Ambassadors of Harmony Leader to Head Festivities at Annual Banquet
Kirt Thiesmeyer, Oct 26, 2006
The mystery can be revealed at last. Searching for someone to inspire both the chorus and our quartets, I found Jim Henry, Associate Professor of Music at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and, incidentally, director of the 2004 chorus champions and 2007 competitors, the Ambassadors of Harmony, bass of the enduring 1993 quartet champions The Gas House Gang, colleague of David Wright (our 2004 Banquet speaker and arranger of “Go Down, Moses”) and coach of the 2006 quartet champions Vocal Spectrum (the guest quartet for our 2007 Spring Show, whose tenor, Tim Waurick, made our “Moses” learning tape)! He and his wife Geda (pronounced “Jeeda”) will be joining us for our upcoming Annual Awards & Installation Banquet, which he will officiate.
This was a coup, as Jim is not exactly lying around waiting to be invited someplace, and he had to get his mom to baby-sit the children. I congratulate myself even before receiving your plaudits. Here is the official bio:
Jim Henry holds degrees in vocal music education, music theory and music composition, including a Ph.D. in music composition from Washington University. He is currently the Director of Choral Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, where he conducts the University Singers and the A Cappella Ensemble and teaches choral methods, choral arranging, and choral conducting. Prior to his appointment at UM-St. Louis, he was head of the choral music department at Lindenwood University for nine years, during which time the University Chorus quintupled in size under his leadership. He also formed Voices Only, a unique a cappella ensemble that performed to rave reviews at the 2004 Missouri Music Educators Association conference, toured Germany, Holland and Sweden, and produced a recording.
In addition to his duties at UM-St. Louis, Dr. Henry is the musical and artistic director of the Ambassadors of Harmony, a 160-voice men’s a cappella chorus that performs barbershop, jazz, and light classical music. The Ambassadors of Harmony have produced three recordings, and were named the best male barbershop chorus in the world at the Barbershop Harmony Society’s 2004 International Competition.
Dr. Henry’s singing experience spans classical music to jazz. He served as bass section leader for the Saint Louis Symphony Chorus and sang bass with Odyssey, a popular St. Louis-based jazz quartet. He also arranges for and sings bass with The Gas House Gang, 1993 SPEBSQSA International Quartet Champions. The Gas House Gang has entertained audiences in all fifty states and fifteen countries, and in venues from the Grand Ole Opry to Carnegie Hall. They have been featured on NBC’s “Today Show,” NPR’s “At the Creation,” and two PBS specials, “Voices in Harmony” and “The Egg.” The Gas House Gang has produced five recordings.
As a composer, Dr. Henry has won awards for his songs and piano pieces. He served for three years as composer-in-residence at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School under the aegis of Washington University, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and the Buder Foundation. He was also a music mentor for the “Music, Words, Opera” educational program sponsored by Opera Theatre of St. Louis.
Dr. Henry travels the world as a guest conductor, coach, and lecturer. He is also a contributing author for the new Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, published by Routledge.
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