Tom Porter- 2021 North Dakota All-State Vocal Jazz Director

Tom Porter, a native of Mandan, North Dakota, is a graduate of the University of Mary, DePaul University, the University of Notre Dame, and the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he earned a Doctorate in Musical Arts in Choral Conducting, studying under Dr. Eph Ehly. He is a proud alumni of ND All State Band and Orchestra.

 

Porter is currently a Professor of Music and the Chair of the Music Department at the University of Mary where he has taught since 2008. Under his direction, Concert Choir and Vocal Jazz have performed for state and regional conferences as well as toured regionally and internationally, including performances at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, and St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

 

From 1994 to 2008, Porter was a Professor of Music and Department Chair at Bismarck State College. He served as President of the North Dakota ACDA for two years, and has served on the state and regional levels over the years. In 2003 the North Dakota Humanities Council awarded him a Larry Remele Fellowship to research and present programs on the choral adaptation of American Folk Songs. In 2007 Porter coordinated a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts American Masterworks funding performances of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with an intercollegiate choir and professional orchestra.

 

He has served on local, state, regional, and national boards, including the North Dakota Council on the Arts, Central Dakota Children’s Choir, Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus, National Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, and the American Choral Directors Association. He has presented papers and workshops at state, regional and national conferences, and has conducted honor choirs throughout the Midwest.

 

Porter has written a variety of compositions from orchestral works to commercial jingles. Presently, his compositional efforts are focused on choral music, both secular and sacred, and often feature lyrics that promote an appreciation for North Dakota’s cultural heritage, including Prairie Wind, a virtual choir composition funded by the North Dakota Council on the Arts. He has written commissioned pieces for community, school, and church choirs across the country. He is honored to have been recognized with the ND Governor's Award for the Arts, University of Mary Regent's Award and Alumni Recognition Award, Crystal Apple Award for Higher Education, and the ND ACDA Choral Director of the Year.