2020 All State SATB Choir Conductor

Dr. Andre Thomas, Florida State


André J. Thomas  is the recently retired Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities, and Professor of Choral Music Education at Florida State University. A previous faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin, Dr. Thomas received his degrees from Friends University (B.A.), Northwestern University (M. M.), and the University of Illinois (D.M.A). He is in demand as a choral adjudicator, clinician, and director of Honor/All-State Choirs throughout North America, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Australia, and Africa.

Dr. Thomas has conducted choirs at the state, division, and national conventions of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) and American Choral Directors Association (ACDA). His international conducting credits are extensive. They include conductor/clinician for the International Federation of Choral Musicians’ summer residency of the World Youth Choir in China and the Philippines. He was also the conductor of the winter residency of the World Youth Choir in Europe, and a premier performance by an American Choir (Florida State University Singers) in Vietnam.

 He has been the guest conductor of such distinguished ensembles as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England, the Berlin Radio Choir and the North German Radio Choir in Germany, the Netherlands Radio Choir, The Bulgarian Radio Choir and Orchestra, the Charlotte Symphony, Tallahassee Symphony, China’s People’s Liberation Orchestra and the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. Since 1988, he has also served as Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Community Chorus.

 Thomas has also distinguished himself as a composer/arranger. Hinshaw Music Company, Mark Foster Music Company, Fitzsimons Music Company, Lawson Gould, Earthsongs, Choristers Guild, and Heritage Music Company publish his compositions and arrangements.

 Dr. Thomas 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. His recent book “Way Over in Beulah Lan’.  Understanding and Performing the Negro Spiritual” has quickly become a major source in this area of study.

 Thomas has been recognized by various musical organizations. The African Diaspora Sacred Music honored Dr. Thomas as a Living Legend. In 2011 Thomas’ dedication to and accomplishments in the choral arts were recognized by his peers in Chorus America when that organization presented Dr. Thomas with its Distinguished Service Award. In March of 2017 ACDA presented Thomas with its highest honor, The Robert Shaw Award, and in November of 2017 NCCO (National Collegiate Choral Organization) presented Thomas with its Lifetime Achievement Award. In January 2019 he was inducted into the Florida Music Educator’s Hall of Fame.

 He is a past president of the Florida ACDA and the past president of the Southern Division of ACDA, and the current Vice President of National ACDA and the artistic Chairman of the 2021 National Convention.


2020 All State SATB Choir Accompanist

Amy Irish

Amy Irish holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from the University of Maine at Orono, a Post Graduate Certificate in Piano Performance from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, Scotland and a Master of Music in Piano Pedagogy from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She teaches class piano and private lessons at the University of Maine at Farmington. She has accompanied for numerous District Festivals around the state, for the Maine Summer Youth Music Camp, and has been the accompanist for the Maine All State Chorus since 2009. She is a member of Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) and has served as President of the State affiliate, Maine Music Teachers Association (MMTA). She currently resides in Bangor where she runs a piano studio and serves as music director for Hampden Congregational Church.

 2020 All State SATB Chorus Manager

Ashley Albert- Brunswick High School

2020 All State SATB Chorus Program Selections

The King Shall Rejoice- Handel

Angus Dei- Andre J Thomas


2020 All State SATB Learning Tracks

Hello SATB All State Choir!
Greetings from your manager, Mrs. Albert! I must say that I missed being able to share this past weekend making music with all of you, as it is always one of the highlights of my year. However, I am so glad that we are about to make Maine All State history with the first virtual performances in our 103 years of existence! I know that each of you received info on the guide tracks and some recording tips this morning, but there are a few things that I wanted to share with you to aid in that process.
First of all, attached to this message you will find a letter from our conductor, Dr. Andre Thomas. I was so looking forward to watching you work with him in person, but I am grateful that he has agreed to be a part of our virtual performances and share this music making with us all the way from Florida! He has written up some notes for you in regards to your recordings, and has given you a copy of the Agnus Dei score with specific phrase and dynamic markings, so please consult this copy as you prepare your recording! This will ensure that we are all singing with like phrases and will help with reaching the most polished product possible! In the music, you will see he wrote in a repeat, please disregard that and just follow the tracks and music as originally written!
As many of you may have noticed in your practicing, there is a solo in the Agnus Dei from measures 24-32 marked in the Tenor line. Dr. Thomas has decided that he would still like this to be a solo, which means that we will be having auditions! In addition, he would like two soloists at the end, riffing/improvising over the choir in the gospel style. One in tenor/bass range and one in soprano/alto range. If you would like to be considered for any of these solos, I am asking that you please record yourself singing the respective solo and submit it to me by this Friday, May 29th at midnight.

2020 SATB Virtual Choir Notes From the Conductor

Virtual SATB Choir Instructions

Important Info To Know 
Video Attire: Nice, school appropriate clothing, no text or logos.  No hats or hoods.
Video Background: A neutral/blank background, please avoid anything that might distract from your performance.
Solo Audition Recording Deadline: Friday May 29th (See Note Below)
Choral Track Recordings Deadline: Wednesday June 3rd
Now please review the full recording instructions: 
Are you ready to record and submit? 
FIRST remember to:
– find a quiet, well lit space- make sure your we can see your face clearly
– orient your camera “portrait”-wise (up and down), so we can see more of you
– plug in headphones so only you can hear the guide track
– play the guide track while you play and record
– play 2-3′ from your camera
– don’t forget to smile =)
Here is a YouTube playlist for the Agnus Dei Guide Videos: MMEA 2020 SATB Choir – Agnus Dei Guide Videos
Here is a YouTube playlist for The King Shall Rejoice Guide Videos: MMEA 2020 All State SATB Choir – The King Shall Rejoice Guide Videos
– use your VOICE PART as you First Name
– use your FULL NAME as your Last Name
– use your preferred email address
*Solo Auditions
*Do not record the entire piece, just this 8 bar section.
*You do not have to be a tenor to audition!
*Please consult the reference recording that was sent by Dr. Thomas to see what he is looking for in these solos:
*We are looking for one soprano/alto voice and one tenor/bass voice.
*The solos should be appropriate for the piece, and done in the gospel style (similar to the recording), but should be improvisational in nature.
*To record, please use the BALANCED VOICES learning track from measures 47 to the end.
**Please record so that I can hear the learning track behind you. This will help me to gauge how your improvisation fits in with the full ensemble!
Students interested in submitting an audition video for the solo should follow the above recording instructions and submit them to:
– use your VOICE PART as you First Name
– use your FULL NAME as your Last Name
– use your preferred email address