community Chorus
Contact: Jan Smith, President, Board of Directors
(850) 509-7345


Dr. André J. Thomas has conducted choruses of all types and age groups all over the world, but at his core, Thomas is, above all else a teacher, who promotes the universal language and unifying force of choral music wherever he goes. His dedication to and accomplishments in the choral arts were recently recognized by his peers in Chorus America when that organization presented Thomas with its Distinguished Service Award during its annual conference in San Francisco on June 10th.

Chorus America is the advocacy, research, and leadership development organization that advances the choral field, providing tools, training, peer networking, and access to help choruses contribute to their communities. Its membership includes choral conductors, composers, choral groups, singers and members of choral governing boards from all over the country.

“André Thomas has given the gift of choral music to singers, students, and audiences of all ages and in every corner of the world. As a composer and arranger, educator at The Florida State University, conductor of the Tallahassee Community Chorus, and champion of spirituals in practice and performance, he embodies Chorus America’s mission of ‘building an inclusive and dynamic choral community,’” said Gayle M. Ober, Chairman of the Board of Chorus America. Ann Meier Baker, Chorus America President and CEO, said, “Singers from Beijing to Birmingham, Berlin to Baton Rouge have all had the privilege of working with Dr. Thomas—his reach as a conductor and composer spans the globe, bringing people together in song.”

Thomas was nominated for the award by the Tallahassee Community Chorus, which he has conducted since 1988, and which, under his direction, has grown into a massive chorus of more than 200 nonauditioned singers capable of performing some of the world’s most challenging choral music.

“Dr. Thomas has given us so much as our music director for 23 years, and he was so deserving of this award, we felt it would be the perfect way to both show our appreciation, and to recognize him for his contributions to the advancement of choral music worldwide,” said Jan Smith, President of the Board of the Tallahassee Community Chorus.

The award also recognizes Thomas’ accomplishments as an educator and Director of Choral Activities for the Florida State University College of Music, where he recently celebrated his 25th year on the faculty. “André Thomas is a gifted and dedicated teacher whose work as conductor and mentor is informed by his ongoing creative activity,” observes Don Gibson, Dean of the College of Music. “It is difficult to imagine a career more fully deserving of this extraordinary recognition.”