Two Alumni Honored by Minnesota Choral Directors Association

Posted on October 18th, 2010 by

Gustavus alumni Thomas Hassig ’76 and Brian Ohnsorg ’97 will be recognized with the two highest honors given annual by the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota in November. Hassig has been selected as Minnesota Choral Director of the Year, while Ohnsorg was named Outstanding Young Choral Director of the Year. Hassig and Ohnsorg will receive their awards on Nov. 20 during the ACDA-MN Fall Conference in St. Cloud.

Tom Hassig '76

Tom Hassig '76

Hassig is now in his 23rd year at Prior Lake High School, where he is music department chairperson and director of the Varsity Men’s Choir, Women’s Chorale, Choralaires, Concert Choir, and small select ensembles.

Groups under Hassig’s direction have performed in concert and church venues ranging from Seattle to Stockholm and Minneapolis to Moscow. He has led groups on seven concert trips to Europe, including a March 2009 tour with performances in several locales in Greece.

Hassig was named the 2004 Minnesota Music Educators Association Music Educator of the Year, a 2006 state finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year, and in 2010 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Prior Lake Patrons of the Arts and Activities. He is a recipient of the ISD 719 Secondary Teacher of Excellence Award, and has also been recognized as Outstanding Advisor of the Year.

After earning his B.A. at Gustavus, Hassig went on to earn an M.A. in Music Education from the University of Minnesota. At Gustavus, Hassig was in the Gustavus Choir for four years, serving as tenor section leader and student director under the direction of Philip Knautz.

“Gustavus was absolutely the right place for my undergraduate studies. It was the best fit for me,” Hassig said. “No other place would have had the particular combination of elements that prepared me for any success I’ve had since graduating with the class of 1976.”

Brian Ohnsorg '97

Brian Ohnsorg '97

Ohnsorg is currently the Conductor of Choirs at Jordan High School and the 8th Grade Choir at Jordan Middle School. Ohnsorg has taught in Jordan since 2005 and was named the high school’s 2009-2010 Teacher of the Year.

Ohnsorg has served on the board of the Minnesota American Choral Directors Association. In 2010, he was co-chair for the North Central ACDA Men’s Honor Choir and in 2009 he was Tenor Section Coach for the All-State Men’s Choir.

In addition to teaching, Ohnsorg is a well known tenor soloist and has performed with organizations such as the Minnesota Chorale, VocalEssence, The Oratorio Society of MN, The Minnesota Orchestra, The Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, The Oregon Bach Festival, Normandale Lutheran Church, and at his home church, Mount Olivet Lutheran in Minneapolis. He recently appeared as narrator in Bach’s “Coffee” Cantata in the 2010 Nobel Conference Concert in Christ Chapel.


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