Christopher Collins

Thomas Porter, PhD

Music Department Chair

Biography

Dr. Tom Porter’s first music teachers were Sisters from Annunciation Monastery, who taught piano and general music at Saint Joseph’s School in Mandan. He is a graduate of University of Mary (BA Music Performance), DePaul University (MA Music Performance), University of Notre Dame (MA Theology/Liturgical Studies), and the Conservatory of Music at the University of Missouri, Kansas City (DMA Choral Conducting). He is a published composer, and has been recognized with the University of Mary Regent’s Award and Outstanding Alumni Award, as well as the North Dakota Governor’s Award for the Arts, the Bismarck-Mandan Crystal Apple Award for Teaching, and the North Dakota Outstanding Choral Director of the Year. In addition, he has served as an officer of the North Dakota Council on the Arts, a delegate to the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions, and a regional office of the American Choral Directors Association.

Porter believes in the intentionality of practicing the Benedictine Values of the university and, in particular, sustaining a music department in which community, hospitality, and respect for persons is central. He teaches freshman music theory, sacred music, and directs Concert Choir and Vocal Jazz. His ensembles have performed at state, and regional and national events and conferences, as well as touring regionally and internationally.

About the Program

The University of Mary Music Department strives to develop a true community of learners where a challenging curriculum is integrated with professional training so that graduates are prepared to excel in their chosen specializations. From ensembles open to all students on campus, such as Pep Band, Concert Choir, String Ensemble, Steel Band, and Concert Band, to specialty groups such as Vocal Jazz, Jazz Ensemble, and Vocal Arts Ensemble, there is something for everyone on campus who wishes to continue performing or studying music.

The Music Department produces a number of annual events, including a regional music tour, Christmas at Mary, and the annual Jazz Festival, which brings over 2,000 people to campus to hear and interact with world-renowned guest artists such as New York Voices, Nestor Torres, Aimee Nolte, Helen Sung, Donny McCaslin, and True North. The University of Mary Music Department is an Associate Member of the National Association of Schools of Music.

Prairie Wind (2020), SATB, SAB or SA choir, piano

Funded by an Individual Artist Grant through the North Dakota Council on the Arts

My First Gift and My Last (2019) SAB choir, piano

Commissioned by Dickinson High School Concert Choir, Premiere May 2019, Dickinson, ND

The Table Is Ready (2019) SATB choir, piano

Published by Choristers' Guild

Christ Has No Hands But Ours (2018) SATB choir, organ, brass

Commissioned by Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Saint Cloud, MN

Published by Choristers' Guild

Hoe Down (2017) SATB choir or TTBB choir, piano four hands

Published by Hal Leonard Publications

Commissioned by the Central Dakota Children’s Choir

Premiered by ND ACDA Men's Honor Choir, Dr. Eph Ehly, conductor, Fargo, ND

Sing, Laugh, Love (2012) SATB choir with piano

Commissioned and premiered by Williston High School, ND

Published by Hal Leonard Publications

Lux aeterna (2012) SATB choir with piano

Commissioned and premiered by Saint Mary’s Central High School, Bismarck, ND

Published by Heritage Music Press

Homesteading (2010) Soundtrack, Prairie Public Broadcasting Documentary

A Prairie Storm (2009) SATB a cappella choir

Commissioned and premiered by Grand Forks Master Chorale, ND

Published by Roger Dean Music

Die Engel (2009) SATB choir with piano

Commissioned and premiered by Hettinger High School, ND

Published by Heritage Music Press

Ten Thousand Miles and Cripple Creek (2006) SSA choir with piano, violin

Commissioned and premiered by the San Francisco Girls Chorus, CA

Published by Alliance Publications

O Nata Lux (2005) SATB choir with piano

Published by Heritage Music Press

Lewis and Clark Suite (2003) SATB with orchestra

Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Signature Event

Commissioned and premiered by the Central Dakota Children’s Choir

What Color Is the Music (2001) Children’s choir with piano

Commissioned and premiered by the Central Dakota Children’s Choir

Published by Heritage Music Press

The Voice of an Angel (2000) SSSAA a cappella choir in five movements

Commissioned by the Bismarck State College Foundation

Premiered by the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus

Porter has presented numerous papers and published articles throughout the years on topics such as composition, conducting, choral singing, sacred music, liturgy, and American folksongs. Highlights of his presentations include

  • Regional and national conferences of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians
  • State, regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association
  • Two fellowships with the American Composers Forum, Faith Partners Program
  • Larry Remele Fellow with the North Dakota Humanities Council