Two Alumni Honored by Minnesota Choral Directors Association

Posted on October 15th, 2010 by

Thomas Hassig '76

Gustavus alumni Thomas Hassig ’76 and Brian Ohnsorg ’97 will both be honored 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 Ohnsort will receive their awards on Nov. 20 during the ACDA-MN Fall Conference in St. Cloud.

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 recipeient 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

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.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Neal Biekert says:

    Congrats, Tom.

    I always knew I had the best choral director in the Midwest. Your teachings stuck with me and carried me places that I never thought I could go. From being the ONLY AG major in the IOWA STATE SINGERS while I was attending ISU to singing at my father’s funeral 6 years ago. These things I would not have been able to accomplish without your enthusiasm and drive to make all of us who performed under your direction the very best we could be. I know you probably feel like you are just doing your job; however, you really do deserve this honor and I know I am not the only lucky one to feel this way.
    Anyway, enjoy.

    Neal Biekert
    1987 Nashua High School