Choral Director Scott Tuomi Honored by the Oregon Music Education Association
Pacific University Choral Director and Professor Scott Tuomi was honored with The John C. McManus Distinguished Teacher Award in January by the Oregon Music Education Association.
The award recognizes music teachers with a lifetime of service and a “highly distinguished record of professional accomplishment.”
“I’m honored to be recognized,” said Tuomi, who described the award as “extremely meaningful.”
Tuomi teaches in Pacific University’s Music Department, which offers undergraduate programs in music, music education, music performance and music therapy. He also conducts the Pacific University Chamber Singers, one of Pacific’s many musical ensembles.
Outside of teaching, Tuomi also has been president of the Northwestern American Choral Directors Association, and he is an in-demand tenor vocalist himself. He is the immediate past president of the Oregon chapter of the American Choral Directors Association, and a former district governor for the National Association of Teachers of Singing. He also conducts the Portland-based Balladeers, a 46-member group of men aged 30 to 92.
The recognition comes as Tuomi’s world has regained its equilibrium after the pandemic shutdown. “Those couple of years during the lockdown were the most challenging teaching years of my life,” he said. At times, he and the singers were limited to what Tuomi called “Brady Bunch videos,” joining to sing via Zoom. While that challenged him and the singers, it also allowed their singing to reach faraway audiences who otherwise wouldn't have heard Pacific choral groups.
At the Fall 2021 Choral Concert, when members gathered again in person for the first time, Tuomi said, he and his students felt “a palpable sense of relief,” even though they wore masks and audience numbers were limited. And now, at last, he said, it feels "like the before times."
Tuomi’s recognition by the Oregon Music Education Association continues a string of honors for Pacific music faculty. Professor and Director of Bands Professor Michael Burch-Pesses received the same award in 2018, and Professor Dijana Ihas was named Oregon Music Educator of the Year in 2021.