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Choral director receives lifetime achievement award

RELEASED: Jan. 22, 2010

Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff
Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff, professor of music and director of choral activities at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, recently was awarded the Morris D. Hayes Award for outstanding contributions to choral music in Wisconsin.

The award, established by the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association in 1985, is not given annually, but is reserved for choral musicians of outstanding merit. The late Hayes was professor emeritus of music at UW-Eau Claire and one of the WCDA founders, holding leadership positions at the state, regional and national levels of the association.

"I am honored to receive this prestigious award in the name of my predecessor and friend, Morris D. Hayes," said Schwartzhoff. "Upon my appointment as director of choral activities in 1991, Mr. Hayes was very generous with his time in making me feel welcome at 'Wisconsin's Singing University.'"

Schwartzhoff conducts the university's Concert Choir, Chamber Choir and The Singing Statesmen, and teaches conducting and choral repertoire. He is the artistic director and conductor for The Master Singers, a community chamber ensemble, and serves as music director at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Eau Claire. Schwartzhoff also has been a guest conductor and adjudicator for numerous choral festivals throughout the United States and Canada.

Active throughout his professional career in the American Choral Directors Association, Schwartzhoff has served in elected positions at the national, divisional and state levels, including serving as north central division president from 1992-94. In 2007 Schwartzhoff was named Outstanding Church Musician by the WCDA.

In 2009 Schwartzhoff conducted the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Choral Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and was inducted into the Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies in recognition of scholarship, service and commitment to student success. In 2011 Schwartzhoff will conduct the Minnesota All-State Men's Choir.

Schwartzhoff has presented choirs on 24 juried performances before the state, divisional and national levels of ACDA and the Music Educators National Conference. In 2008 he conducted The Singing Statesmen at the MENC National Convention and at the ACDA North Central Divisional Convention, as well as The Master Singers at the WCDA state convention.

"I am grateful for the experience of teaching in the public schools for 15 years in Iowa before my current appointment at UW-Eau Claire," said Schwartzhoff. "My career has been touched by many great students who have gone on to their careers as educators and professionals. I would like to thank my colleagues in the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association for this recognition."

Schwartzhoff received his bachelor's degree from Central College in Pella, Iowa, and his master of music degree in choral conducting from the University of Northern Iowa. A recipient of the Helen Kemper Doctoral Fellowship Award, Schwartzhoff received a doctor of musical arts degree in conducting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he studied conducting with Dr. Eph Ehly.

For more information, contact Dr. Gary Schwartzhoff at schwargr@uwec.edu or visit his Web site.

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RD/DW

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