Weiss named MVSU Humanities Teacher of the Year

October 16, 2017

ITTA BENA-- Associate Professor Dr. John Weiss has been selected by the Mississippi Valley State University Office of Academic Affairs as the Humanities Teacher of the Year.

Each year the Mississippi Humanities Council recognizes October’s designation as Arts and Humanities Month by bestowing Humanities Teacher Awards to outstanding faculty in traditional humanities fields at colleges and universities across the state.

Weiss is the associate professor of music and choir director at MVSU, where he conducts the University Choir and Valley Singers. He also teaches Applied Voice, Choral Conducting, and Secondary Choral Methods and Materials.

“I am pleased, honored and humbled to accept the Humanities Teacher of the Year Award and to join past recipients whom I admire and respect,” Weiss said.

As part of the nomination, Weiss will give a presentation at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14, in the Little Theater in the Walter Sillers Fine Arts Building.

The topic of Weiss’ presentation will be: "The Gospel of Musical Diversity."

“MVSU is an institution of higher learning and students should experience different ideas, opinions and interpretations. This is as true in choral music as it is in any other academic discipline,” Weiss said.

"Learning and performing only one style of music because it is what students already know and, therefore, already like is not educational,” Weiss explained. However, studying and presenting a wide variety of choral music creates a broader perspective that can lead to more informed decision-making about what is good, what is not and why. Also, students can learn that there may be more than one way to express the same thought or emotion.”

Weiss feels the presentation will showcase why learning different types of music is an essential component in growing a university community.

“This presentation will briefly consider some of the reasons why learning and performing diverse choral repertoire are important objectives in a university choral program. In addition, MVSU's Valley Singers will perform musical excerpts demonstrating a variety of choral techniques and choral styles,” he added.

Dr. Weiss holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Boston University’s School for the Arts, a Master of Fine Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of California at Irvine and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Arizona. 

He has presented interest sessions at the Northwest Division Conference of the American Choral Directors Association, the Washington Music Educators Association State Conference, the Oregon Music Educators Association, All-State Conference and adjudicated prestigious voice competitions such as the Singer of the Year contest in Los Angeles and the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Regional Competition in Seattle. 

As a bass, Dr. Weiss was a Metropolitan Opera Regional Finalist and won first prize in the Associazione Lirica Italo-Americana Mario Del Monaco Voice Competition.  He has performed leading and supporting roles with Boston Lyric Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Ash Lawn-Highland Summer Festival (VA) and other regional companies.

For more information about MVSU’s  Humanities Teacher of the Year Award, contact the Office of Academic Affairs at 662-254-3875.