The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Director Schwartzhoff presented with Morris D. Hayes Award

On Jan. 15, the Wisconsin Choral Directors Association met on the UW-Eau Claire campus and presented Gary Schwartzhoff, professor of music and director of choral activities, with the Morris D. Hayes Award for outstanding contributions to choral music in Wisconsin.

Eau Claire features seven choral ensembles with more than 400 members, many of whom are conducted by Schwartzhoff. Since 1991, Schwartzhoff has worked for the university and led the Eau Claire choirs to success while achieving success for himself along the way.

“It was a humbling experience to have been selected by my peers, and for the announcement to be made on campus made it all the more special,” Schwartzhoff said.

Schwartzhoff conducts many of the choirs on campus as well as The Master Singers, a community chamber choir, and he is the music director for the First Congregational Church of Eau Claire. Besides performing in Gantner Concert Hall on the Eau Claire campus, the UW-Eau Claire choirs have had opportunities to perform nationally and internationally as well.

“I think I’ve done something like nine or 10 concert tours internationally,” Schwartzhoff said. “There are many performances, including the 50th annual and the 60th annual anniversary of D-Day, which will always stand out in my mind.”

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Other memorable performances for Schwartzhoff include St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England and multiple performances at Notre Dame in Paris. More recently, he conducted the Concert Choir at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., but most importantly to him, Gantner Concert Hall holds many of his favorite memories.

“If you’re not happy and pleased with your work at home in the confines of that concert hall, then chances are you won’t get much further,” Schwartzhoff said.

Robert Knight, the music department chair, said he is proud to have a Morris D. Hayes Award winner in his faculty. He recognizes that there are not many college conductors on the list of past recipients of the award, and that makes Schwartzhoff’s achievement even more special.

“I think it’s fair to say that due to his activities with his choirs, particularly with his tours in the state, that he’s done a wonderful job of recruiting singers,” Knight said.

Junior Joe Holtan, a member of Schwartzhoff’s Singing Statesmen, has worked closely with Schwartzhoff since he was a freshman. Schwartzhoff, known to others as “Doc,” has helped Holtan further his musical ability by offering many opportunities, such as arranging music for the Statesmen. Holtan said Schwartzhoff is driven and dedicated to his work, and he “deserves the award for showing true talent and professionalism in the conducting profession.”

Schwartzhoff said he understands many see this award as a benchmark at the end of a career, but he intends to continue teaching and conducting at Eau Claire for many years to come.

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Director Schwartzhoff presented with Morris D. Hayes Award