Dr. André J. Thomas Receives Prestigious Award


March 17, 2017

The FSU College of Music is pleased to congratulate Dr. André J. Thomas, Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, on receiving the 2017 Robert Shaw Choral Award from the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA).

Presented every two years at the National ACDA Conference, the Robert Shaw Choral Award is given to a choral leader who has made unusual contributions to the art of choral music. It is the highest award conferred by the ACDA and is an accolade that represents a lifetime of achievement for the honoree. Members of the ACDA Past Presidents' Council canvas the opinions of choral association officers and choral conductors worldwide to determine the award recipient. Upon presentation of the award, Dr. Tim Sharp, president of ACDA, stated that Dr. Thomas’s name was mentioned frequently not only by choral professionals in the United States but also by those in Europe and Asia. Dr. Patricia Flowers, Dean of the FSU College of Music, noted that the presentation of the award at the ACDA conference “brought together generations of FSU graduates in a highly visible national venue to honor one of the College of Music’s most revered professors.”

André J. Thomas, the Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, is Director of Choral Activities, Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University, and the Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Community Chorus. He is in demand as a choral adjudicator, clinician, and director of Honor/All-State Choirs throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. Dr. Thomas has conducted choirs at state, division, and national conventions. His international conducting credits are extensive and include conductor/clinician for the International Federation of Choral Musicians. He has been the guest conductor of such distinguished orchestras and choirs as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England, the Berlin Radio Choir, and the Netherlands Radio Choir. Thomas has also distinguished himself as a composer/arranger. He has produced two instructional videos: What They See Is What You Get on choral conducting, with Rodney Eichenberger, and Body, Mind, Spirit, Voice on adolescent voices, with Anton Armstrong. In addition, he has authored a book—Way Over in Beulah Lan’: Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual. He is the past president of the Florida ACDA, and the past president of the Southern Division of the ACDA.

Dr. Thomas is now the second choral director from FSU to have received the Robert Shaw Choral Award; in 2001, the ACDA recognized Colleen J. Kirk, who had served at the FSU College of Music from 1970 until her retirement in 1990. Past recipients also include such choral luminaries as Charles Hirt, Howard Swan, Harold A. Decker, Weston Noble, Paul Salamunovich, Dale Warland, and Gene Brooks. 


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Dr. Thomas receives the Shaw Award (L); Dr. Thomas with other past Shaw Award recipients (R). Photographs by Claire Timm, used by permission.